Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the 10-year jail sentence that a Bahraini court passed today on Ahmed Humaidan, a well-known press photographer who has been held since December 2012 in connection with an alleged attack on police in Sitra on 8 April 2012 even though he was not there.
“We condemn this shocking sentence and voice complete solidarity with this photographer and his family,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire.
“The Bahraini authorities have yet again demonstrated their contempt for freedom of information. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Humaidan and all other photojournalists being held in connection with their work.”
Now aged 26, Humaidan was arrested on 29 December 2012 after months of continual harassment by the security forces. Around 15 plainclothes policemen took him by force to a detention centre where, handcuffed and blindfolded, he was interrogated for two days and then placed in solitary confinement for the next five days.
He told his family and his lawyer that his interrogators subjected him to psychological torture and threatened to kill him. The trial began on 12 February 2013 but dragged on until today because hearings kept on being postponed.
His lawyer repeatedly but unsuccessfully requested an independent investigation into his client’s allegations of torture. His requests to the prison authorities to let his client be examined by a doctor were also unsuccessful.
The Bahraini authorities stop at nothing to gag dissident news and information providers. Nine journalists are currently detained and two others are being prosecuted.