January 10, 2014 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Photographer freed but still facing prosecution

Reporters Without Borders is relieved by yesterday’s announced release of Ahmed Al-Fardan, a photojournalist who had been held arbitrarily in deplorable conditions since 26 December. He is nonetheless still facing prosecution on a charge of “trying to participate in an illegal demonstration.” ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2/01/2014 Well-known photographer held for past week, beaten Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of Ahmed Al-Fardan, an award-winning photojournalist who has been held without charge for the past week. Fardan, who works for the Nurphoto, Demotex and Sipa photo agencies, was arrested at his home in Abu Saiba (west of Manama) at about 3 a.m. on 26 December. According to the information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, he was beaten at the time of his arrest. So far, he has not been allowed any visits by his lawyer or family but has been able to telephone them twice. He was transferred to Dry Dock prison yesterday after being held at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Department. “We condemn Fardan’s arbitrary arrest and demand his immediate and unconditional release,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We also call on the Bahraini authorities to stop using arbitrary detention to gag dissident journalists. Such practices constitute a grave threat to freedom of information and flout Bahrain’s international obligations.” When previously arrested in a west Manama café on 8 August, Fardan was beaten and threatened with being killed if he did not cooperate by providing photos of demonstrators. He was released a few hours later, with several injuries. Fardan has campaigned hard for the release of his friend and fellow photographer Ahmed Humaidan, who has been held since December 2012 on a charge of attacking a police station in Sitra on 8 April 2012, although he was not even there at the time. Seven other news and information providers are currently detained in Bahrain.