Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the Bahraini justice ministry’s arbitrary decision not to prosecute those responsible for torturing the journalist Nazeeha Saeed in a police station in 2011. The main reason given is insufficient evidence.
Nazeeha Saeed, who is the Bahrain correspondent of the French TV news channel France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, learned of the decision on 15 November. As a result, there will be no criminal proceedings against those who tortured and humiliated her for 13 hours at the Rifa'a police station when she responded to a summons for questioning about her coverage of pro-democracy demonstrations in Manama. Reporters Without Borders is outraged by this decision by the special investigation unit that is responsible for monitoring and investigating human rights violations by the security forces. “This decision is unacceptable,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Middle East desk. “The way this case has dragged on for years with no tangible results shows a lack of any real desire to shed light on the matter. “Those responsible for these actions should be tried, as should those in the chain of command who are implicated. We call on the authorities to take the necessary measures to bring these years of impunity to an end.” “I am dismayed that I am unable to obtain justice in my country despite all the evidence I provided,” said Saeed, who is demanding a new investigation into the actions of the police because she says her case is well documented and she has all the necessary proof and information. Reporters Without Borders has been defending Saeed for years as part of its fight against impunity for crimes against journalists. On 2 November, International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Reporters Without Borders renamed the Parisian street where the Bahraini embassy is located, calling it “Nazeeha Saeed Street.” Saeed’s case offers an insight into the way the police treat journalists in her country. Eight journalists and five citizen-journalists are currently detained in Bahrain, according to a Reporters Without Borders tally. They include the famous photojournalist Ahmed Humeidan and freelance photographer Sayed Ahmed el Mousawi. After repeated postponements, Mousawi’s trial is now scheduled to begin on 23 November. Badly tortured while in prison, he is facing a possible sentence of five to ten years in prison on charges of giving SIM cards to “terrorist” protesters and taking photos of anti-government demonstrations. Bahrain is ranked 115th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.