Bahrain: Relatives of UK-based human rights activist sentenced to three years in prison

Three relatives of an outspoken critic of the Bahraini government, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who lives in exile in the UK, were each sentenced today to three years in prison in a chilling illustration of the extremes to which the authorities are prepared to go to crush dissent, said Amnesty International.

Sayed Alwadaei’s brother-in-law, Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, his mother-in-law, Hajer Mansoor Hassan, and a cousin, Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor, were convicted on charges of planting fake bombs in an area southwest of Manama after a grossly unfair trial in which they say they were tortured to “confess”.

“Today’s sentencing of three of Sayed Alwadaei’s family members on trumped-up charges and after a grossly unfair trial is a blatant scheme by the authorities to punish the prominent Bahraini activist and pressure him to stop his peaceful criticism of the government,” said Samah Hadid, Middle East Campaigns director at Amnesty International.

“This is a clear attempt to muzzle Sayed Alwadaei from afar. It sends a chilling signal that no one is out of the Bahraini authorities’ reach and demonstrates that they are prepared to use whatever means necessary to crush dissent. 

This is a clear attempt to muzzle Sayed Alwadaei from afar. It sends a chilling signal that no one is out of the Bahraini authorities’ reach
Samah Hadid, Middle East Campaigns director at Amnesty International

“This sentence should also be a wakeup call for the UK government, which has continued to downplay the dteriorating human situation in Bahrain: it can no longer stay silent over the abuses being committed in the country.”

The Bahraini authorities have an appalling track record when it comes to harassing, threatening and detaining family members of Bahraini activists living abroad as a means of intimidating them into silence.

Sayed Alwadaei is Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy. Amnesty International had repeatedly called on the Bahraini authorities to stop the harassment and targeting of his family.

Last October, hours after Sayed Alwadaei took part in a peaceful protest outside Downing Street, during a visit by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa to the UK his wife and young child were arrested. His wife was questioned and threatened with criminal charges – her interrogators made specific reference to his participation in the protest.