Bahrain: Release of Hajer Mansoor ‘long overdue’, others must now follow

Responding to today’s release of Hajer Mansoor, a prisoner of conscience who served a three-year prison sentence after a grossly unfair trial in Bahrain, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

Hajer Mansoor’s release is long overdue, but she should never have spent a single day in detention in the first place
Lynn Maalouf

“Hajer was imprisoned for three years on absurd ‘terrorism’ charges, solely because of her family relationship with Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, a human rights activist who now lives in the United Kingdom. 

“As such, her sham trial was nothing more than act of reprisal intended to intimidate and ultimately silence a critic of the Bahraini government who had escaped beyond their reach.

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

“All other prisoners of conscience who have been detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights, or for their association with those who have been critical of the government, must now be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Background

Hajer Mansoor is the mother-in-law of Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, an outspoken critic of the Bahraini government who lives in exile in the UK.

She was jailed on 5 March 2017, along with two other relatives of Alwadaei, after being convicted of absurd charges of planting fake bombs in an area southwest of Manama, the capital of Bahrain, after a grossly unfair trial. Also jailed were Alwadaei’s brother-in-law, Sayed Nizar Alwadaei, and a cousin, Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor. They remain in prison in Bahrain.

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