Bahraini Activists Detained, UK Foreign Affairs Committee Criticized
Four Bahraini’s were detained on charges of defaming the Gulf country’s king on Twitter. The defendants will face “an urgent trial before the criminal court,” prosecutor Ahmed Bucheeri said. On Thursday Bahrain’s parliament called on all ministers and senior officials to create Twitter accounts “to boost their interaction with the citizens.” MP Mohamoud al-Mohmoud said the “Twitter account is the minimum that ministers can have to know about the people’s concerns and aspirations.”
The British Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) published a report criticizing the English government’s failure to boycott the Formula One Grand Prix race in Bahrain over human rights concerns. The FAC said Bahrain should be included on the Foreign Office’s list of “countries of concern” given the “brutal” suppression of anti-government protesters, and expressed concern that “political and strategic factors” had colored the UK’s decision not to.
Meanwhile, human rights groups in Bahrain have accused their government of being “emboldened by international silence.” Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) released an appeal after Bahraini police accused BYSHR’s director, Muhammad al-Maskati, of rioting and participating in an illegal gathering. Al-Maskati was subsequently released from a Manama policy station after questioning.