By late February 2011, when thousands were pouring into the Pearl Roundabout in the capital of the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Spring was unfurling at a blinding pace. Popular protests had recently deposed the leader of Tunisia, and Egypt was in the throes of revolution. So the unrest in Bahrain, however momentous in its own right and strategically important to global interests, quickly became just another beat in the wider story changing the Arab world.
As the Bahraini authorities cracked down on the activists that participated in the protests, a group of twenty-one political, social and religious leaders who headed the revolution were arrested, mass-tried and sentenced to life in Jau Prison. Among the thirteen who are imprisoned, Hassan Mushaima is one of Bahrain’s most prominent political activists and human rights defenders. Prior to his arrest for “attempting to overthrow the monarchy”, he served as Secretary-General of the al-Haq movement for Liberty and Democracy and went on to co-found Bahrain’s largest political opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society. He has been arrested numerous times for his activism, but this is the longest period of time he has been held behind bars.
Mr Mushaima has been ill-treated by prison authorities. He has been tortured on numerous occasions, requiring surgery four times as a direct consequence. In addition, he has been denied family visits, he has been religiously discriminated against and shackled every time he leaves his cell, a humiliating procedure only prisoners of conscience have to endure. Furthermore, Mr Mushaima is in desperate need of medical treatment, since he has a history of cancer and suffers from high-blood pressure, gout and diabetes. The prison authorities have consistently denied him medical care.
Hassan Mushaima is imprisoned for peacefully voicing his dissatisfaction with the Bahraini authoritarian government, a basic principle of human rights enshrined in numerous international human rights treaties to which Bahrain is a party. The International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) are among the treaties Bahrain is violating in the treatment of Mr Mushaima.
Join us in calling for Hassan Mushaima’s immediate and unconditional release and demand that King Hamad Al Khalifa free Mr Mushaima today.
Calling for Hassan Mushaima's immediate and unconditional releaseRead or Edit the Petition