13 Bahraini Opposition Activists are Imprisoned for Peaceful Protests
Bahrain, action created 15.11.2013, petition is active
13 peaceful anti-government protestors in Bahrain have been unjustly imprisoned for the last 2.5 years. They were arrested in the middle of the night, not allowed to see their families or contact their lawyers, and many were tortured before their trials. Amnesty International considers them prisoners of conscience, detained only for the peaceful expression of their views and activism.
14 protestors were arrested in March and April of 2011. Their trial began in May 2011, and despite requests, international observers were not allowed in the courtroom. All 14 protestors were sentenced to varying lengths of time: 7 were sentenced to life imprisonment, 4 were sentenced to 15 years, 2 to five years, and 1 to two years. After international pressure, each protestor received a new civilian trial after October 2013, but each sentence was upheld. International observers, including one from Amnesty International, were permitted to observe these most recent trials. In these trials, they faced excessively vague charges that Amnesty International worries may not amount to any offense under international human rights law. The charges were all upheld, although the shortest sentence was reduced to 6 months served and Al-Hur Yousef al-Somaikh has been released. However, the remaining 13 prisoners are considered by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience.