Four human rights defenders who were acquitted in the High Criminal Court in October 2009 after the case against them collapsed when forensic evidence proved police statements to be false, have apparently now been convicted and sentenced by the Court of Appeal. Reports indicate that the human rights defenders, Sadeq Jawad Ahmed Al-Fardan, member of the Committee of the Unemployed; Sayed Omran Hameed Adnan, member of the Committee Against One Percent; Fadhel Abbas Mohamed Ashoor, member of the Committee to Combat High Prices; and Habib Mohamed Habib Ashoor, member of the Committee for Detainees were sentenced on the 28 March 2010 by the Court of Appeals to three years in prison, for the alleged murder of a police officer and the attempted killing of two of his comrades during a riot. The four human rights defenders have not yet been re-arrested.

  السيدة نافانيتيم بيلاى، لقد سررنا بما نما إلى علمنا بشأن زيارتكم الوشيكة للبحرين في شهر أبريل في إطار زياراتكم للدول، ونطالب بإدراج القضايا والمعلومات المذكورة في هذا الخطاب في تقييمكم للوضع.
 تعرب المنظمات الأهلية الموقعة أدناه عن بالغ قلقها إزاء الحملات الإعلامية والملاحقات القضائية المستمرة التي تقوم بها السلطات البحرينية لكبت حرية التعبير وردع نشاط المدافعين عن حقوق الإنسان. و خلال العامين الأخيرين تعرض الكثير من المدافعين عن حقوق الإنسان للمضايقات، والمحاكمة، والإدانة، والحبس. بالإضافة إلى ذلك، تم تقديم الصحفيين المستقلين إلى المحاكمة بسبب كتاباتهم النقدية، واتسع نطاق الحجب والرقابة على المدونات والمواقع الإلكترونية. ولذلك، يتم استهداف المدافعين عن حقوق الإنسان بعد قيامهم بتوفير مصادر معلومات للعديد من الوكالات الإعلامية الدولية والمنظمات الأهلية التي تصدر بيانات وتقارير تنتقد سجل حقوق الإنسان فى البحرين. كما يتم استهدافهم بسبب مناصرتهم لحقوق الإنسان، وتوفير الدعم القانوني لضحايا التعذيب أو سوء المعاملة من قبل الحكومة ، وكذلك للقيام بأعمال وثيقة الصلة بحقوق الإنسان والحريات العامة كتنظيم التجمعات السلمية العامة أو المشاركة فيها.

Dear Ms. Navanethem Pillay, The undersigned non-governmental organisations (NGOs) express their grave concerns about the ongoing media and legal campaigns being carried out by Bahraini authorities to stifle freedom of expression and deter the activism of human rights defenders (HRDs). Many HRDS have also been subject to harassment, prosecution, indictment and imprisonment. In addition, independent journalists have been taken to court for critical writings, and blogs and websites have been censored. As such, we are pleased to hear of your upcoming country visit to Bahrain in April, and request that you include the following cases and information in your assessment.

Questions for Hibaaq Osman, founder and director of Karama: 1. How have efforts to implement the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) in the Arab region evolved since Beijing? Has this been satisfactory? Since the adoption of the BPFA, there has been considerable progress throughout the region in meeting international standards that reinforce gender equality. In particular, the civil society sector has expanded, proliferating local organizations whose mission it is to address key issues that have prevented governments and other authorities from enacting, implementing and enforcing laws that protect women from discrimination and violence. This NGO component had been largely missing and now acts to directly respond to the needs of the local community and communicate these to national and international authorities. In particular, a renewed focus on empowering women and increasing their role in decision-making has been demonstrated.

The Human Rights Bureau (HRB) of the HAQ Movement expresses its concerns about the ongoing smear and defamation campaign waged by state-supported electronic and printed means of publications. Some dailies, in Arabic and English, newspapers as well as electronic forums stage that campaign whenever an international related activity (Report, Press Release, Petition, Seminar, Article) is posted out covering aspects of human rights of violations in Bahrain. The waged smear campaign was focused on Mr Nabeel Rajab, President of (BCHR), Ms Ghada Jamsheer, President of Women's Petition Committee, Dr Abdulla Al-Derazi, Secretary General of the Bahrain Human Rights Society, and Mr Mohamed Al-Maskati, President of Bahrain Youth Human Rights Society.

غادة جمشير / رئيسة ما عرف ب ( العريضة النسائية ) , والناشطة في مجال حقوق الإنسان وتمكين المرأة في البحرين , تتعرض ومنذ سنوات الى شتى صنوف المضايقات والاضطهاد من القوى الرجعية المتحكمة في بلدها البحرين , وقد صدر في عام 2007 م تعميم من وزير الديوان الملكي في البحرين الى جميع وسائل الإعلام المرئية والمقروءة والمسموعة بمنع نشر أبّ شيء لها , وفي نفس الوقت يشنّ الرجعيون والظلاميون الحملات المتتالية على المناضلة غادة جمشير .

I was sitting in a majlis with a group of women when our chat on world affairs was interrupted by an urgent knock on the door; a knock that opened more than just a passage into the rest of the house. “We ran out of coffee!” I heard a male voice in distress telling the hostess as she opened the door just a tiny crack to see who it was. It was her husband, who was hosting a similar majlis in another corner of the house, with the husbands of the women here. The hostess went out to help him, leaving the door wide open to a room full of annoyed women. Several of them ran to the door to close it, because “there are men in the house”.

A CAMPAIGN is being stepped up to ensure that women in Bahrain emerge from divorce with alimony, rightful custody of their children and a roof over their heads. A Bahrain society is calling for law reforms and practical strategies to ensure divorced women their rights, without agonising court battles. Bahrain Women's Association for Human Development wants legislation and society to reflect the Quranic concept of divorce, which states a wife either be returned to her husband or "released (divorced) in kindness".

Naming a woman as the next secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will solve the standoff between Qatar and the other GCC states over the name of the next official for the top post, a Saudi activist and columnist has said. “Since there seems to be a crisis that is likely to prolong over the name of the top official, the possible solution I see is to choose a female secretary-general with a high academic and diplomatic profile. I do not think that selecting a qualified woman will cause opposition since there are many women who have recently held high political positions,” Hatoon Al Fassi, an expert on women’s rights and a columnist with a Saudi newspaper, wrote.

حت عنوان "واحة الإفلات من المحاسبة والعقاب"، يصدر مركز القاهرة لدراسات لحقوق الإنسان اليوم تقريره السنوي الثاني حول حقوق الإنسان في العالم العربي خلال عام 2009. ويأسف مركز القاهرة لدراسات لحقوق الإنسان لأن يعلن للرأي العام، أن حالة حقوق الإنسان في هذه المنطقة، تتجه إلى المزيد من التدهور، حتى بالمقارنة مع الوضع المتدهور عام 2008. يستعرض التقرير أبرز التطورات ذات الصلة في 12 بلد عربي، هي مصر وتونس والجزائر والمغرب والسودان ولبنان وسوريا وفلسطين والعراق والسعودية والبحرين واليمن.

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