Bahraini authorities are apparently targeting the family members of a prominent Bahraini activist in retribution for his human rights work, Human Rights Watch said today:
Since March 2, 2017, authorities have detained the brother-in-law and mother-in-law of Sayed al-Wadaei, a United Kingdom-based Bahraini human rights activist who has accused the Bahraini authorities, including senior members of the ruling Al Khalifa family, of serious human rights abuses….In 2012, the UK Home Office granted Sayed al-Wadaei (left) leave to remain in the UK, three weeks after he fled Bahrain, where he said police had beaten and tortured him in the aftermath of anti-government protests in 2011. In 2013, he set up the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, which has publicly accused senior members of Bahrain’s royal family of involvement in serious human rights abuses, including Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.
A relative told Human Rights Watch that a large group of masked men, accompanied by police officers, detained Sayed al-Wadaei’s 18-year-old brother-in law, Nazar Sayed Namaa al-Wadaei, at a house in Jid Ali at approximately 3:40 a.m. on March 2. He called his family two hours later to say he was at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). ….In a report on Bahrain issued in November 2015, Human Rights Watch identified a general pattern of detainee abuse, including torture, in CID facilities.
“This looks like a cowardly attempt to break the resolve of an activist by attacking his family,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Bahraini authorities forced Sayed al-Wadaei into exile in Britain, where he’s a thorn in their side. Since they can’t touch him, they’ve resorted to threatening and harassing his wife, infant son, and in-laws.”
“Bahrain should tackle the serious human rights abuses identified by Sayed al-Wadaei instead of punishing the messenger and his extended family,” said Goldstein. RTWT