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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Authorities block access to influential blog covering Bandargate scandal

Website blocked one month ahead of parliamentary elections

On 26 October 2006, access to the
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) website (
http://www.bahrainrights.org ) was blocked by Batelco, Bahrain’s main
Internet service provider (ISP). This action may be linked to the
website’s coverage of "Bandargate", a political scandal involving the
royal family and several Bahraini politicians

In March 2006, the Social Development
Ministry threatened the directors of BCHR with disciplinary action if
they did not stop their activities. The Cassation Court had ordered the
centre’s closure on 22 February. Members of the organisation currently
risk a prison sentence of up to six months and a 500 BD (approx. 1,045
euro) fine.

The vice-president of BCHR, Abd al-Hadi
al-Khawaja, was arrested in September 2004 after publishing an article
in which he criticised Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa al-Khalifa and
denounced the country’s economic problems (see IFEX alert of 29
September 2004).

The BCHR is a non-governmental
organisation that promotes human rights in Bahrain. Its 26 founding
members are doctors, lawyers and journalists. Abdulhadi Alkhawaja is
the organisation’s current president.

Seven other information and discussion
websites have also been blocked in Bahrain by Batelco:
http://www.montadayat.org - http://shaheedbh.com -
http://www.ahraralbahrain.com - http://www.bahraintimes.org -
http://www.alsaheefa.net - http://www.tubli.net - http://www.rezgar.com

1 comment:

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