Sayed Ahmed Al-Mousawi, winner of 127 international awards and more than 50 certificates in the area of photography

 

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemns the authorities in Bahrain continuance of targeting photographers who transmit with their cameras the violations practiced by the authority against the public protests. The security apparatuses had recently arrested Sayed Ahmed Al-Mousawi (25 years) after raiding his house at dawn on Monday 10 February 2014.

Sayed Ahmed Al-Mousawi’s father stated that the former was arrested with his brother from their home at dawn after a group of civilians backed up by regime forces raided the place. He mentioned that they tampered the house and violated its privacy as well as confiscating Al-Mousawi’s private belongings which are: a phone, 4 hard disks, a laptop and other equipment. Al-Mousawi was taken to an unknown destination and he was in an enforced disappearance for a period exceeding 5 days; he called his family after that to inform them of his presence in the Dry Dock prison.

Ahmed’s father said that his son told him that he was subjected to severe torture at the Criminal Investigation Department. The torture included hanging him on the door and electrocuting him, and beating him on his testicles, in addition to forcing him to stand for four continuous days and stripping him off his clothes. He added that the Criminal Investigations did not allow the lawyer to attend the interrogation with Ahmed in the Public Prosecution building.

Worth noting, Al-Mousawi has memberships in many institutes and unions related to photographers and media workers, among them are his memberships in the United Photographers International (UPI), the Photographic Society of America (PSA) and the Federation of International Art photography (FIAP). Al-Mousawi had won two international awards from Greece in the area of photography after his arrest, the awards are an honourable mention and a diploma which brings the total of awards he won to 127 international awards, and more than 50 certificates in the area of photography and photojournalism.[i]

The BCHR believes that arresting Al-Mousawi is part of the systematic campaign led by the authority in Bahrain against photojournalists and media workers. They are arrested to continue the media blackout practiced by the authority to conceal the violations which are revealed by the photographers who convey the reality and expose the regime’s violations of human rights in Bahrain.

The Freedom Press Index released by Reporters without Borders[ii] had mentioned four Bahraini photographers among a list that included 178 detained journalists worldwide. The organization had included in the list announced on Wednesday 18 December 2013 the names of the following photographers: Qassim Zen-el-deen, arrested on 2 August 2013, Hussein Hubail, arrested on 31 July 2013, Ahmed Humaidan, arrested on 29 December 2012, and Hasan Matooq, arrested since 12 May 2011.

Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafda – Vice-president of the BCHR – denounced arresting photographers, and considered it a blatant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, specifically Article 19 which states, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’.

Based on the aforementioned, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and all the authority’s close allies and relevant international associations to:

  • Put pressure on the authority in Bahrain to take into consideration and maintain human rights, specifically those related to freedom of press and dissemination of information;
  • Trial Bahrain internationally for its continuous and frequent violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which it had endorsed, and specifically Article 19 concerned with freedom of expression.

It also calls on the authority in Bahrain to:

  • Immediately release Ahmed Al-Mousawi and all the detained photographers and allow them to practice their right without any restrictions or harassments;
  • Stop the policy of systematically targeting photographers, journalists and bloggers;
  • hold accountable and question all those implicated in the violations and torture whether through supervision and / or order, and especially the ones in high ranks;
  • Drop all charges related to freedom of expression in the ongoing trials.