Bahrain Tweet Arrest


One of Bahrain's most prominent democracy activists, Nabeel Rajab has been arrested and others say the government is growing even more aggressive in its suppression of dissent. 

Today's guest host was Mike Finnerty.

Part One of The Current

Bahrain Tweet Arrest - Panel

Few Middle Eastern countries have remained untouched by the recent winds of change. You may not have read or heard much about ongoing opposition activism in Bahrain, even though crowds of protesters have continued to fill parks and choke streets in the island kingdom.

On the weekend, anti-government demonstrations turned violent when protesters lobbed fire bombs at riot police carrying out arrest raids. The protesters were opposing Bahrain's plans to ban opposition rallies.

Many believe Bahrain's government is doing whatever it takes to keep news of discontent out of the headlines. One of Bahrain's foremost human rights activists was recently arrested -- for a tweet. We aired the audio of an online video showing the arrest of the head of Bahrain's Centre for Human Rights.

At least 8 police, their faces completely covered by black masks, lead Nabeel Rajab out of his house. Mr Rajab had tweeted that the Prime Minister's recent visit to a village would not have been as welcome if the people weren't desperate for government cash. Rajab was charged with defaming the village and sentenced to 3 months in jail. A date was set for appeal, but it was only a few hours before he was arrested again.

Zainab Al Khawaja was a witness to the arrest. She's also a prominent anti-government tweeter and has been targeted herself. Two weeks ago, police shot her in the leg during a demonstration. She was in Manama. And Courtney Radsch is the senior manager for the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House in Washington. Freedom House has been denied entry to Bahrain to scrutinize the level of freedom of expression in the country. She was in Washington D.C.

Bahrain Tweet Arrest - Information Affairs Authority in Bahrain

The government of Bahrain denies it's co-ordinating a campaign against the democracy activists. It says there are limits to freedom of expression when it comes to inciting violence or other disruptions.

Fahad Al Binali is the Spokesperson for the Information Affairs Authority in Bahrain. But we reached him in Edinburgh today.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Sujata Berry.

Other segment from today's show:

What if ... Oil was left in the sand? (Doc Repeat)

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