Update from Bahrain – Al Wasat trial contrary to serious dialogue


RN considers that the expropriation of Al Wasat, one of the finest newspapers in the Middle East, and the ongoing trial of Board Member Mansoor Al Jamri and others, are actions counter to any serious attempt at dialogue and reconciliation. Al Wasat should be allowed to express its moderate views that for nearly a decade brought all Bahrainis together.  RN received the following update on today’s trial session.

19 June 2011 (Bahrain): Bahrain’s High Criminal Court held its third session today in relation to the charges leveled against ex editors of Al Wasat newspaper (the first session was on 18 May and the second session was on 15 June).

The defense lawyer questioned two witnesses from Al Wasat who described the conditions the newspaper had been subjected to from 15 March until end of March 2011.

The two witnesses said since the attack on Al Wasat press the newspaper had to close its offices each afternoon and the work was conducted from home and communicated by emails.

They described how the news in question filtered through the system because of these exceptional circumstances.

They also affirmed that after Bahrain state TV aired a program against Al Wasat on 2 April 2011 highlighting erroneous news, an investigation was conducted and it was found out that all six pieces of news mentioned by Bahrain TV had come from an ISP address located in Saudi Arabia.

The trial adjourned to 3 July 2011.

Those accused by the court are the founder of the newspaper Mansoor Al-Jamri, managing editor Walid Noueihed, head of local news Aqeel Mirza, and editorial secretary Ali Al-Sherify. The latter is being tried in absentia as he was forcibly deported by the Bahraini authorities on 4 April 2011.


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