Bahrain detains blogger on ‘national security concerns’

New York, August 17, 2010–The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the detention of a blogger and human rights activist since Friday. The official Bahrain News Agency quoted a security source claiming that Abduljalil Alsingace was arrested based on national security concerns that could “damage the country’s stability.” The unnamed security official went on to say that Alsingace had “abused the freedom of opinion and expression prevailing in the kingdom.”

Alsingace was arrested at the Bahrain International Airport while reentering the country after a visit to London, where he spoke at the House of Lords about human rights in Bahrain, his lawyer, Mohamed Ahmed, told CPJ. Alsingace also publishes articles critical of the government on his blog Al-Faseela. Authorities briefly blocked local access to his blog in 2009.    

The language used by the authorities sends a chilling message to bloggers and journalists to remain silent or face arrest in the run-up to parliamentary elections slated for October,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “We call on Bahraini authorities to release Abduljalil Alsingace immediately.”

Alsingace has been held for the past four days without access to his lawyer or family. His lawyer told CPJ that the authorities have not specified any charges against him.

His friend Abbas al-Omran, who is also a Bahraini rights activist, told CPJ that he is concerned about Alsingace’s health. Alsingace uses a wheelchair and is on medications that he was not able to take with him to jail, al-Omran said.