CPJ is among 50 organizations that have signed a joint letter to Bahrain’s king calling for the release of detained bloggers, activists, and human rights defenders and to drop all charges that violate the right to peaceful expression ahead of the Formula One motor racing event to be held in Manama on April 22.
Among the detainees is blogger Abduljalil Alsingace, who has been imprisoned since March 2011 and was handed down a life sentence. Another blogger, Ali Abdel Imam, was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison.
In the past year, independent and opposition journalists in Bahrain have endured the worst conditions since King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa assumed the throne in 1999. CPJ has documented three journalist deaths, including a shooting death this month; dozens of detentions; arbitrary deportations; government-sponsored billboards and advertisements smearing journalists; and numerous physical assaults.