Ahmed Humaidan

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Ahmed Humaidan is a freelance photographer who covered the pro-reform protests that erupted in Bahrain in February 2011. He was arrested in 2012 after documenting protesters attacking a police station, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2014. Humaidan, who is being held in Jaw Central Prison, has suffered from a serious eye infection in recent years. 

Humaidan was at the Sitra police station to document the attack as part of his coverage of unrest in the country after pro-reform protests erupted in February 2011, according to the BBC. His photographs were published by local opposition sites, including the online newsmagazine Alhadath and the news website Alrasid.

Police arrested Ahmed Humaidan on December 29, 2012, and charged him with "demonstrating illegally" and "using violence to assault police and damage public properties" during the demonstrations on the island of Sitra, where Humaidan lived, according to news reports. Adel Marzouk, head of the Bahrain Press Association, an independent media freedom organization based in London, told CPJ that Humaidan’s photographs had exposed police attacks on protesters during the demonstrations. Humaidan’s family said authorities had sought his arrest for months and had raided their home five times to try to arrest him, news reports said.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on March 26, 2014, in a trial of more than 30 individuals charged with participating in the attack on the station, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

The High Court of Appeals upheld Humaidan’s sentence on August 31, 2014, despite calls by CPJ and other human rights organizations to throw out the conviction.

Humaidan is being held in Jaw Central Prison, a journalist familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, told CPJ. Authorities limited family visits to the prison after an attempted jail break by some of the inmates in January 2017, the journalist told CPJ. For seven months, all visits were banned. Since September 2017, Humaidan’s relatives have been allowed to visit, but he is denied physical contact with his wife and four-year-old son, the journalist who spoke with CPJ said. In October 2017, Humaidan had a severe eye infection that the prison clinic was not equipped to effectively treat, the journalist said.

In October 2018, the journalist told CPJ that after Humaidan visited the prison clinic five times without clearing up the eye infection, authorities transferred Humaidan to a hospital for treatment, where he received eyedrops. His condition improved, but the infections keep returning because of the lack of cleanliness in the prison, the journalist said.

A member of Humaidan’s family told CPJ in September 2019 that his overall health was good but that he still suffered from persistent eye infections.

CPJ emailed the Embassy of Bahrain in Washington, D.C., in October 2019 for comment on Humaidan’s imprisonment, including reports of him being denied access to medical treatment, but did not receive a response.

In 2014, the U.S. National Press Club honored Humaidan with its John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award.