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 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 and the Bahrain Press Association 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 Associated Press.
Humaidan is being held in Jaw 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. Starting in September 2017, Humaidan’s relatives were allowed to visit again, but he was denied physical contact with his wife and 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 kept returning because of the lack of cleanliness in the prison, the journalist said. In September 2020, the journalist told CPJ that Humaidan’s eye infection had cleared up in the past year.
In March 2021, Humaidan tested positive for COVID-19 in prison, according to a journalist with knowledge of his situation. Humaidan’s case came amid a widespread outbreak in Jaw Prison, according to the London-based Bahraini human rights organization Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy. According to the journalist, Humaidan was isolated from other prisoners and monitored by a doctor and nurse who gave him painkillers to alleviate his symptoms. The journalist said Humaidan told his
family in a call in early April that he was recovering and had tested negative. The journalist told CPJ in September 2021 that Humaidan no longer had any health issues, but that prison authorities had stopped allowing his family to visit him as of August 2021 without explaining why, although he is in touch with his family regularly via video calls.
In 2014, the U.S. National Press Club honored Humaidan with its John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award.
In September 2021, CPJ emailed the Bahrain Ministry of Interior’s media center asking for comment about the health and treatment behind bars of Humaidan and other imprisoned journalists, but did not receive a response.