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 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 Associated Press.

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 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. According to the family member of another journalist at Jaw Prison, Abduljalil Alsingace, who spoke to CPJ in September 2020, the prison has not allowed visitors since February 2020 to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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 and that he was no longer dealing with any health issues.

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

CPJ emailed the Bahrain Ministry of Interior’s media center in September 2020 asking for comment on Humaidan’s case, access to health care in Jaw Prison, measures against COVID-19, mistreatment and retaliation against prisoners behind bars, and questions about specific detainees’ medical issues, but did not receive a response. In October 2020, CPJ also emailed the Bahraini Embassy in Washington, D.C. with questions about the reasons for the continued imprisonment of Humaidan and other journalists, as well as their health and treatment behind bars, but did not immediately receive a response.