Zakariya Rashid Hassan al-Ashiri

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Al-Ashiri, who moderated and wrote for a local news website in his home village of Al-Dair, died under mysterious circumstances while in government custody, regional and international news media reported.

Security forces had arrested al-Ashiri on April 2, charging him with disseminating false news and inciting hatred, the BBC reported. The site, named Al-Dair after the journalist's home village, was inaccessible inside Bahrain, local journalists said, but CPJ reviewed its contents and found no basis for the government's allegations. The arrest came amid sweeping civil unrest in Bahrain and a government crackdown on independent reporting.

Authorities claimed al-Ashiri died from complications of sickle-cell anemia, but the journalist's family told reporters that he did not suffer from that illness or any other ailment, news reports said.

Al-Ashiri was the first Bahraini journalist to die in direct relation to his work since CPJ started compiling detailed death records in 1992.

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