UN Criticizes Bahrain over Toughened Anti-Protest Laws
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Bahrain's legal crackdown on demonstrators has been criticized heavily by the UN, which warned that there may be “serious consequences” in anticipation of a protest planned for August 14.
The move has also prompted an open letter from human rights groups, RT reported.
The stricter penalties for protests, which were enacted on July 31, are amendments to the 2006 Law on the Protection of Society from Acts of Terrorism. The revisions also include increasing the detention period for committing or inciting an act of terrorism.
But critics believe the toughened laws will be used against peaceful protesters – not just those committing “terrorist” activities.
“They also provide for banning sit-ins, rallies and gatherings in the capital Manama,” spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Cécile Pouilly, said in a statement.
Anti-government rallies have been organized for August 14, despite the new legislation.
The UN expressed concern that the amendments – which are supposedly intended to protect the population from terrorism - may negatively impact human rights.
In recent months, the Bahraini government has increased pressure on people spreading information on the country’s human rights situation through Twitter and Facebook.
At the beginning of August, a report emerged which revealed that the government was creating fake social media accounts to track online critics. Since October 2012, 11 people have been jailed for criticizing the regime on the internet.
The report, entitled “The IP Spy Files: How Bahrain’s Government Silences Anonymous Online Dissent,” stated that tweeters referring to Bahrain’s King as a “dictator” or “tyrant” were imprisoned for up to a year.