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Bahrain: jailing of Ebrahim Sharif is 'outrageous attack' on freedom of expression

A solidarity protest for Ebrahim Sharif in France in 2013 © Pierre Yves-Brunaud/Picturetank
‘Ebrahim Sharif’s conviction is a blatant attempt to punish him for speaking out’ - James Lynch
The sentencing of Bahraini political activist Ebrahim Sharif to one year in prison today simply for making a speech calling for reform is yet another example of Bahrain’s intensified crackdown on peaceful critics, said Amnesty International in response.
Mr Sharif gave the speech in July, a month after being released from prison for his role in the country’s 2011 reform protests. He had served four years of a five-year sentence after an unfair trial involving 21 opposition activists found guilty of attempting to change the constitution and monarchical system “by force”.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director James Lynch said: 
“The sentencing of Ebrahim Sharif to yet another year in prison simply for calling for reform in a speech is an outrageous attack on freedom of expression and the latest example of the Bahraini authorities’ insidious clampdown on government critics.
“No one should be imprisoned for peacefully expressing their views. Ebrahim Sharif’s conviction is a blatant attempt to punish him for speaking out, serving as a warning to all dissidents, and must be quashed immediately.
“Today Amnesty International published its annual global report highlighting an unprecedented assault on freedoms across the world. Evidence of this crackdown is patently clear in Bahrain where the authorities have sought to suppress freedom of expression, association and assembly by continuing to ban demonstrations in the capital, Manama and harassing, intimidating and arbitrarily arresting government critics and in some cases even revoking their nationality rendering them stateless.”

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