Bahrain | States should press for end to reprisals against family members


States with a commitment to the protection of civil society should urgently press Bahrain to end reprisals against the family members of human rights defenders who engage with the UN, a coalition of 15 leading NGOs said today.

In an open letter, the NGOs specifically call on a group of States to urgently press Bahrain to release Sayed Nazar Alwadaei, Hajar Mansoor Hasan and Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor, who have been arbitrarily detained and are due to be sentenced on 30 October 2017.

ISHR considers that the prosecution of these individuals, who are family members of prominent Bahraini human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, is a reprisal for his human rights work. This is a concern shared by at least six  UN human rights experts and by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, among others.

'The targeting and harassment of family members is a worsening practice aimed to preventing or punishing the work of human rights defenders,' said ISHR Legal Counsel Tess McEvoy. 'It is a clear violation of international human rights law.'

'Governments with a genuine commitment to safeguarding civil society space and cooperation with the UN need to take concrete steps to implement this commitment by speaking up both publicly and privately in relation to particular cases of reprisals. It is no longer enough to condemn reprisals in general terms. States that perpetrate reprisals should be told in no uncertain terms that such acts are unacceptable and will carry a political cost,' McEvoy said.

Contact: Tess McEvoy, Legal Counsel, on and on Twitter @Tess_L_McEvoy


  • Middle East and North Africa
  • Human rights defenders
  • Reprisals and intimidation
  • Bahrain