SALAM DHR to Bahraini government: Respect freedom of expression, researches & allow the reopening of the “Jerish Years” blog by researcher Jasim Hussain

On 28 January 2020, the intelligence services in Bahrain summoned the historical researcher Jassim Hussain, after he published historical information on his Instagram page Al-Jareesh. Hussain, who has been blogging since 2008, was accused of “publishing false information and misuse of social media”. He was released on bail on 4 February 2020. Hussein is an active researcher, and has many publications, investigations and lectures to his name.

Jassim Hussain had posted some pictures of a mosque located in Sitra,Bahrain on his Instagram account along with the following comment: “This is the Mosque of a former ruler of Bahrain, Muhammad Baqir Sultan, in the village of Sitra, taken before and after the Mosque’s renovation. Muhammad Baqir Sultan ruled Bahrain in 1090 AH until his death in the end of the year 1091 AH, after which his son Mahdi assumed rule”. Hussein also gave a recent lecture on the history of some of the ancient mosques in Bahrain, in which he questioned some of the official narratives circulating in the school curriculum about “Thursday Mosque”, including that it was the first mosque built in Bahrain.

Jassim Hussain was summoned by the intelligence agency for investigation on 28 January 2020. After his arrival, the post that led to him being summoned was deleted, and after several hours the whole Al-Jareesh site was deleted from Instagram, which contains hundreds of topics and historical investigations and has more than a quarter of million followers. Jassim Hussain began documenting his historical investigations on his blog back in 2008.

The detention of Jassim Hussain and the deletion of his Al-Jareesh blog are a flagrant violation of human and constitutional rights. It is a clear violation of the pledges signed by Bahrain in Article 23 of its Constitution. It also violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 19), the General Declaration of Human Rights (Article 21), as well as several cultural rights, including the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. As such, it constitutes an arbitrary measure that undermines the efforts of others in the field of documenting and publishing cultural and historical information.

SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights (SALAM DHR) urges the authorities in Bahrain to allow him to continue his activities on his Instagram page Al-Jareesh without any restrictions or conditions. The organisation also urges the government of Bahrain to respect the cultural and historical identity of the population, which should not be compromised, and to respect the right of researchers to publish and circulate information, which falls under freedom of expression, opinion and scientific research.