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Bahrain: Arrest and detention of human rights lawyer Mr Mohammed Al-Tajir
On 15 April 2011, human rights lawyer Mr Mohammed Al-Tajir was arrested at his home by Bahraini police officers. Mohammed Al-Tajir is a prominent defence lawyer who has worked with more than 25 lawyers to defend human rights defenders and political activists held in incommunicado detention during the ongoing crackdown. He was one of the lead lawyers involved in the trial of 23 opposition and rights activists arrested during security sweeps last August and September and accused under Bahrain's counter-terrorism laws.
It is reported that, at approximately 11pm on 15 April, a group of more than twenty masked and plain-clothes security officers raided the home of Mohammed Al-Tajir where he was present with his wife and young children. The security officers reportedly ordered him to stay downstairs while they began their search of the premises. They told his wife, Mrs Huda Al-Tajir, to go upstairs and to wake the younger children who were asleep.
The security officers then conducted a thorough search of the home and confiscated personal items including mobile phones, laptops and documents. During the search they told Mohammed Al-Tajir to hand over the keys to his law office in Manama. He explained that he shared the offices with other lawyers but they insisted that he surrender the keys to them regardless. The security officers then arrested Mohammed Al-Tajir and brought him to an undisclosed destination. No reason has been given for the arrest and no charges have been brought against him. His whereabouts are still unknown.
Front Line is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Mohammed Al-Tajir, and believes that he may face torture and ill-treatment in detention. Front Line believes that his arrest and detention are directly related to his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights and constitute an attempt by the authorities to put pressure on those who provide legal assistance to those arbitrarily arrested and detained.