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Bahrain: Questioning and detention of human rights defender Mr Mohammed Al-Maskati
On 16 October 2012, prominent human rights defender Mr Mohammed Al-Maskati was summoned to Hoora Police Station for interrogation on accusations of rioting and participating in illegal gathering.
He is currently being detained overnight and he was informed that he will be taken to the office of the Prosecutor General on the morning of 17 October 2012. Mohammed Al-Maskati is the founder and the president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR).
Mohammed Al-Maskati was summoned to Hoora Police Station by phone in the early morning of 16 October 2012. He subsequently went to the police station with his lawyer. However, it is reported that his lawyer was refused access to the police station, while Mohammed Al-Maskati was held for questioning. Later in the day, the human rights defender was informed that he would be held overnight and taken to the office of the Prosecutor General the following morning. As yet it remains unclear to which specific events the charges of rioting and participating in illegal gathering refer.
In September 2012, during his participation in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session on Bahrain in Geneva, he informed the UN Human Rights Council that he was receiving numerous anonymous calls which threatened his and his family's life, in connection to his participation to the Council's session.
Front Line Defenders has previously issued a number of urgent appeals on behalf of Mohammed Al-Maskati, the most recent of which is dated 11 March 2011, when the human rights defender was the subject of death threats circulating on several social networking websites identifying him and other Bahraini human rights defenders as “traitors” and urging for them to be killed.
These messages provided many personal details about him, including his full name, home address, telephone number and car model and registration plate, information normally found on a National Identity Card. Following the publication of these messages, Mohammed Al-Maskati received a number of anonymous phone calls with threats or insults.