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Swedish activist jailed for 20 years in Bahrain

Published: 19 May 2011 16:49 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 May 2011 16:49 GMT+02:00

A Swedish activist has been convicted to 20 years in prison in Bahrain for kidnapping a police officer, according to human rights group Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR).

“He has been fighting for democracy,” said head of BYSHR, Mohammed Al-Maskati, to the Expressen daily.

The man, who has dual-citizenship, was convicted together with eight others to 20 years in prison after allegedly kidnapping a police officer.

He is in his fifties and is a Muslim scholar from central Sweden, according to the Swedish foreign ministry.

The man lived for many years in Sweden but returned to Bahrain in the 2000s after there had been some reforms in the country.

According to Al-Maskati, he has been central in the protests carried out against the regime during the winter and spring.

The Swedish foreign ministry confirmed to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) that the Swedish embassy in Abu Dhabi has requested to see him but has so far not been granted access.

“One problem is that they don’t recognise a dual-citizenship in Bahrain,” Anders Jörle, head of information at the foreign ministry, told DN.

The man has previously been incarcerated for what the regime sees as “oppositional activity” after being arrested in August 2010 when was held isolated without being able to contact his family or lawyer.

He was later released together with some other prisoners in order to appease protesters earlier in the spring.

But when the regime smashed the protest they carried out massive arrests and the man was taken back to jail.

The Swedish man has stood trial in a newly formed military court and according to Al-Maskati they fear he has been undergoing torture.

Human rights organisation Amnesty has criticised the legal procedures in Bahrain where many imprisoned have reported being put through torture.

“We have previously criticised the arrests of this man and other activists.

We have also criticised the terrorist trials. We don’t think that the rule of law has been guaranteed,“ said press secretary Elisabeth Löfgren to Expressen.

The man is also set to faces charge of “terrorist activity” with the intention to overthrow the regime in an upcoming trial.

According to Al-Maskati two of the charges could mean the death penalty and several other life imprisonment.

“I fear that he will be condemned to death,” Al-Maskati told Expressen.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:53 May 19, 2011 by Swedesmith
Sharia law can be very harsh.
18:01 May 19, 2011 by Grandson of Swedish Emigrants
So how about a few facts in the Story before it is printed.

For example, some information about the alledged kidnapping of a police officer would be helpful.

Also, what is meant by "...he has been central in the protests carried out against the regime during the winter and spring..." Does this mean he was a speaker at goup meetings? Does this mean he was in charge of organizing events? Does this mean he personally lead a group that kidnaped police officials?

The story says that someone with dual citizenship did some stuff and has been arrested and may face a death penalty. Beyond that most of the details are missing. Not a very good job of "reporting."
18:09 May 19, 2011 by muhtia
Why is Sweden not condemning Bahrain outright knowing very well the atrocities committed to the protesters and even professionals like Physicians, medical workers, advocates,journalists etc. Even the workers who took part in democracy protests are being fired and others are being beaten up to accept guilt. The Shia population is living in terror and the whole world is silent. I would want to ask Mr Bildt, an outspoken critic of human rights in Iran and Syria to show if he is sincere.

Even at the expense of our citizen, who has been sentenced for 20 years without being guilty, we chose to remain silent.
18:22 May 19, 2011 by Iraniboy
SwedeSmith

Your ignorance is appalling. Bahrain is not based on Sharia law. In fact it is based on whatever comes out of the White House!
18:45 May 19, 2011 by Swedesmith
Tho tholly....didn't know Bahrain was the 51st state.
20:47 May 19, 2011 by Abbot
Bahrain is a legitimate state and has its own internal laws. Those who don't like it can stuff it or go to prison if you dare to break the law there, just as it would happen anywhere else in the world.
21:56 May 19, 2011 by Syftfel
The fact that this "swede" holds dual citizenship is significant. International diplomatic protocol dictates that Sweden then must only recognize him as a Bahraini citizen, if arrested in Bahrain. Sweden should not lift a finger, unless Sweden wants to be accused of "meddling in Bahrain's internal affairs". Had he abandoned his Bahraini citizenship, the situation would have been different. Sweden could then exert diplomatic pressures on Bahrain. It should not do so now. - See you in 20 years honey!
00:38 May 20, 2011 by jackx123
it should read "swedish passport holder" . this geezer was not born in sweden, there is nothing that points towards that he wants to be in sweden, thus what is he doing in bahrain???

IRANBOY: have you ever been in Bahrain? I used to live there for many years and they don't give a rats about americans. they even arrest them should they mess it up whilst on leave, despite having a large presence there.

This dude should know better and and follow the law.
00:50 May 20, 2011 by wenddiver
Oh how awful, I can not believe Bahrain has outlawed the kidnapping of police officials? Surely they are the only country in the world that has that law!!

Whatever happened to the Human Right that allows you to kidnap policemen?

DUHHHHHHHH, be glad this psycho is back in a Middle-Eastern prison where he belongs, instead of harming somebody in Sweden.
06:30 May 20, 2011 by canuk
ya hes swedish when the bajs hits the fan, but otherwise will gladly live and move back to his own country with this 'insurance policy' in his back pocket.
12:44 May 20, 2011 by Rebel
And what is NATO saying about Bahrain and Saudi Arabia????
15:01 May 21, 2011 by wenddiver
@Rebel- NATO is supposed to be about defending Western Democracies, not sorting out which Islamic murderer rules in the Middle-East.
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