• Sweden edition
 
Swedish activist gets life sentence in Bahrain

Swedish activist gets life sentence in Bahrain

Published: 22 Jun 2011 12:12 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Jun 2011 12:12 GMT+02:00

The life sentence for Mohammed Habib al-Muqdad comes on top of a 20-year sentence he received in May for allegedly kidnapping a police officer.

According to Wednesday's ruling, al-Muqdad was guilty of “terrorist activity” with the intention to overthrow the regime.

“Since he was last released from prison he has been fighting for democracy in Bahrain,” Mohammed Al-Maskati, chairman of BYSHR told The Local.

Al-Muqdad was previously incarcerated for what the regime sees as “oppositional activity” after being arrested in August 2010 when he was held isolated without being able to contact his family or lawyer.

Al-Muqdad, who has dual-citizenship, was then brought in again and convicted in May 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, who lived in the country for many years, only returning to Bahrain in the 2000s after there had been some reforms in the country.

Swedish authorities tried to get to see him in conjunction with his last sentence but have met with difficulty as Bahraini law does not recognize dual citizenship.

According to Al-Maskati, al-Muqdad has been central in the protests carried out against the regime during the winter and spring, and claims that this is what is behind his harsh treatment.

“The government want to keep him from doing anything for a very long time because of his political activism,” said Al-Maskati.

Twenty other activists were convicted in the same trial as al-Muqdad. Seven received life sentences, nine got 15 years in prison and four received sentences of between two and five years in prison.

According to Al-Maskati, al-Muqdad and the others had tried to tell the judge about being subjected to torture while being held before the trial.

“We know that it is an unfair trial when a representative of the law refuses to listen to claims of ill-treatment in custody, ”Al-Maskati said.

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

On the 1st of June, the Bahrain government lifted the emergency martial law in a bid to show the rest of the world that things had gone back to normal.

But according to al-Maskati very little has changed since then.

“It’s been 22 days since the emergency law was lifted in Bahrain, but we see no difference here. Sentences are still harsh and the persecution is ongoing,” al-Maskati told The Local.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

13:20 June 22, 2011 by edpe71
For me, its really difficult to have any sympathy for the now prisoner!
13:59 June 22, 2011 by Solith
Why? Is fighting for democracy, taking lessons learned from Sweden, something you have difficulty understanding? no-one, regardless of race, should be denied fair representation at trial, nevermind tortured.
14:15 June 22, 2011 by Roy E
Perhaps living in Sweden led this individual to forget that there can be real consequences for committing crimes.
14:35 June 22, 2011 by AnEye
Roy,

Or Perhaps living in Sweden led this individual to realize there should be freedom and democracy in country of his origin as well. But it depends on how one looks at this. You can look at this person trying to actively participate in protests and demonstrations against a family ruling the country for more than 200 years. OR that raising voice against the rulers = terrorism or crime. Your choice.
16:14 June 22, 2011 by edpe71
Fighting for human rights within the bounds of the law is one thing and admirable. Carrying on illegal activities in that country under this guise, including allegedly kidknapping a policeman, is another. When in Rome do as Romans do. He wasn't! So tough.
17:00 June 22, 2011 by Roy E
@AnEye

Kidnapping a police officer suggests otherwise.
17:48 June 22, 2011 by Solith
I have democracy in my country. Sweden promotes democracy and equal rights and so to have any individual carry that to his home country is admirable. He "allegedly" kidnapped the police officer, and was also subjected to torture - I imagine even the stoutest of trolls would admit to a crime of which they were innocent. So yes, I have sympathy for the guy. Once you have lived under a dictatorship, then you may cast aspersions on the actions of such a man.
19:19 June 22, 2011 by graphixperson
Allegedly is the key word. They'll claim that protestors commit crimes just to give them an excuse to further persecute them. I guess it's better in Bahrain where they make up your charges than in Syria where they shoot to kill on sight.
20:27 June 22, 2011 by helveeta
If you know you're doing something illegal, be prepared to suffer the consequences, and know the laws of the country you're committing them in. Don't expect any country you once lived in to bail you out. Sorry dude.
04:11 June 23, 2011 by wenddiver
If the definition of Democracy is the right to kidnap Police Officers, then after over twoo hundred years of history, a revoluton , a civil war and trillions of Dollars in elections we still don't have it in America.
05:54 June 23, 2011 by Playmaker
"Swedish" ha. a piece of paper don't make you swedish. i do agree and suport him in his bid for democracy. but lets not be to nieve here. does he really want true democracy. would he if he could make bahrain like sweden where women are just as equal and can do as they wish and marry who they wish wear want they like. it is hot over there. look how the girls dress here in summer just think what they would where there.

would he let christians build churchs, jews temples you know what i am saying just like any real democracy in the western cultur.

i think not. look at egypt as a perfect example, now the muslim brotherhood will take over and it will become more extream and then war on the jews. again. they have a nazi party starting. or look at gaza strip. hammas was "voted" in. and they ran on killing innocent childern. i hate to say it but i feel the muslim countries could never be like the west. a true democracy. its like two wolves and one sheep voting whats for dinner. if you get my drift.
12:39 June 23, 2011 by hisham
What is really surprised me is that commentators and journalists blame the pro-democracy activists. The demonstrators in Bahrain were so peaceful and all what they want is to achieve equality and human rights. But when Shiek oil chair was threaten there were always conspiration.

Simply, the comments shown their solidarity to Sheik Shirk oil in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
18:34 June 23, 2011 by james_g
I have my doubts about a Muslim scholar's commitment to democracy - though that's not to say it's impossible - but I have VERY serious doubts about the ALLEGED kidnapping of a police officer! Smells very strongly of a frame-up in view of Bahrain politics.

also, edpe71, "Fighting for human rights within the bounds of the law is one thing and admirable" - so what if the bounds of the law imposed by the regime you're opposed to don't allow for any opposition? Do you just lie down, roll over, and say 'Heil Hitler'?
Today's headlines
Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

The Swedish government has been criticized by a slew of organisations for omitting a series of notorious cases of discrimination and a general lack of self-criticism in its report to the UN Human Rights Council. READ  

Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

Entertainment
A closer look at Sweden's rising stars
Swedish actresses Sandra Huldt and Julia Ragnarsson. Julia (right) has been nominated for a Rising Star award. Photo: TT

A closer look at Sweden's rising stars

Like to be ahead of the game when it comes to the next big thing on the silver screen? We find out more about the Swedish nominees for the Rising Star award to be presented at Stockholm's International Film Festival next week. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

935
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN