Action Alert: Bahrain – Sunni citizen locked up by Bahraini authorities

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Al-Buflasa

The case of Mohamed Al-Buflasa confirms that the Bahraini government is falsely attributing a sectarian nature to the revolution taking place in Bahrain.

Contents
1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letter


1. Summary

Mohamed Al-Buflasa – a Sunni without allegiance to any party – was arrested and detained for merely calling for reform, national development, and the improvement of living standards for all Bahrainis.


2. Background

Mohamed Al-Buflasa, a 36 year old poet, writer and former independent candidate for the Parliamentary elections, was the first Bahraini to go missing after the events of February 15th 2011, having given speech calling for political activism at Pearl Square. He was arrested by the military, and sentenced to two months by a military court. Al-Buflasa is a patriotic Bahraini citizen, with dreams and aspirations for political reform.

Al-Buflasa was denied his right to be defended by a lawyer during the trial. He was also not given chance to choose between appointing a lawyer and representing himself.

Al-Buflasa told his wife about his sentence over the phone, without mentioning the charges against him. His family have not heard from him for two weeks, and do not know his whereabouts. They were only able to visit him once after the sentencing at Al-Qareen Prison, before they changed his place of detention.

His brother Rashed told IHRC: “Mohamed did not support any group. In fact, he was expressing his own views out of patriotism only.”

The government is targeting the Sunnis as well as the Shia, who are both protesting on the streets calling for the same demands. The case of Mohamed Al-Buflasa confirms that the Bahraini government is falsely attributing a sectarian nature to the revolution taking place in Bahrain. The slogan “neither Shia, nor Sunni, we are all Bahraini” that is emanating from the streets of Bahrain is a testimony to the non-sectarian nature of the Bahraini revolution. This is the narrative that the Bahraini government wishes to crush.

IHRC urges all campaigners to write to the Minister of Interior, Sheikh Rashif Al-Khalifa, calling for the immediate release of Al-Buflasa.


3. Action required

a) Write to the Bahraini Minister of Interior, Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa, calling on him to release Mohamed Al-Buflasa and ensure his safety.

b) Write to William Hague or to you Foreign Secretary Office asking them to urge the Bahraini government to reveal the whereabouts of Al-Buflasa and release him immediately.
Campaigners are welcome to use their own writings in their letters, or use the sample letter provided below.

4. Sample letter
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A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.

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[Your name]
[Your address]

Minister of Interior
Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa
Minister of Interior
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 17232661


[Date]

Your Excellency Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa,

Re: The immediate release of Mohamed Al-Buflasa

I am writing to you with deep concern over the safety and wellbeing of Mr. Mohamed Al-Buflasa, who was arrested by the military on 15 February 2011, and sentenced to two months imprisonment without the announcement of charges against him.

Al-Buflasa is a Bahraini citizen that called for political reform, and the improvement of living standards for all Bahrainis. He was the first prominent Bahraini to go missing in the aftermath of the initial events in Bahrain, after having given a speech. He was tried before a military court, without being given the option of defending himself or appointing a lawyer.

His family have not heard from him for over three weeks and are deeply concerned about him.

Al-Buflasa does not belong to any political party and was speaking out of patriotism. I urge you to use your authority to confirm the whereabouts of Mohamed Al-Buflasa, and order his immediate release.

I look forward to your reply regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]

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[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Rt Hon. William Hague MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London,
SW1A 2AH,
United Kingdom.


Dear William Hague MP,

Re: The immediate release of Mohamed Al-Buflasa

I am writing to you with deep concern over the safety and wellbeing of Mr. Mohamed Al-Buflasa who was arrested by the military on 15 February 2011 and sentenced to two months imprisonment, without announcing the charges against him.

Al-Buflasa is a Sunni Bahraini citizen who called for political reform and improving the living standards of all Bahrainis. He was the first Bahraini who was missing in the events of Bahrain after giving his speech. He was tried before a military court and was not given the option of defending himself or appointing a lawyer to defend him.

His family have not heard from him for three weeks and they are deeply concerned about him.

Al-Buflasa does not belong to any political party and was speaking out of patriotism.

The case of Mohamed Al-Buflasa confirms that the Bahraini government is falsely attributing a sectarian nature to the revolution taking place in Bahrain.

Please call on the Bahraini authorities to reveal the whereabouts of Mohamed Al-Buflasa and order his immediate release.

I look forward to your reply regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below

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"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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