An Intellectual Threat in Bahrain?

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Photo source.

Earlier I wrote a post about Prof. Al-Singace, a Bahraini engineer sentenced to life in prison, forced to appeal on September 11. Sadly, another example has emerged of the denial of due process to a scholar, in a region where intellectuals are viewed as a potential threat.

From Scholars At Risk, with my emphasis in bold:

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned for Professor Masaud Jahromi, Chairman of Telecommunication Engineering Department at Ahlia University, Manama, Bahrain. SAR asks for letters, faxes and emails urging the appropriate authorities to intervene to ensure that his [December 22nd] hearing is addressed in a manner consistent with internationally recognized standards of due process and fair trial, in accordance with Bahrain’s obligations under international law. Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 270 universities and colleges in 33 countries dedicated to promoting academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of thought, opinion, expression, association and travel. In cases like that of Professor Jahromi, involving alleged infringement of these freedoms, Scholars at Risk intervenes hoping to clarify and resolve matters favorably.

Background

Professor Masaud Jahromi holds a PhD in Telecommunication Networking from University of Kent at Canterbury in the United Kingdom, and he is the former Chairman of the Telecommunication Engineering Department at Ahlia University….

Professor Jahromi was arrested and taken from his home at 2:30 am on April 14, 2011 and was imprisoned for five months. According to reports, on the night of his arrest, the police broke into his house in the middle of the night, threatened and harassed members of his family, confiscated the family’s laptops, and beat Professor Jahromi before taking him away to an undisclosed location. According to information Scholars at Risk received, while in prison, Professor Jahromi was denied access to his family, much‑needed medical care (as he suffers from hepatitis C) and legal counsel for extended periods of time. He was suspended from his position at the university. Initially held without charge, four months’ after his arrest he was charged with “participation in an unauthorized rally”. Reports suggest the charges relate to his peaceful exercise of his right to free expression and assembly. Professor Jahromi was released on bail on September 12, 2011, pending trial on December 22, 2011. He remains suspended from the university.

Absent any additional or contrary information, the facts as described appear to constitute violations of internationally recognized human rights and standards of due process, fair trial and detention, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain has acceded. Taking into account reported arrests of scholars in Bahrain following the pro‑democracy protests in February and March, Professor Jahromi’s detention suggests a wider attempt to intimidate intellectuals in Bahrain–a suggestion Scholars at Risk finds particularly distressing and unfortunate given the recent manifestations of public discontent in the region, which appear to warrant more rather than fewer exchanges and discussions among states, intellectuals and the public.

Especially in light of the recent report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which included in Chapter VII, Section C findings of inappropriate restrictions on freedom of expression at university campuses, Scholars at Risk respectfully urges the appropriate authorities to intervene in Professor Jahromi’s case. SAR urges authorities to ensure that the hearing is addressed in a manner consistent not only with the Commission’s findings but with internationally recognized standards of due process and fair trial, in accordance with Bahrain’s obligations under international law. Take Action Scholars at Risk invites letters, emails and faxes be sent respectfully urging authorities to intervene in Professor Jahromi’s case; and respectfully urging authorities to ensure that the hearing is addressed in a manner consistent with internationally recognized standards of due process and fair trial, in accordance with Bahrain’s obligations under international law.