Ali Haji May Face Imprisonment Again on Charges of "Penetrating a Restricted Area"

Activist Ali Haji during his arrest
Activist Ali Haji during his arrest

2024-05-06 - 10:59 am

Bahrain Mirror: Ali Haji, a human rights activist who spent 10 years in prison, faces a prison sentence if convicted by the court this week on charges of "violating the ban on restricted areas".

The security authorities detained Haji for one day (November 14, 2023), after arresting him from outside the Ministry of Interior building in the Bahraini capital, Manama, while he was protesting the ban preventing him from traveling despite him fulfilling all the legal conditions for lifting the ban.

Haji completed an alternative punishment after his release, which means he has completed all the judicial penalties imposed on him by the judicial authorities.

Indeed, on November 9, 2023, Mr. Haji received an official document from the Ministry of Justice confirming the completion of the alternative punishment issued against him. He then went to the Ministry of Interior to submit a request to complete the procedures for removing his name from the travel ban list.

According to Amnesty International, Mohammad Muslim, the enforcement director, had assigned Haji to meet Captain Jasim Al-Dossari, the director of alternative sentences at the Ministry of Interior. When Mr. Haji requested to meet Captain Al-Dossari, representatives from his office told him to go to the roundabout of Hamad Town Police Station. He was shuffled between these departments, all of which failed to provide him with clarification regarding his travel ban.

On November 13, 2023, he went and stood in front of the gate through which the Minister of Interior usually enters, carrying a paper that said, "I want to see an officer for assistance". However, after he was asked to fill out a complaint, he was asked to leave and told that they would call him.

The next morning, November 14, 2023, Haji went to the Interior Ministry where he was arrested and taken to the Hoora Police Station. There, he was told that he was being investigated for "insulting a public official," which then turned into "using force or making threats and obstructing work," and then finally the accusation was changed to "entering a restricted area." Mr. Haji insisted that when he visited the building on previous days, officials did not inform him that he had entered a restricted area and there were no signs indicating that.

On the following Wednesday, November 15, 2023, he was released with a fine of 100 Bahraini dinars. On January 13, 2024, Mr. Haji wrote to the Bahraini Attorney General urging him to drop the case based solely on his request to meet officials at the Ministry of Interior and to lift the travel ban, which caused him psychological and material damage.

On January 15, 2024, he met with a representative of the Public Prosecution who informed him of a technical error that prevented the judge's order from being executed. He promised to inform the Public Prosecution of this and solve the problem.

He visited the Public Prosecution again on April 24, 2024, and was asked to leave, after which he received an electronic summons to appear before the court, charged with violating the ban on restricted areas and facilities.

While the security restrictions and technical issues were resolved, Haji faced new restrictions based on the new situation of "violating the ban on a restricted area".

If convicted, Haji may face "imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding 100 dinars or one of the two penalties" according to Bahraini Penal Law.

Arabic Version