Pakistani bloggers demand release of Bahraini blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif

Related article: Iranain blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi dies in prison. Time to support bloggers in Iran

LUBP condemns the arrest of prominent Bahraini blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif by the martial law dictator (Bahraini King Hamad) and the Saudi invader (King Abdullah). We urge all bloggers of Pakistan, Bahrain, Middle East, USA, UK and other countries to voice their protest against Mahmood’s arrest and demand his immediate release.

Shortly after 3am local time, prominent Bahraini blogger Mahmood al-Yousif was arrested in his home. Before leaving with police officers, the blogger tweeted: “Police here for me”.

Al-Yousif is an influential bloggerwhose writings of late have been in favor of unifying Bahrainis. On March 15, he wrote:

I choose to come back [to Bahrain] to continue to espouse sanity and tolerance. To continue to try to show people that regardless of their beliefs, status or wealth, our destinies as Bahrainis are intertwined and it behoves us to find equitable ways to live together and ameliorate our differences.

I don’t want to point fingers nor am interested in apportioning further blame. I favor the recognition of the root causes of this strife in order to move on, no matter how painful that exercise may be.

Al-Yousif has long been the administrator of a site called JustBahraini, a unity campaign against sectarianism. He wrote recently of a campaign supporter being threatened by police.

His arrest was confirmed by his brother, as well as his son, who tweeted:

Police just came to my house and arrested my father, Mahmood Al-Yousif. @BahrainRights @OnlineBahrain

Photo by Rotary Club of Adliya made available under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) license.

Written by Jillian York

Source: All Voices

Blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif, a huge figure in the Bahrain blogging scene who runs Mahmood’s Den (, has been arrested by Bahraini police. Mahmood Al-Yousif champions a non-sectarian Bahrain, and has written extensively about the anti-government movement in his home country.

Mahmood tweeted, “Police here for me“. He was taken out of his home at 3am local time on March 30.
Mahmood Al-Yousif also manages Just Bahraini, an anti-sectarian site. Mahmood’s brother, Jamal Alyousif, confirmed the arrest.

Follow the progress of this story via the #freemahmood hashtag

Source: Now Public

7 responses to “Pakistani bloggers demand release of Bahraini blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif”

  1. A blog post by Mahmood on Bahrain’s martial law:

    Pyrrhic victories

    The Pearl has been cleared.

    A pseudo-martial law is in effect.

    Ten more protestors were killed, along with two security personnel and three expatriate residents as far as I can tell, bringing the total lives lost so far to 23 since Feb 14.

    Six opposition figures have been apprehended, five of whom were just released days ago after being incarcerated for some five months.

    Fear pervades the atmosphere, turning the country into a virtual ghost town.

    Yet, protestors and the opposition parties seem to be as determined as ever to continue with their struggle, and I fear just as I predicted, this is going to be a long term struggle should the real issues not be expeditiously and amicably resolved. The alternative is far too ugly to consider; if people were inconvenienced by the burning of tyres before, they’d better get prepared for a lot more in the future. I doubt if there will be a limit to the acts of violence on both sides as desperate people do resort to desperate means, and wronged people do hold a grudge for generations. Do we really want this country to tread those paths?

    I say again that this situation can never be resolved by the use of violence. A purposeful dialog with clear prerequisites, scope and vision conducted through agreed upon representatives is one way forward, but the regime does not need to await the start of these talks. They would do well by emulating Oman to demonstrate their seriousness and sincerity in seeking a long term resolution. Taking this initiative right now is very much mandated, and would have the added advantage of unmistakably sending signals to the world of their intentions and go some way to repair the badly bruised and tattered image of this country.

    Demonstrations and protests are legitimate methods to voice demands and ensure that demands reach those in power. Intelligent people can then evaluate them and change, amend or create new policies to address them.

    In Oman, much more tepid demonstrations that we have had resulted in a much needed wake-up call; and once that was recognised, the Sultan didn’t wait much to introduce deep reforms to his country, yet, as human nature would have it, they too want even more:

    A few days after demonstrations in Sohar surprised everyone, Sultan Qaboos made modest changes, replacing several ministers and undersecretaries, advisers, and Majlis Al Dawla members. Against a wave of protests, and instead of delaying, he dismissed key aides, espoused freedom of speech by tolerating dissent, supported calls for accountability, and agreed to share power.

    The sum total of these incredible transformations shook the political establishment even if they reaffirmed the ruler’s bold outlook.

    Still, what surprised most was Muscat’s unabashed honesty in tackling what many assumed would never change. The first wave of seven decrees was proclaimed on February 28, addressing various concerns of the business community along with a Supreme Court and an ambassadorial appointment.

    On March 1, two decrees set up a Consumer Protection Authority as well as an administratively and financially autonomous Public Prosecution Department.

    Two days later, Sultan Qaboos amended the State Audit Institution and expanded its prerogatives and on March 6, named replacements for his long-time ministers of the diwan, royal office, as well as secretary-general of the royal court.

    His most dramatic announcements came on March 7, in what one observer referred to as ‘the night of the long Khanjars’, when eight royal decrees restructured the Council of Ministers, appointed a new secretary-general for the Council of Ministers, selected a chairman for the State Audit and Administrative Institution, chose a chairman of the Tender Board, designated an adviser at the Diwan of Royal Court, picked an adviser for the Finance Ministry, assigned two new undersecretaries for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries respectively and, lo and behold, cancelled outright the Ministry of National Economy.

    On Sunday, Sultan Qaboos granted legislative and audit powers to the two chambers that make up the Majlis Oman, and promoted a respected military officer as the new inspector general of police and customs.

    Acting fast literally meant that the Sultan listened, adapted, and applied many of the demands that were deemed to be in the country’s best interests. Yet, the Sultan’s sweeping shake-ups, which ushered in many new faces in the government along with pay rises as well as promises to help create over 50,000 new civil service posts, failed to satisfy protesters.

    Gulf News

    Can the demands put forth by the opposition societies be evaluated and enacted in Bahrain as well? Of course they could, and without delay.

    The demands of the Bahraini people are quite simple and universal: we need more democracy, guaranteed human rights and freedoms all leading to the opportunity to live with dignity. Do we really need any dialogue to enact these points? Of course not. The King can enact them immediately and the sooner the better. The regime has already unequivocally accepted the need for a more encompassing constitution, so what’s the harm in his majesty immediately declaring steps to initiate the formation of an elected constitutional council to discuss, agree and formulate this new constitution?

    Once this critical step is taken, talks about all other matters can start and peace and calmness can truly be restored, and this time, for the long term, rather than the current intractable situation resulted in nothing but Pyrrhic victories.

  2. Back in 2007

    Arabeyes: Bahraini Blogger in Court Tomorrow
    Posted 16 April 2007

    Written by
    Amira Al Hussaini
    Countries Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
    Topics Breaking News, Freedom of Speech, Cyber-Activism, Governance, Human Rights, Internet & Telecoms, Media

    Print version

    This is Mahmood Al Yousif, the God Father of Bahraini bloggers, who is being sued by a Bahraini Minister for comments he published online.

    Mediations between the two parties failed, and the case is now being heard by the Higher Criminal Court tomorrow.

    Even the meek Bahraini Journalists Association is backing Al Yousif, and has called for society to rally for his case.

    The association issued the following statement:

    Bahraini Journalists Association invites all journalists in Bahrain to amass in solidarity with the Bahraini blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif at the High Criminal Court on Tuesday April 17, 2007 due to the case brought against him by the Minister of Municipalities Mansour bin Rajab.
    This calls all the journalists to be present at the courtroom and declare their solidarity with Al-Yousif on this issue of freedom of opinion and expression in Bahrain. The BJA condemns the insistence of the minister in pursuing a lawsuit against Al-Yousif, especially as Al-Yousif’s criticism of the minister in his Internet published article was criticism of the minister’s capacity as public official rather than personal. The BJA also calls on civic institutions political and social to show their solidarity by attending at the trial and release supportive statements of Al-Yousif.

    Al Yousif, who enjoys huge popularity in Bahrain and beyond, made this announcement on his blog today:

    We’re all gathering tomorrow morning at the Court building at 9:30. Cases are looked at starting at 10:00am.
    It’s a freedom of expression case, any way you look at it. Please show your opposition to attempts to stifle this freedom by being there.

    He also shares with us his thoughts on the trial, which he emphasises is a case against freedom of expression.

    What I want to emphasize, if I may, this is not really a case against Mahmood Al-Yousif as much as it is a case against the tenets of the freedom of expression.
    We, the people, should not be cowed into a status of never questioning or criticising a government official no matter how high that position is. They have to realise themselves, or be made to realise that the positions they occupy being called “civil servants” is no accident of nomenclature, but fact.
    Unfortunately, both the Penal Code and the Press & Publications Law specifically not only discourages this civic responsibility of criticism, but glaringly criminalise it!

    Al Yousif remains adamant that he committed no crime in criticising the official.

    No, this is not a case against Mahmood Al-Yousif and never was. What I have written is rather mild when you consider it. This is a case purposefully levied to silence criticism.
    Today it is me. Tomorrow it is everyone who dares to even glance “wrongly” at a public official, even if that official happens to be a janitor.

    Needless to say, bloggers from around the Arab world share Al Yousif’s thoughts.

    From Saudi Arabia, blogger Mashi Sah expresses his solidarity with
    Al Yousif.

    لا أشك بأن الهدف الأول والأخير للمحاكمة هو رسالة تخويفية للمدونين وللتخفيف من انطلاقتهم نحو رصد كل التقصير وتسجيل كل المخالفات التي تجرى.
    قضية محمود ليس قضيته وحده وليست قضية المدونين البحرينين بل هي قضية كل المدونين العرب ، كل من حمل على عاتقه هم قلمه وسعى لكتابة الحقيقة ونشر المعلومة الصحيحة ووقف بكل جراءة ليقول الحق أمام كل ظالم ومستبد ومتجاوز ومقصر .
    لنقف جميعنا مع كل مدون حر
    ولنقل لا لقمع المدوني
    There is no doubt that the first and final aim of this trial is to send threats to all bloggers to stop registering all the shortcomings and offences taking place around them. Mahmood’s case isn’t his alone. It is also not a case of Bahraini bloggers. It is the case of all Arab bloggers and all those who have taken it upon their shoulders to expose the truth and publish what really is taking place in a courageous manner and tell the truth in the face of injustice and those who trespass on the law and don’t live up to their obligations. Let us all stand with every free blogger and say no to the repression of bloggers.
    From Dubai, in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, Secret Dubai also rallies support for the blogger as well as for more freedom of expression in the region.

    “Bahraini journalists plan to gather at Bahrain’s High Criminal Court on Tuesday 17th April to protest the libel case brought against Mahmood Al-Yousif by government minister Mansour bin Rajab. Mahmood criticised bin Rajab and his department’s response to heavy December rains that caused flooding. The minister claims his “feelings are hurt”.
    This is a stark reminder that the privileges of freedom of speech that many of us enjoy back home in the West are not available in this region. In properly democratic systems of government, criticism of the government and government figures is expected and necessary for the democratic process. According to the UAE Publications Law, such criticism is illegal. In Bahrain, and in the wider Gulf, one can face heavy fines and lengthy jail sentences,” he writes.

    Written by Amira Al Hussaini
    Posted 16 April 2007

  3. Back in 2006

    Bahraini Blogger Blocked By Bahrain
    Posted by Teeth MaestroOctober 31, 2006

    Pakistanis don’t need to be told how much it can hurt to be at the receiving end of a censorship on their own blog, we sadly have had a massive blockade on the entire cordoning off more then 10 million blogs for over 11 months and counting. Its sad to note that a few days back a very brilliant and outspoken blogger from Bahrain has been blocked by his own government accsuing him of “defamation of the person of the king and royal family members. (press law no. 47, passed in 2002) … more …

    Mahmood suggests that all the sites blocked are ones that published information on “the Jamal Dawood scandal. Dawood is the head of Press and Publication for the Bahrani government and has been involved with part plans to order all Bahrani bloggers to register their online presences. Hes evidently implicated in “Bandargate“, a scandal named after Salah al-Bandar, the Sudanese/British author of a report that documents attempts to rig parliamentary elections in favor of the Sunni minority.
    Personally I think this is just the starting tip of the ice berg when Governments will slowly exercise force to clamp and shut down irritating journalist landing them with one excuse or another. A number of poeple have joined hands to condemn this censorship and I plead you to sign this petition to protest this ban
    On behalf of all Pakistani bloggers we would like to join hands with Mahmood Al-Yousif and protest against the censorship of his blog. I also feel that it is all the more reason when events like this in Bahrain or in Greece where I then feel the urge to step up my efforts to take Don’t Block the Blog from a Pakistan centric organisation to become a more global platform, condemning all forms of censorship anywhere in the world (am seriously looking for volunteers who would be willing to help jointly develop such a platform)

  4. Jailed Iranian Blogger In Grave Condition, His Father Reports

    March 30, 2011
    The jailed Iranian blogger Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki is in grave condition in Tehran’s Evin prison, his father has told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda.

    Ahmad Ronaghi-Maleki told Radio Farda on March 29 that his son suffers from kidney problems and needs to undergo surgery immediately.

    Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki, 24, was arrested in December 2009 in the crackdown following mass protests against that summer’s disputed presidential election.

    He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges that include spreading propaganda against the regime and cooperating with an Iran-based group that works to counter Internet filtering.

    Ronaghi-Maleki has denied all the charges brought against him, his father said.

    “Neither Hossein’s lawyer, nor his family was at court when the sentence was issued,” he said.

    Ronaghi-Maleki spent more than a year in solitary confinement in a ward run by Revolutionary Guards in Evin prison before being transferred to Section 350, where he is currently serving his sentence.

    His father said that one of Hossein’s kidneys became infected while he was in solitary confinement.
    Ahmad Ronaghi-Maleki also said his son was under pressure to make televised confessions but refused to do so.

    He added this might be the reason why the judicial authorities are not allowing Hossein to leave prison for medical treatment.