Originally published on September 25, 2014, at ForceChange.com
Target: Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain
Goal: Drop charges and release a human rights worker imprisoned for practicing free speech on Twitter
A prominent blogger and human rights activist has been arrested for posting comments on Twitter. After tweeting criticisms regarding a corrupt hospital administration, the activist has been detained and charged with defamation. The Bahraini government must release her immediately and drop the ridiculous charges against her.
Accused of posting insulting tweets, human rights activist Ghada Jamsheer has been arrested for attempting to engage in free speech. After criticizing the administration at King Hamad Hospital for their alleged corruption, Jamsheer was arrested and interrogated multiple times in an attempt to intimidate her. Although she did not call for violence or commit a violent crime, Jamsheer remains imprisoned.
As head of the Women’s Petition Committee, Jamsheer advocates for women’s rights and freedom of religion. Along with her human rights work, she is also an author and blogger. She does not belong in a jail cell for using Twitter to point out injustice. Instead of punishing Jamsheer, the Bahraini government should be investigating the corruption allegations against the hospital administrators.
By signing the petition below you will urge the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to release this human rights activist and drop the defamation charges against her.
Dear King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa,
Human rights worker Ghada Jamsheer is being held prisoner for criticisms that she made on Twitter. By attempting to silence her, your government will only incur the wrath of your own people. You cannot prevent people from engaging in free speech online, and you certainly cannot arrest everyone on Twitter who says something you do not like. That battle is futile.
Instead of detaining and interrogating Jamsheer, your government should be investigating the allegations of corruption within the hospital administration. By criminalizing free speech and endorsing corruption, you will only foster increasing acts of civil unrest. Overreacting to nonthreatening tweets does not inspire loyalty among the people.
Jamsheer is a human rights activist and head of the Women’s Petition Committee. She is an author and prominent blogger who advocates for women’s rights and freedom of religion. She does not belong in a jail cell for posting a controversial tweet.
Show the world that your government does not fear a strong woman with internet access. Release Jamsheer and drop the ludicrous defamation charges against her. Embrace free speech by ending arbitrary arrests against Twitter users.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Steindy via Wikimedia Commons