Canadian citizen Naser Al-Raas arrested in Bahrain (UPDATED)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

UPDATED: February 7, 2012
Naser Al-Raas was released from prison on bail on Monday, February 6. The charges against him have not been dismissed. He has a hearing on February 16, before the High Criminal Court of Appeal for the review of his five year sentence.

Take Action:
Amnesty International | Appeal to the Bahraini authorities to drop all charges against Mr. Al-Raas

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: February 1, 2012

Canadian citizen Naser Al-Raas was jailed earlier today in Bahrain, after appearing in court with the belief his prison sentence would be dismissed.

In October 2011, Mr. Al-Raas was convicted of illegal assembly, rioting and incitement, in relation to his participation in pro-democracy protests. Although 12 other defendants in this case were released, his last appeal was denied and his sentence was upheld.

According to Amnesty International, Mr. Al-Raas was tortured for a month during detention in March 2011. Until today, he had been living in hiding in Bahrain, fearing that he would be tortured if detained again. However, he finally felt safe enough to attend court today with confidence that his sentence would be overturned.

He has a serious heart condition, which amplifies the danger of any torture or physical injuries. It appears that he has been given permission to see a cardiologist, but CJFE remains concerned for his health and well-being.

Naser Al-Raas’ case has been postponed until February 16, 2012, and he will remain in prison until his next court date.

CJFE continues to monitor his situation closely, and will post updates as we receive them.

For more information:

CBC | Canadian citizen arrested in Bahrain court

CBC News | Bahrain urged to review Ottawa man's case (includes audio interview with Al-Raas, while in hiding)

Index on Censorship | Canadian citizen tortured in prison rearrested by Bahrain authorities

The National Post | Wife fears torture after arrested Canadian Naser al-Raas held in ‘one of the worst prisons’ in Bahrain

IFEX | International Mission to Bahrain Report says promises for reform unfulfilled, while situation deteriorates