Bahraini Ophthalmologist Released after Serving One-Year Sentence
January 9, 2017
Dr. Sa’eed Mothaher Habib al-Samahiji, a Bahraini ophthalmologist and human rights defender, was released from Jaw Prison in Bahrain on January 3, 2017, after completing his one-year prison sentence.
Dr. al-Samahiji was arrested on January 3, 2016, not long after posting several messages on social media that were critical of the execution of 47 political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, including the prominent Shi’a cleric Sheikh al-Nimr. Dr. al-Samahiji denied all charges that were brought against him in the trial that followed, and, on April 7, 2016, he was convicted and sentenced to one year in prison on charges that included “insulting a brotherly State” and “calling for demonstrations.” While in detention, he went on a hunger strike to protest his ill-treatment. We understand that Dr. al-Samahiji was denied adequate medical care while in prison, despite suffering from a number of longtime ailments.
Dr. al-Samahiji was imprisoned twice previously for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and was considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.