Summary and Current Status
On January 19, 2012, a Bahraini court found Dr. Masaud Jahromi, chairman of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Ahlia University, guilty of “incitement to hatred of a regime and/or participation in unauthorized rallies” and sentenced him to four months’ imprisonment and a fine of 500 Bahraini dinars. Because Dr. Jahromi had already served five months in prison, from April 2011 to September 2011, he was not made to serve any additional time. Hoping for full exoneration, Dr. Jahromi’s lawyers are appealing his guilty verdict.
Ahlia University in Manama restored Dr. Jahromi to his position as an instructor on January 31, 2012. Two months later, on March 20, 2012, he was reinstated fully and resumed his chairmanship of the Telecommunication Engineering Department.
Dr. Jahromi earned his master’s degree in control and information technology from the University of Manchester in 1996 and then completed a Ph.D. in telecommunications networking at the University of Kent in Canterbury, writing his thesis on “ATM-based independent service.” For the past seven years, he worked at Ahlia University of Bahrain, where he was chairman of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and represented assistant professors on the University Council. He is not known to have had any political involvements.
On April 14, 2011, at 2:30 a.m., Bahraini security forces forcibly entered Dr. Jahromi’s home, dragged him from his bed, beat him in front of his wife and eight-year-old son, confiscated the family’s laptop computers, and detained him. His family did not hear anything from him until late May, when his wife, Elham Shakeri, reportedly received a telephone call from him, in which his only words were “thanks to God” (Al Hamdu Lellah). Later, it was learned that he was held in Al Galaa Prison until the end of April, when he was transferred to Dry Dock Prison, the Ministry of Interior’s short-term detention unit, in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. Beginning in July, prison authorities reportedly granted Dr. Jahromi’s family permission to visit him in prison on a weekly basis.
A press release from the Bahrain Justice and Development Movement (BJDM), a United Kingdom-based nongovernmental organization established by Bahraini exiles, expressed grave concern that, although Dr. Jahromi had been diagnosed with hepatitis C while in prison, he was not receiving necessary medical treatment for this serious condition.
According to subsequent Facebook postings by Ms. Shakeri, Bahraini authorities moved up the trial date for Dr. Jahromi and five co-defendants, charged with “incitement to hatred of a regime and/or participation in unauthorized rallies,” from October 17 to August 24, 2011. She reported that she was permitted to attend the initial session, at which neither the co-defendants nor their lawyers were permitted to speak.
On September 12, 2011, Dr. Jahromi was granted bail and released from prison after being held for five months.
On January 19, 2012, the court found him guilty and sentenced him to four months’ imprisonment and a fine of 500 Bahraini dinars (approximately U.S. $1,300). Because Dr. Jahromi already spent five months in prison, he was not made to serve any additional time. Hoping for full exoneration, Dr. Jahromi’s lawyers are appealing his guilty verdict.
Ahlia University in Manama restored Dr. Jahromi to his position as an instructor on January 31, 2012. Two months later, on March 20, 2012, he was fully reinstated and resumed his chairmanship of the Telecommunication Engineering Department.
According to Professor Hamed al-Raweshidy, Dr. Jahromi’s supervisor at the University of Kent:
Masaud [Jahromi] was one of the hardest working, cooperative, and mild-mannered individuals I have ever come across. He was not only my top student, but also a wonderful professional. There is no doubt in my mind that the Bahraini authorities have got this completely wrong.
One of his students described him as “a role model who taught us to respect and be kind to all people and to share knowledge.”
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