UPDATE: Following his arrest on 8 August 2019, former MP Osama Al-Tamimi’s health has been deteriorating due to a relapse suffered post-interrogation. Bahraini authorities have denied him the ability to leave the country to receive appropriate medical treatment.
UPDATE: On 8 August 2019, human right activist Ibtisam Al-Saegh reported that on 6 August 2019 Interior Ministry’s forces arrested former MP Osama Al-Tamimi.
Forces from the Interior Ministry raided Al-Tamimi’s house and break into the door during the night.
The former member of the Bahrain Parliament has faced harassment and intimidations since years.
On 15 June 2019 Al-Tamimi demanded protection to the US Embassy in Bahrain. He feared for his life as well as for his family members’ well-being. However, the US Embassy rejected his request.
After his imprisonment, his family expressed serious concern on the situation.
UPDATE : On 3 July 2019, Amnesty International made a Public Statement to condemn the continuing government harassment of former Bahraini member of parliament Osama Muhana al-Tamimi.
On 24 June 2019, Amnesty International called upon the government of Bahrain to cease immediately the ongoing harassment, intimidation and attack against Osama Muhana al-Tamimi, former member of the parliament known for his criticism towards the government.
Osama Muhana Al-Tamimi entered the Council of Representatives of Bahrain in 2011 thanks to a by-election. He remains one of the few Sunni exponent who openly addresses the country’s issues without lacking in critical thinking. Therefore, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research, Lynn Maalouf, said “his harassment comes as no surprise.”
In the last two months, Al-Tamimi has been arbitrarily summoned by government’s officials several times. Furthermore, since 2012, authorities have made up false accusations against him and published them on government-linked press. Meanwhile, authorities refused to carry out investigations regarding serious incidents happened to al-Tamimi’s businesses and personal safety.
Al-Tamimi’s harassment comes after a series of speeches and statements made in the last years. In April 2012, in a speech made in the parliament, al-Tamimi called for the resignation of Prime Minister Khalifah bin Salman Al Khalifah. Moreover, in February 2014, he called upon the release of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab.
In November 2016, al-Tamimi was also sentenced to a month in prison, charged of having “insulted” a police officer. After his release in 2017, authorities forced him to pay a “fee” of over US$66,000 to the al-Hoora police station.
The government’s treatment towards al-Tamimi reflects the ongoing repression of freedom of speech that has been carried out by authorities since the 2011 pro-democracy uprising. Human rights defenders, as well as political opponents and civil society have been constantly persecuted and arrested.
Lynn Maalouf states “Too many Bahraini citizens are paying a hefty price for voicing their opinion in the Kingdom. The authorities’ crackdown will not make the issues they are raising disappear, but only continue to fuel resentment and deepen the divide between citizens and their state.”
The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) supports Amnesty International’s call to cease harassment towards Osama Muhana Al-Tamimi. Furthermore, it condemns the government’s action in the repression of freedom of speech.