Saturday, April 07, 2012

Bahrain: UN top official calls for investigation into killing of citizen journalist

UN top official calls for investigation into killing of citizen journalist
UN - 6 April 2012 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with promoting and defending the freedom of the press today called for an investigation into the killing of a citizen journalist in Bahrain during a civilian demonstration.

Ahmed Ismael Hassan AlSamadi, 22, was shot on 31 March while filming the crackdown of security forces on a demonstration in the village of Salmabad, southwest of the capital of Bahrain, Manama.

“The basic human right of freedom of expression and the freedom of journalists and citizen journalists to cover events are essential for any society that wants to uphold the principles of democracy and rule of law,”
said the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova.

“I welcome reports that the authorities' intend to launch an inquiry into this serious event and trust that the culprits will be brought to justice.”

The Interior Ministry confirmed Mr. AlSamadi's death, who regularly filmed and took photographs during demonstrations, a few hours after his arrival to the hospital, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Reporters Without Borders.

Last month, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (
OHCHR), voiced concern over the alleged excessive use of force against protesters, including teargas and rubber bullets, by security forces in the country and called on the Government to investigate the reports.

Since February, there have been renewed clashes in Bahrain between security forces and demonstrators, a year after widespread civil protests first emerged in the country – similar to those seen in the wider Arab Spring movement that led to the toppling of regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen and has led to deadly fighting and humanitarian suffering in Syria.