asked Her Majesty's Government:
What information they have received about the charges made against the chairman of the banned Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Mr Hassan Mushaima, leader of Haq Movement of Liberties and Democracy, in Bahrain; and about the right of a person whose offence consists of distributing literature criticising the Government to challenge his prosecution as a violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [HL2290]
Mohammed Saeed Al Sahlawi and Hussain Al Habashi were convicted in January 2007 on the grounds of possessing leaflets calling on people not to vote in the November 2006 Bahraini elections. They were sentenced to custodial sentences of one year and of six months respectively. On 25 February 2007, the two men were released, following a royal pardon by the king.
The circumstances in which a prosecution can be challenged within a country depend on the laws of that country. Individuals claiming that a state has breached their rights under the covenant may submit written complaints to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, having first exhausted domestic remedies, if the state in question has signed up to this complaints mechanism. Bahrain has not done so.