Bahrain Human Rights Monitor Condemns
Attack against Journalist Mohanad Abu Zaytoun

On 26 August 2010, the Bahrain Human Rights Monitor (BHRM) issued a public statement condemning the violent assault against Mr. Mohannad Abu Zaytoun, chief editor of Al Watan newspaper that took place on 25 August 2010 in the capital Manama. It is believed that two masked men violently assaulted and wounded Abu Zaytoun in the shoulder with a sharp object, and attempted to burn his car by throwing a petrol bomb (Molotov) on it. Following the assault, Abu Zaytoun was taken to the hospital for treatment.

In solidarity with Abu Zaytoun, the BHRM announced its full support to him stressing his right to physical safety and security. The BHRM confirmed the need for concert efforts to protect press freedoms and journalists from all attacks aiming at the freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by the reform project as well as the Charter of National Action and the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Furthermore, BHRM called for serious work and collaboration with the Bahraini press to strengthen the state of the rule of law and protect freedom of opinion and expression cautioning at the same time from the violence and attacks on civilians especially opinion writers, who represent the first line of defense of public freedoms.

It is widely believed that this attack on the chief editor of Al Watan newspaper, which is the first of its kind, is attributable to the fact that Al Watan newspaper was the toughest among the press in the face of currents of riots and violence. The BHRM pointed to the sequence and acceleration of the recent violence after the Government had announced the arrest of dozens of people described by the Government as instigators and participants in riots and violence that continued for a long time.

The BHRM called upon everyone to resort to the voice of reason, sound arguments and logic far from the methods and means of violence that undermine human rights in Bahrain, warning of the danger of widening the circle of violence. It also called for the adoption of a national strategy to combat violence pointing out the need to by-pass persons who intend to disrupt the legislative elections to be held on 23 October, and not allow them to undermine this important national right because it is one of the significant political rights guaranteed by international conventions, the Constitution and national law, and because elections are the best way for the community development and stability.