Update: Bahrain Keeps Ridiculous Charges Against 11-Year-Old Boy

Ali Hassan Bahrain

Ali Hassan has been spared a prison sentence for now but will be subject to government monitoring for a year. (AFP/GettyImages)

Despite an outpouring of global concern, news reports indicate that the Government of Bahrain has still not dropped its charges against 11 year old Ali Hassan.

As I wrote earlier this week, Bahraini police arrested the young boy in mid-May on a street that is both near his home and the site of a protest.  The police denied him access to a lawyer for 23 days of his nearly one month of detention.

Amnesty International is confirming the details of yesterday’s court decision regarding the young boy’s sentence.  According to news reports, the Government of Bahrain has allowed Ali to live at home, but is requiring him to be subjected to government monitoring for a year. The reports also indicate that the original charge of “illegal gathering” and disturbing “public security” has still not been dropped.

On the one hand, the young boy appears to have been spared the worse case scenario of several years in jail.  This demonstrates the power of the global human rights spotlight, in which worldwide concern for Ali put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to keep him out of prison.  But at the same time, Ali appears to still be facing criminal charges.


Will Bahrain Convict an 11-year-old “Protester”?

Ali Hassan Bahrain

Ali Hassan could face jail time for allegedly "participating in an illegal gathering."(Photo Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/GettyImages)

This Thursday, an 11-year-old boy will find out if the Government of Bahrain truly considers him a security threat.

Young Ali Hassan was arrested by Bahraini police on May 13th on a street near both his home and the site of a protest. He was detained for 23 days before being allowed to see a lawyer, and he spent nearly a month in jail before being released.

He has been charged with “participating with others in an illegal gathering of more than five people, in order to disturb public security by way of violence.” The Guardian reports that if found guilty, Ali could be sentenced to up to three years in prison (take action here).

The case has drawn international media attention, with articles in CNN, the Associated Press, Time, RealClearPolitics, BBCAFP, The Independent, The Telegraph, and others.  Once again, the Government of Bahrain is in the spotlight for violating human rights.