Bahrain: Verdict against Human Rights Defender (HRD) Sayed Yusuf Almuhafdha

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses deep concern over the recent verdict against human rights defender Sayed Yusuf Almuhafdha, who discovered that he was sentenced to six months in absentia in 2019 for his Twitter posts addressing allegations of torture. Neither Mr. Almuhafdha nor his legal counsel were informed of this ruling, highlighting the lack of due process and transparency in the trial proceedings.

The verdict reflects a pattern of cross-border repression and reprisals against activists, contravening international standards of fair trial procedures. According to Bahraini regulation law, a court can only issue a ruling in absentia following proper notification, a requirement that was overlooked in this case.

The irregularities observed in both the ruling and the trial proceedings underscore the urgent need for accountability and adherence to international legal norms.  Almuhafdha faced renewed threats and defamation from the Ministry of Interior, which accused him of managing Twitter accounts allegedly promoting sedition and disrupting civil peace, social cohesion, and stability. Despite the charges remaining consistent, Almuhafdha continued to be targeted by official authorities, reflecting ongoing efforts to suppress his activism and dissenting voice.” [1] Almuhafdha endured multiple arrests in Bahrain from 2012 to 2013 on charges related to freedom of expression and political aspirations. Faced with relentless persecution, he sought refuge in Germany in 2014, where he has resided since. Despite his exile, Bahraini authorities continue to target critics and human rights defenders living abroad. [2]

Human Rights Watch has recently launched a report highlighting the pervasive issue of transnational repression, where governments target dissenters beyond their borders, including Bahrain, posing threats to human rights defenders, journalists, and political opponents. These actions, including killings, abductions, and misuse of Interpol, extend repercussions to the families of those targeted, amplifying the chilling effect on freedom of expression and association. The report emphasizes the need for global action to address transnational repression, urging governments to uphold international human rights standards and protect individuals at risk both domestically and abroad. [3]

The Bahrain Center For Human Rights called on Bahrain to drope the charges against HRD Sayed Yusuf Almuahfdha and stop the targeting of HRDs in exil and to stop the harrsement of HRDs families when they returned to Bahrain .  We call on the authorities to ensure fair and transparent legal processes for all individuals, including human rights defenders, and to respect their right to freedom of expression without fear of reprisal or censorship. The Bahrain Center For Human Rights remains committed to advocating for justice, accountability, and the protection of human rights defenders worldwide

[1] Bahrain: Threats and defamation against Sayed Yousif Almuhadafdha and Hussein al-Satri (


[2] Bahrain: Activist charged with ‘spreading false news’: Sayed Yousif Almuhafdah – Amnesty International. (2021, June 2). Amnesty International.


[3] Sparks, L. (2024, February 26). “We Will Find You.” Human Rights Watch.