Bahrain: Activits Ebrahim Sharif arrested over social media posts

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses great concern over the arrest and detention of the leading opposition activist Ebrahim Sharif following his social media posts criticizing Bahrain’s ownership of McLaren.

Ebrahim Sharif was arrested on 25 March 2024over social medial posts where he was critical of Bahrain’s full ownership of the McLaren Group. On 22 March 2024, Bahrain’s Sovereign Wealth Fund took full ownership of McLaren becoming the “sole shareholder in McLaren Group after a recapitalisation of one of Britain’s most famous automotive names. In the morning of 22 March 2024, Mr Sharif attended a police interview following a summon and was subsequently referred to the public prosecution which ordered 7 day detention pending investigation over social media posts that allegedly incite hatred against the regime, according to his lawyer and family.

If officially charged, he could face imprisonment under Article 165 of the Bahrain Penal Code which states that “A prison sentence shall be passed against any person who expressly incites others to develop hatred or hostility towards the system of government.” His wife, Farida Ghulam, confirmed his arrest and reasons for detention over a post on X. She wrote: “The charges brought against Bushrif [Ebrahim Sharif] by the Public Prosecution focused on his recent tweets about McLaren and the budgets that are pumped into it without accountability in exchange for balancing housing projects and the needs of citizens, as well as the tweet about the fire in the Sitra house, which was crowded with 17 members of 4 Bahraini families. Freedom for Sharif #Bahrain.”

The BCHR calls on the government of Bahrain to immediately release Ebrahim Sharif and on the McLaren Group to speak out about his arrest which clearly violates the right to freedom of expression.