Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights
The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) is a human rights organization of Bahrain founded in March 2005 which was active in the Bahraini uprising. The group "organises training workshops, monitors and documents human rights violations and participates in forming a regional network for young human rights activists in eight Arab countries". Mohammed al-Maskati serves as its president.
In June 2005, the BYSHR attempted to register as a non-governmental organization with the Bahraini government, but was refused. When the group nonetheless continued its work, al-Maskati was summoned to court in 2007 on charges of leading an "unregistered organization", which carried a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment. The International Freedom of Expression Exchange issued an appeal for a letter writing campaign on his behalf, describing the arrest as "just the latest example of the government using judicial measures to silence human rights activists". Al-Maskati's trial was later postponed until 2009, In June 2010, al-Maskati was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine of 500 Bahraini dinar. The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights protested the sentence, describing it as "a continuation of the Authority's policy in Bahrain to restrict civil society institutions".
Role in the Bahraini uprising
In February 2011, Bahrain saw a series of large-scale pro-democracy protests as part of the international Arab Spring. The BYSHR were active at Pearl Roundabout in the capital of Manama, which quickly became a center for the protests. Among the protestors' demands were a new constitution and the replacement of Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa—an uncle of Bahrain's king who had held the post since 1971—with an elected official.
On 1 June, following the end of eleven weeks of martial law, the group participated in a series of coordinated protests across Bahrain, particularly in Shiite-majority villages unhappy with Bahrain's Sunni royal family.
- "About Us". Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Bahrain: Trial of human rights defender, Mohamed Abdul Nabi Al-Maskati, adjourned until 15 January 2009". Front Line Defenders. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Katherine Zoepf (1 June 2011). "Bahrain Ends Martial Law but Renews Crackdown on Protests". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Take Action! Send a Message to Bahraini Youth Leader Facing Legal Trouble". International Freedom of Expression Exchange. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Trialing the Human Rights Activist Mohammed Al-Maskati in Response to his Human Rights Work". Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. June 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Ethan Bronner (13 March 2011). "Antigovernment Protesters Seal Off Bahrain’s Financial Center". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Richard Spencer and Alex Spillius (15 February 2011). "Bahrain: protesters threaten Egypt-style permanent demonstration". 14 April 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012.