|Mohammed Issa al-Tajer|
Mohammed al-Tajer in September 2012
|Occupation||human rights lawyer|
|Known for||2011 arrest|
In early 2011, following the self-immolation of young Tunisian merchant Mohamed Bouazizi, a series of pro-democratic uprisings swept the Middle East, later to be known as the "Arab Spring". Bahraini activists joined the movement with a series of protests beginning on 14 February, which escalated into the Bahraini uprising. In March, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa declared martial law and a three-month state of emergency.
Following the arrests of some protesters, al-Tajer coordinated a team of 25 defense lawyers to help those activists in incommunicado detention. Al-Tajer's wife Huda al-Juffairi, a medical doctor, was also active in providing medical aid to injured protesters.
Al-Tajer was arrested without a warrant on 16 April 2011 at his home in Manama by more than 20 masked security officers, in front of his wife and children. The officers also confiscated laptops, mobile phones, and documents, and demanded the keys to al-Tajer's law office, forcing him to turn them over. His bank account was also frozen. On June 12, 2011, he was brought before a military tribunal; his attorneys were given no notice and were therefore not present. He was charged with inciting hatred for the regime, engaging in illegal protests, and inciting people to harm police, and pleaded not guilty.
On 7 August 2011, al-Tajer was released from prison, though the charges against him appeared not to have been dropped. As one of the conditions of his release, he signed papers agreeing that he would not participate in "any activity against the country". He stated that he had been abused while in captivity by being beaten and deprived of sleep.
Al-Tajer's arrest led to international outcry, with statements of protest from Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights, Front Line Defenders, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, and the New York City Bar Association. Amnesty International also called for the dismissal of charges against him, designating him a prisoner of conscience during his detention.
- "Arrest of Mr. Mohamed Issa Al Tajer and continued arbitrary detention of Mr. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja - BHR 003 / 0411 / OBS 065". FIDH. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Press release (6 February 2011). "In Fear of Transmitting the Tunisian and Egyptian Demonstrations to Bahrain: Blocking a Facebook Group That Calls People To Go Down the Streets and Demonstrate Against the Authority's Policy". Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. Archived from the original on 9 February 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
- Staff writer (15 March 2011). "Bahrain King Declares State of Emergency after Protests". BBC News. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- "Bahrain: Arrest and detention of human rights lawyer Mr Mohammed Al-Tajir". Front Line. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- "Lawyer released in Bahrain" (PDF). Amnesty International. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- "City Bar Calls on Bahraini Government to Respect Fundamental Rights and the Role of Lawyers; Cites Case of Detained Defense Lawyer Mohammed al-Tajer". 44th Street Blog. New York City Bar Association. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- "Bahrain: Defense Lawyer Detained After Night Raid". Human Rights Watch. 16 April 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- "The BHRC letter of concern to the Bahraini authorities regarding the case of Mohammed Al-Tajer". Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.