Global Freedom of Expression


Sheikh Maytham Al Salman Clarifies Blasphemy Laws in Bahrain

In this video, Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman explains the illegitimacy of charges brought against him by the Bahraini authorities.

Inter-faith leader, human rights advocate and Columbia Global Freedom of Expression expert, Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman faces new charges of defamation of religious symbols. The charges, punishable under Article 309 of the Bahrain Penal Code with a fine and imprisonment stem from a sermon Sheikh Maytham delivered in November 2015.

This is the third time in the past year that Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman has been charged for speech related offenses. In August 2015, he was charged with inciting hatred against the regime and publication of false news due to several statements and tweets that denounced violence and extremism. In January 2016, he was charged with incitement of hatred towards the system of government and expressing views on an ongoing trial with the intent to change public opinion. At the time, a de-facto travel ban was imposed on him after his passport was lost in mysterious circumstances and he has been unable to receive a new one. In February 2016, Columbia Global Freedom of Expression released a legal statement on the illegitimacy of charges brought against Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman in relation to the January 2016 charges.