Ali Abdulemam

Bahraini blogger and former prisoner of conscience

Ali Abdulemam is a renowned Bahraini blogger and former prisoner of conscience. In 1999, Abdulemam created the pro-democracy news website Bahrain Online, the nation’s first free online forum for political and social debate. He also played a key role in the Arab Spring protests of 2011. Abdulemam was detained numerous times by Bahraini authorities for his work and was imprisoned in 2010 for “spreading false information” and defaming the monarchy. Threatened by a regime manhunt, Abdulemam was forced into hiding on March 15, 2011. In June 2011, the Bahraini government sentenced Abdulemam in absentia to 15 years in prison for “plotting a coup.” On May 10, 2013, it was announced that Abdulemam had escaped to the United Kingdom, where he was granted political asylum. Abdulemam has been profiled in media outlets such as The Atlantic and The Guardian. He was awarded Human Rights Watch’s Hellman/Hammet Award in 2011 and the 2012 Freedom Prize from the Danish think tank CEPOS.

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