Saudi Arabia: Two Shiite bloggers released

Two Shiite bloggers who were arrested for their coverage of peaceful demonstrations in Shia-majority area of Qatif have been released by Saudi security authorities. The two young men, Mustafa Badr Al-Mubarak and Sayyid Hussein Kadham Al-Hashem, were arrested on 27 April 2011 when security forces broke into their homes and confiscated their laptops. Their blogs contained extensive coverage of their involvement in human rights activism and several peaceful demonstrations. A new law passed in January 2011 requires anyone wishing to post material online to obtain a press license from Saudi authorities.

Bahrain: Four protestors sentenced to death

Yesterday (27 April) a Bahraini military court has sentenced four protestors to death and a further three to life in prison. The seven people were convicted of killing two policemen during protests in the country last month. While the foreign press was barred from entering the courtroom, selected journalists from the state-run media were allowed to attend. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights condemned the verdict and called on the authorities to reverse their decision.