Bahraini blogger stands firm by contentious remark



The compromise is such that the minister drops the case and Al Yousuf removes certain words from his original post. This would be based on a previous case between the information ministry and the blogger who has challenged a gag on articles related to a controversial report circulated in Bahrain last September. The minister last week took the blogger to court for publishing an article that he deemed offensive to his character and reputation.



On December 22, Al Yousuf described the comments of the newly-appointed minister as being of "premier stupidity," clearing the ministry of municipalities and agriculture of any shortcomings in dealing with the heavy rain that flooded several villages. The blogger added that he was pessimistic about the minister’s performance, saying that "he was an insignificant member of the previous Shura Council with not a proposition to his name" and that he was "allegedly implicated in various corrupt schemes."



Bin Rajab, upset by the "offensive" comments, took legal action, but Al Yousuf stood his ground.



"A public figure has taken umbrage with what I have written against him. But rather than contacting me to complain or to issue a public statement refuting what I have written, he went through the legal route and lodged a case against me with the police. This is his full right of course, but it is not going to change the facts about his performance in the previous Shura Council, nor the fact that he has had business cases levied against him at some point of his life," he wrote in his blog.



Al Yousuf who was on Thursday released on 500 dinars (Dh4,871) bail after three hours of questioning during which he vowed to continue his blog which many regard in Bahrain as being one of the best watchdogs. He said he would get professional help to avoid legal traps. "Let me announce that I shall arrange for a workshop to be held and to be run by professional journalists to teach us how to criticise, but not get legally caught for our efforts," he said.



Al Yousuf rejected the option of "going underground." "I have always been a known entity, and stand fully behind the words I publish here and elsewhere. I also believe in working within the system, and I welcome fighting the case in court if it ever gets to that stage, in order to set a legal precedent which could be used as a benchmark for the future, rather than allow myself to be thrown in jail which … does not create the required legal precedent," he said.


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