DUBAI, March 23 Bahraini authorities arrested a
former photographer for Agence France-Presse on unspecified
charges on his return from a holiday abroad, the French news
Mohammed Al-Shaikh, a prize-winning local photojournalist
who worked for AFP in Bahrain for several years, was detained at
Manama airport late on Tuesday, AFP and the UK-based Bahrain
Press Association, which seeks to defend journalists in the Gulf
Arab state, said late Wednesday.
AFP management expressed its "most serious concern" for
the journalist's well-being and called on Bahraini authorities
to explain as soon as possible why he had been detained, the
The authorities did not immediately respond to a Reuters
request for comment.
Al-Shaikh won the 2014 Bayeux-Calvados prize for his
coverage of an uprising in the Gulf island monarchy in 2011
which was put down by the authorities with help from several
other Gulf Arab states.
AFP said Al-Shaikh's accreditation expired in August last
year and authorities did not renew it, putting an end to his
Bahrain coverage after more than four years with the agency.
Human rights groups say Bahrain, a strategic island that is
home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, has carried out a wide
crackdown on dissent since the uprising led by the country's
majority Shi'ites to demand a greater role in government.
Bahrain says its actions are directed against people who
foment violence and sectarian tensions in the kingdom, denying
charges by activists that it is targeting journalists and
(Reporting by William Maclean; Editing by Michael Perry)