Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was released on bail on June 22 after being held since April 3, but is on probation and not allowed to speak publicly. Police released Weiwei, who is suffering from a chronic disease, after he confessed to tax evasion. It is widely believed that Weiwei’s outspoken criticism of Chinese leadership and political views were the real reason behind his arrest, not the “economic crimes” with which he was charged.
Protests erupted on June 22, 2011 in Bahrain after eight activists were sentenced to life in prison. Security forces fired tear gas at protesters marching in the capital of Manama. Among those sentenced to life in prison were political figures Hassan Mushaima, blogger Abdul-Jalil al-Singace and activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. Fourteen others are in custody, and thirteen sentenced to long-term jail sentences for attempting to “overthrow” the monarchy and “links to terrorist organizations abroad.”
Lebanese authorities banned the film "Green Days" directed by Hana Makhmalbaf, from being shown at the Forbidden Film Festival in Beirut, after Lebanese intelligence agencies and an Iranian ambassador pressured film festival organizers. The film, documenting the protests following the 2009 Iran presidential election, was banned in Iran and supposed to be shown at the Forbidden Film Festival, which is a part of the Beirut International Film Festival.
On June 18, reporter Waqar Kiani was beaten in Islamabad, Pakistan after publishing a piece in The Guardian about the abduction and torture of intelligence agents. Men dressed in police garb ordered Kiani out of his car and then beat him.