"A violation of freedom of expression" - that's what Human Rights Watch has called the crackdown by three Gulf countries against people who criticise them on social media.

It is the rulers who decide who is your friend and who is your foe. The Qataris were our brothers until our rulers decided they were no longer our brothers. We are treated as non-entities. We are pawns used according to the taste or whim of the ruler. It is a very, very sad situation.

Saeed al-Shehabi, Bahraini activist and leader of the Bahrain Free Movement

Bahrain has jailed one of its citizens for comments made on social media after it passed a controversial law criminalising sympathy with Qatar, while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have threatened similar punishments as the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf worsens.

Together with Egypt, the four countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 and imposed a land, sea and air blockade.

Qatar's National Human Rights Committee says since then, more than 13,000 citizens from the three Gulf countries living in Qatar have been affected, with the rights group receiving 155 complaints from mixed families separated by the travel ban.

The committee also says it's received reports of at least 764 human rights violations.

So what's the human cost of the blockade against Qatar? And what will be the long-term effect?

Presenter: Jane Dutton


Saeed al-Shehabi - Bahraini activist and leader of the Bahrain Free Movement

Khalil Jahshan - executive director of the Arab Center of Washington

Saad Djebbar - international lawyer

Source: Al Jazeera News