…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
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Bahrain’s history of political injustice

“The ruling elite in Bahrain has always found a way to engineer means of escaping accountability”

Marc Owen Jones: Bahrain’s history of political injustice
1 April, 2013 – You Middle East – Marc Owen Jones

In Bahrain, members of the ruling Al Khalifa family, or those responsible for protecting their interests (i.e. the security forces) have historically been afforded a large degree of impunity. This is despite evidence that points to their participation in gross acts of oppression. In the recent uprising, no member of the state security forces has been found guilty of torture or murder, and no high-level government officials have been questioned for their complicity in the crackdown.

Following the ‘democratic’ reforms of 2001, Royal Decree 56 absolved any of the state security forces from being prosecuted for crimes committed during the brutal crackdown of the 1990s Intifada. Indeed the ruling elite in Bahrain has always found a way to engineer means of escaping accountability. This tradition of impunity is rooted in Bahrain’s history, yet even in excellent academic scholarship there remains the perpetuation of erroneous facts that understate the degree of impunity that the Ruling Family has enjoyed.

This is particularly true with regards to the trial of Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa and his sons Khalid and Salman, who were found guilty of instigating and carrying out two attacks on the village of Sitra in 1923 (Khalid bin Ali was the nephew of the previous ruler, Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa). The attack left several Shia villagers dead, including women and children. The trial of the Khalids, (who are sometimes referred to as the Khawalid), recently featured in a front-page article on the Wall Street Journal:

When Shiites sought greater rights in the early 1920s, Khaled Ben Ali led the crackdown. At British prodding, he was tried for murder and jailed. The trial left wounds that festered for decades.

The writer of the article, Charles Levinson, may have been a little over zealous in his assertion that the jailing of the Khalids left a festering wound that lasted decades. In actual fact, Khalid bin Ali was never jailed. He was fined and his property confiscated. It was his sons Ali and Salman who were exiled to India. However, before they could be deported, Ali and Salman escaped to mainland Arabia. …more

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