…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
Random header image... Refresh for more!

An Evaluation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report

Red Line and Human Rights: an Evaluation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report
by Alaa Shehabi – Jadaliyya – 7 December, 2011

On 23 November 2011, in one of the royal palaces in Bahrain, a lavish ceremony commenced with all the pomp of a great occasion. In the era of the so-called Arab Spring, this should have been an occasion to announce the handover of power to the people, akin to the Hong Kong handover ceremony in 1997. This, however, was a ceremony for the handover of a human rights report written by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), a government-appointed commission with the nominal mandate of investigating the government’s crimes—hardly a thing to celebrate. It must have been awkward because most of the perpetrators accussed of carrying out these crimes were sitting right there.

In Jaw Prison on the other side of the island, my husband Ghazi Farhan, imprisoned there for eight months, told me that prisoners scrambled to find the analogue channel of Bahrain TV to listen to the speech of Professor Cherif Bassiouni, the head of BICI, after guards had switched off the satellite system to stop them. The prisoners managed to watch half the speech before the guards discovered them and switched the TV off. “Bassiouni is talking about what happened to us! We have every right to listen to him,” the prisoners argued. The guards, fearing that a revolt was in the making, ordered them back to their cells. My husband called me that evening. “Did Bassiouni ask for us to be freed?” With a heavy heart, I told him “no.” “What kind of justice is this?” he asked. “These commissioners let us down,” I replied.

Not too far away, the body of Abdulnabi Kadhem lay on the doorstep of a house in the village of Aa’li, next to his car which had been rammed in the side by a security jeep. Such jeeps storm into villages on a daily basis. He was officially the forty-eighth person killed since 14 February when the uprising in Bahrain kicked off.

No one expected the king, the commissioners or any of the attendees to offer a minute’s silence or even to pay a tribute to the dead who were mentioned in the report. To the government, they were criminals and traitors. To the commissioners, they were statistics. To the majority of the Bahrainis who are fighting for change, they are martyrs who paid the price of freedom with their sacred blood. …more