…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
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King Hamad works image with Human Rights complaince demands for the West while siliencing the press at home

A year of repression: Bahrain continues crackdown on press
By Khalid Ibrahim – Committee to Protect Journalists – 13 February, 2012

In the year since peaceful protests began in Bahrain on February 14, 2011, the government has targeted the press corps with assault, detention, harassment, and torture to obstruct their coverage. My organization, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, has documented a systematic campaign by authorities to silence coverage of our country’s unrest. Here are just some of the many attacks on the press:

Bahraini newspapers are either guided or owned by the state except for Al-Wasat, whose staff members have come under severe attack because of the paper’s independence. Karim Fakhrawi, a founder of Al-Wasat, paid the ultimate price. He died in police custody in April 2011, just three days after imprisoned blogger Zakariya al-Ashiri also died in custody. Authorities have barred independent investigations into the deaths despite the fact that both journalists were healthy before being imprisoned just days earlier.

On November 8, a court in Manama found four Al-Wasat journalists guilty of publishing false news in March 2011. The journalists–Editor-in-Chief Mansoor al-Jamri, Managing Editor Walid Noueihed, Local News Director Aqeel Mirza, and Senior Editor Ali al-Sherify–were fined 1,000 dinars (US$2,650) each. Al-Jamri’s wife, journalist Reem Khalifa, has been targeted as well. On July 14, pro-government supporters assaulted Khalifa in a Manama hotel. I was there, and I have testified about the attack against her and how she faced her assailants with courage. But the politicized judiciary ignored her complaint and instead heard a complaint brought against her by government supporters who lodged allegations of defamation and assault. Authorities continue to pursue these false charges against Khalifa, who was the victim of the assault.

Police officers, by law, have a duty to protect citizens, but journalist Mazen Mahdi’s rights have repeatedly been violated. Security forces have beaten, humiliated, handcuffed, and blindfolded Mahdi, a contributor to Deutsche Presse Agentur, because of his coverage of demonstrations. These attacks were carried out in police stations and in the presence of other officers. …more

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