War Resisters League
Since February 14th, 2011, Bahrain has been witness to a mass uprising. Inspired by the several neighboring uprisings in the Arab world, protesters have been demanding political and economic reform, and often the downfall of the regime. These demands include constitutional reformation, the formation of an elected, representative government, and an end to corruption, which is widespread in the kingdom.
Bahrain maintains a monarchical system ruled by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and and elite political class often closely tied to the al-Khalifa family. The monarchy has a history of silencing the dissident voices of the population through methods of torture, detention, and in the phrasing of a comprehensive Physicians for Human Rights report “weaponizing tear gas.” These actions have led to an increase in global attention, along with increased inquiry into Bahrain’s excessive use of force and human rights violations.
After the protest in the capital city of Manama and across Bahrain, King Hamad declared a State of Emergency for 3 months, effectively removing the protesters from their camp at the centre. The declaration was supported by the foreign military intervention of Saudi troops on March 14th. This crackdown however, did not crush the uprising, but rather decentralized it, breaking it up to myriad village-based movements, such as in Sitra and Durz. Once the State of Emergency was lifted, various political groupings, most prominently the Coalition of February 14th Youth, began to organize weekly protests of tens of thousands of opposition activists. The police response to these peaceful and unarmed protesters has been brutal. (In a campaign of intimidation ran by the police, there have been several house raids in Shi’a neighborhoods, beatings at checkpoints, denial of medical care, as well as detention and torture. Oppostion figures though, cross Bahrain’s geographical and sectarian communities, as the diversity of the movement has consistenly shown.)
A report released by a commission of inquiry established by King Hamad in June 2011 has confirmed the Bahraini government’s various violations of human rights and have silenced government claims that the protests were instigated by Shi’a Iran. Around the time of the report Bahrain sentenced several prominent movement figures to life in prison, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, there have been sporadic movements demanding economic, social, and political rights. Since 1783, Bahrain has been ruled by the Al Khalifas. Bahrain became an independent state apart from the British protectorate in 1971. The first parliamentary election took place in 1973. The constitution and the assembly were dissolved two years later. The year 1992 saw a popular uprising demanding the return of Parliament and constitution. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa muted the uprising in 2001 with reforms that were supported by an overwhelming majority of the Bahraini population. However, the following year, the government issued a new constitution appointing the majority of power to the upper half of Parliament as opposed to the popularly elected lower half. This led to the boycott of the 2002 parliamentary elections by many opposition parties, yet in 2006 Al Wefaq won a majority vote. This created a split in opposition associations, with organizations such as the Haq Movement seeking change outside of that brought about within Parliament. Since then, tensions and repression have increased dramatically, culminating in the ongoing mainly decentralized revolt. The Bahraini revolution continues . . . …source
April 24, 2013 No Comments
No country has abused chemical gases like Bahrain
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – It started after an Irish University established that the gases used by police against Bahraini demonstrators were ten times the acceptable international level of concentration. To mark the second anniversary of the February 14 Bahraini uprising, Prof Damian McCormack, Prof David Grayson and Tara O’Grady call for a ban on CS gas, 2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile.
Also, Avaaz, the online campaign group has launched a petition calling on two companies who had supplied the Alkhalifa with these lethal gases to stop the process.
Experts say that Bahrain is using a poisonous form of tear gas against civilians that Bahrain wouldn’t even be permitted to use in a war against armed soldiers! Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) report that in 100 years of tear gas being used against civilians, no country has ever abused it like Bahrain. Police “routinely violated every UN principle governing police use of force.” There is no excuse for using this brutality which claimed victims from a boy as young as 8 to an elderly man of 88. Activists are taking their campaign to Europe and America in order to achieve the required ban on the use of lethal gases and shotguns. More than 100 people have died as a direct result of the use of those two weapons.
A big controversy is flaring up after a controversial decision to rename a Royal Military Academy (RMA) sports hall. The decision has come under attack from politicians but has been defended by Army officers. Mons Hall, a top quality sports hall at the RMA in Sandhurst and home to the British modern pentathlon team, is said to be named after The Battle of Mons, where thousands of British and German soldiers died in 1914. However, Lieutenant Colonel Roy Parkinson from the RMA said: “Mons Hall was actually named after Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot. Bahrain’s dictator, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa who has been plundering Bahrain’s wealth had given £3 million. “To change the name of something which commemorates a very tragic episode in British military history, simply because they’re getting a sum of money from a rather dubious source, is appalling,” said Labour MP Andy Slaughter.
Meanwhile jailed doctors have called for 17th February to be named “Day to Defend Medical Neutrality”. They issued a statement signed by: Dr Saeed Al Samaheeji, Dr Ali Al Ekri and senior nurse, Ibrahim Al Demstani. The statement said that in proposing this we “remember the violations against the medics when the Revolution was launched on this day in 2011; the banning of the medics from attending the injured that led to cases of death that could have been prevented”. Also 65 prisoners staged a five day hunger strike to mark the second anniversary of the 14th February Revolution.
There is also grave concern for the life of Mahmood Isa, of Nabih Saleh island, who had been shot on 14th February at close range, smashing his skull. He is still in the danger zone. Also Hassan Jassim who was shot on that day, is suffering blood haemorrhage resulting from a direct hit to the head. Many others are suffering away from hospitals which are still under military control.
On Wednesday 21st February, The Independent newspaper published a report about the rifts within the Alkahlifa clique. It said: “In a highly unusual step, members of the Royal Family are now beginning to speak out against their rivals – the first clear admission that the family has indeed become divided. In an anonymous interview with the Wall Street Journal newspaper this week, a “senior royal” hit out at his cousins bemoaning the fact that “surrounding the king are all powerful Khawalids”. It further added: “Khawalid is a term used in Bahrain to describe an ultraconservative faction within the Royal Family who trace their lineage back to Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa, who in the 1920s was the powerful younger brother of the then Emir. He led a brutal crackdown against a Shi’a uprising and was imprisoned by the British. His supporters were known for their intense dislike of the island’s majority Shi’a population and spent much of the late twentieth century outside the corridors of power. But key Khawalid figures have managed to get into senior positions within the Royal Family and in recent years appear to have sidelined figures who are more sympathetic to economic and political reform such as the Crown Prince Salman bin Hamed al-Khalifa. “ …source
February 27, 2013 No Comments
February 21, 2013 No Comments
Bahrain Regime engaged in systematic widespread use of CS Gas in lethal assaults against Children and Elderly
February 14, 2013 No Comments
29 January, 2013 – by Bill Marczak – Bahrain Watch
This type of canister is manufactured by Rheinmetall Denel Munition (Pty) Ltd, or one of its predecessor companies. Rheinmetall Denel is 51%-owned by Germany company Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH, and 49%-owned by South African company Denel (Pty) Ltd. Despite the joint ownership, all of Rheinmetall Denel’s operations seem to be located in South Africa. Rheinmetall Denel was formed in 2008 when Rheinmetall acquired a 51% stake in Denel Munitions, a Denel subsidiary. Before Rheinmetall Denel, Bahrain Watch understands that this type of canister was manufactured by Swartklip Products, part of Denel Munitions. Rheinmetall Denel now operates the Swartklip plant. A division of Rheinmetall is also the manufacturer of the MK-13 flashbangs used by police.
Protesters claim that police fire this type of tear gas canister from their six-shot semiautomatic tear gas launchers (referred to as “C4″ or “Y2 MK1″ weapons by protesters). Visual evidence also appears to support this claim. The weapon appears to be visually identical to the 40mm Multiple Anti Riot (MAR), manufactured by South African-based Milkor. …source
January 29, 2013 No Comments
January 3, 2013 No Comments
January 3, 2013 1 Comment
November 1, 2012 No Comments
Rioting Automobile attacked by Bahrain Security Forces with CS Gas – A little excessive Timoney – you think?
August 30, 2012 No Comments
As alarms raised over lethal misuse of Chemical Gas in Bahrain – regime intensifes abuse by attacking homes in intimidation bid
23 August, 2012 – FARS
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Bahraini security forces have started spraying toxic gasses in areas where members of opposition groups reside and in those areas and districts which witness daily popular protests against the Al-Khalifa regime, reports said.
Several Bahraini news websites reported on Thursday that large groups of al-Khalifa forces attacked a large number of districts in the Bahraini cities and villages to suppress and arrest those who had attended the protest rallies against the ruling system.
They also sprayed toxic gasses at residential districts and people’s houses.
Earlier reports from the Arab country said that as protests continue in Bahrain, the police keep bombarding dissenters with tear gas, which local residents say is now getting both stronger and thicker. It’s not only affecting just protesters, either – tear gas is getting into people’s homes. For many, it’s now becoming part of everyday life.
Bahraini human rights groups have cried out against the widespread use of tear gas, which they say is being spread haphazardly in areas where the authorities believe protesters live, notably lower-income Shiite neighborhoods. Several cases of death by suffocation have been reported, including of people inside their homes.
Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty’s over-40-year rule.
Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar – were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.
So far, tens of protesters have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured.
Police clampdown on protesters continues daily. Authorities have tried to stop organized protests by opposition parties over the past month by refusing to license them and using tear gas on those who turn up.
The opposition coalition wants full powers for the elected parliament and a cabinet fully answerable to parliament. …source
August 23, 2012 No Comments
August 20, 2012 No Comments
August 20, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain: the Tear Gas Regime
By Steve Fake, August 9, 2012
Physicians for Human Rights just released a report on the Bahraini government’s pervasive use of tear gas to repress its restive civilian population. Bahrain has raised the global bar on the usage of tear gas to unprecedented heights. It has become the Tear Gas Regime.
Consider this excerpt from the PHR report:
“PHR investigators visited one home in which residents provided “guest gas masks” to visitors exposed to toxic chemical agents in and around the home. “We’ve been exposed to tear gases almost every day,” said one resident of a Shi’a neighborhood. “We’ve had canisters shot in the house, on the doorstep, and on the roof. We’ve had so many attacks, I can’t count the number of times. You don’t need to go outside to smell the ‘tear gas.’”
The report continues:
“Preliminary analysis of data suggests that the majority of Shi’a neighborhoods (comprising 80% of all neighborhoods in Bahrain) have been exposed to toxic chemical agent attacks at least once per week since February 2011.”
That is a remarkable record of sustained gassing. What does this mean for the neighborhoods and villages affected? As PHR details:
“Symptoms of CS [the most commonly used chemical agent in contemporary ‘tear gas’ worldwide] exposure include severe tearing, burning in the nose and throat, eye spasms, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing among other signs of oral and respiratory distress.”
Imagine encountering that on a daily or weekly basis as many Shia neighborhoods in Bahrain now are.
There is plenty of reason to question the legitimacy of tear gas usage in virtually any context. PHR medical investigators noted in a report published the AMA’s journal in 1989 that:
“[T]he evidence already assembled regarding the pattern of use of tear gas, as well as its toxicology, raises the question of whether its further use can be condoned under any circumstances… [T]here is an important role for the independent [health] professional: to study, document, analyze, and report on such hazards and to advise government on what does and does not carry an acceptable risk. If a weapon is found to present too serious a risk, it is then the responsibility of those in charge of public safety to decide on alternatives.”
Note the ‘pattern of use’ analysis from even the late ‘80s. When is ‘tear gas’ used in an appropriate and proportionate manner? Can a protestor or bystander among us think of an instance? International law permits its use under the category of ‘riot control’. Thus, it is properly deployed to disperse ‘riots’, not nonviolent gatherings, and not some scattered projectile throwing and minor property destruction.
The very label ‘tear gas’ is a euphemism which obscures that its use on humans: “poses serious health risks and even causes death.” The proper term for ‘tear gas’ is ‘toxic chemical agent’ as PHR employs. As PHR notes, ““Tear gas,” implying that these chemical agents merely cause tearing, is a misnomer.“
Perhaps the roots of the crowd control method should give us pause. The origin of tear gas derives from chemical weapons that became so infamous in WW1.
Lest anyone continue to regard ‘tear gas’ as a mere inconvenience, it has also been implicated as a carcinogen, and may even damage DNA, thus impacting one’s future children and family lineage.
August 9, 2012 No Comments
3 August, 2012 – RT
Published: 03 August, 2012, 14:58
Bahraini policemen arrest protestors during an anti-government demonstration in the village of Bani Jamrah, West of Manama, on August 2, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mohammed Al-Shaikh)
Bahraini policemen arrest protestors during an anti-government demonstration in the village of Bani Jamrah, West of Manama, on August 2, 2012 (AFP Photo / Mohammed Al-Shaikh)
TAGS: Arms, Conflict, Middle East, Protest, Politics, Human rights, Opposition, Police
Bahraini riot police have fired tear gas and stun grenades at hundreds of demonstrators attempting to block a highway. Frequent antigovernment protests have wracked the country since February 2011.
Protesters and police clashed in several Shiite villages late Thursday and early Friday, witnesses told AFP. The recent protests are a move by Bahrain’s opposition to spark further street demonstrations in the country.
The ongoing uprising by the country’s Shiite majority, which claims systematic discrimination on the part of Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy, has weakened after multiple mass arrests. At least 50 people have been killed and many more detained since protests began 18 months ago.
Advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights released a new report this month titled ‘Weaponizing Tear Gas,’ which accused Bahraini authorities of badly injuring and even killing protesters with tear gas by flooding enclosed spaces like cars and houses with the toxic chemicals.
The report stated that government officials misused tear gas against Shiite Muslim civilians, and that the attacks caused severe suffering amounting to torture. The report concluded that Bahraini authorities had “routinely violated every UN principle governing police use of force.”
The EU and US have made few statements and taken no direct action against the Bahraini government’s crackdown on the uprisings.
Richard Sollom, Deputy Director of Physicians for Human Rights and author of the report, noted that the report would likely not be well-received by the Obama administration, which has refrained from criticizing the Bahraini government, he said in an interview with New York Times.
Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which patrols the Persian Gulf and is a strategic check against Iran.
The Bahraini government did not respond to the group’s request for an account of the exact types of tear gas used by the police, Sollom said. It also refused to reveal where it is obtaining the tear gas, although canisters recovered on the street by activists suggest that they were manufactured in the US, France and Brazil. …more
August 3, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain Regime Uses Chemical Gas against Villagers as they Sleep – President Obama is “okay” with that…
July 24, 2012 No Comments
PHR concerned about possible increase in miscarriages due to prolonged tear gas exposure
PHR – Cambridge, Mass. – 19 April, 2012
Upon returning from an investigation in Bahrain, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today criticized the Government’s indiscriminate and systematic use of tear gas against civilian protesters and densely populated Shia neighborhoods. PHR calls for the immediate suspension of the use of this toxic gas because of its suspected severe health impact on the population.
“Despite promises of reform since our investigation to the Kingdom last year, the Government’s excessive use of force has only increased. Security forces now strategically use tear gas –its innocuous-sounding name belies its deadliness – as a potentially lethal weapon against men, women, children, and the elderly alike,” said Richard Sollom, Deputy Director of PHR. “More troubling is the Government’s pattern of attack. Not only do security forces target street protesters, they go out of their way to shoot or throw tear gas into civilian homes. We may be beginning to see serious longer-term health consequences among people routinely exposed to high doses of this toxic gas. Based on our findings, PHR is concerned about possible increased rates of miscarriage and birth defects in Bahrain.”
According to recent reports, the Government of Bahrain has arrested about 60 leading democracy activists in an attempt to contain anti-government protests ahead of this weekend’s Formula One Grand Prix race.
“When all eyes turn to Bahrain this weekend to watch the Formula One race, we cannot forget the protesters who are being constantly attacked by their own government,” said Dr. Holly Atkinson, PHR’s Immediate Past President and co-investigator. “Last week, I saw young children regularly exposed to tear gas and spoke with women who had suffered miscarriages, which might be due to prolonged tear gas exposure. Even worse, many of these vulnerable people are afraid to go to a hospital for care.”
PHR investigators found continued militarization of Bahrain’s healthcare system, including systematic interrogation of suspected protesters arriving at Salmaniya Hospital. In April 2011, PHR released the report Do No Harm, [pdf] which detailed Bahrain’s attacks on physicians, medical staff, and patients.
“By militarizing the country’s medical system, the Government of Bahrain has succeeded in intimidating and subduing a vulnerable population—the sick and wounded. Many patients are afraid to seek care and instead are utilizing private hospitals or an ad hoc community network of care provided by medics and civilians,” said Dr. Atkinson.
Patients and medical staff alike are protected under the principles of medical neutrality, and PHR calls on the Government of Bahrain to respect these principles and cease intimidation of the medical community and those who seek care. …more
April 20, 2012 No Comments
11 April, 2012 – Shia Post
Pro-government thugs in Bahrain have attacked several villages near the capital, Manama, and Bahraini has died due to asphyxia after inhaling poisonous tear gas fired by Saudi-backed regime forces as Manama’s brutal crackdown on protests continue.
The victim, identified as Abdul Rasoul Hassan Ismail, died after inhaling toxic gas fired on his house in the village of Karbabad last week.
Several Bahraini civilians, mostly senior citizens and kids, have died due to the misuse of tear gas against protesters by regime forces.
Meanwhile, Bahraini authorities continue to defy national and international calls to release prominent rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been on hunger strike for over two months and is feared to be on the verge of death.
Witnesses said on Wednesday that hundreds of regime thugs wielding knives and sticks attacked a number of Shia villages overnight, beating residents and damaging their properties.
Some reports suggest that the attackers were responding to messages posted online to avenge a bomb attack that injured seven policemen in the area two days earlier.
Activists, however, say the bombing was orchestrated by the regime itself to justify its brutality against protest areas.
Bahrain’s largest opposition group al-Wefaq says security forces did nothing to stop the attackers, who were in civilian clothes.
“The security forces did not carry out their duty, they did not disperse the (assailants) or prevent them from attacking citizens,” al-Wefaq statement said, adding that authorities must “deal with these militias.”
The latest development comes amid escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf country over the deteriorating health of jailed prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is on hunger strike to protest against the life sentence handed to him and Manama’s ongoing crackdown on protests.
Bahrainis have held several demonstrations in support of Khawaja after he started his strike in February, urging the government to release him.
Amnesty International has also called for the ‘immediate and unconditional release’ of al-Khawaja, considering him a ‘prisoner of conscience, detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression’. …source
April 11, 2012 No Comments
Bahrain Freedom Movement – 8 April, 2012
On Friday 6th April Khadija Ali Abbas who was in her forties, was martyred as a result of inhaling excessive chemical gases fired on her home on 25th December. She was taken to hospital where her condition continued to deteriorate over the past three months. Khadija was of good health and never suffered serious illnesses before.
The Alkhalifa junta is now targeting the population with these chemical gases to ensure their gradual extermination. The number of Bahrainis killed by those lethal gases has risen to around 35.
Meanwhile the body of Martyr Ahmad Ismael who was killed last week with live ammunition has not yet been handed to his family. The Alkhalifa junta forged his death certificate to indicate that his death was a result of misadventure or as a result of unwarranted act by unknown people. The family refused to receive his body until the Death Certificate said the death was due to firing by members of the security forces. The regime is thus directly implicated in the killing of Ahmad Ismael whose body still remains in the hands of the regime. This is a replication of the case of Martyr Fadhel Al Ubaidi who was killed in March with live bullets from the security forces. The Alkhalifa dictatorship wanted to change the Death Certificate by the family refused to take the body. The same story happened with Martyr Yousif Al Mawali who was killed in January but his funeral was not held until 21st February because of the attempts by the authorities to falsify the official document to shift the blame away from the regime.
At another level, the health of the international human rights activist remains in the balance; He is likely to died any moment as his body becomes weaker by the day. He has been on hunger strike for the past two months and has refused to take in any solid food. His condition has deteriorated rapidly in the past few days and has been transferred to the military hospital to force feed him. His condition has become an international issue with hundreds of human rights bodies condemning the Alkhalifa gang for mistreating and killing Bahrainis. Mr Khawaja started his hunger strike on 8thFebruary in protest at his continuing detention even after the BICI report that called for the release of the leading figures including himself. Mr Khwaja wanted to bring to the attention of the world the unsuitability of this gang to rule a modern and educated society and expose the complicity of some Western governments in the mistreatment of Bahrainis. …more
April 8, 2012 No Comments
April 3, 2012 No Comments
MOI Police cause serious injury with “shoot to kill” tactic deployed using Chemcial Gas Canisters in “direct hits” on victims
March 31, 2012 No Comments
March 29, 2012 No Comments
The Gassing Must Stop! BYSHR launches Brilliant Campaign to Stop use of Chemical Gas as Lethal weapon in Bahrain
March 27th, 2012 – Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights
The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) today launched an international campaign about what it is used in Bahrain to suppress the demonstrators, especially the “Tear Gas”
“We believe that the “Tear Gas” turned into a lethal weapon rather than a weapon to disperse demonstrators” Mohammed AL-Maskati, president of the BYSHR, said.
The BYSHR calls for an immediate and independent investigation for allegations of deaths and damage caused by the use of tear gas.
See full campaign work HERE
March 27, 2012 No Comments