The ruling regime seems to be pursuing a course that puts Bahrain on the track to Revolution by offering only a pretense of reform in yet another charade of injustice. The regime’s course is suspect and seems a strategy to leave Bahrain as an Saudi Occupied “firewall” in support of the West’s warring ambitions with Iran. In the meantime growing instability in Saudi Arabia echoes Revolution in the streets and villages there. One can only speculate about the motives and design the Western oppressors and their Zionist partners have in the works for Bahrain. After Obama’s bumbling Middle East tour this week, it is increasingly difficult to see anything but a dark prognosis for freedom loving people everywhere. Phlipn out.
Is Bahrain serious about reform?
By Sarah Leah Whitson – CNN – 15 March, 2013
Editor’s note: Sarah Leah Whitson is the director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. The views expressed are the writer’s own.
Bahrain’s Sunni ruling family and their allies in Washington and London say they are pinning their hopes on a new “national dialogue” to break the bitter stalemate with the country’s political opposition among the majority Shia population. But a just settlement will remain elusive unless the government delivers on two outstanding reforms: accountability at the highest levels of the country’s security forces for their abusive response to the 2011 uprisings, and freedom for the country’s unjustly imprisoned opposition and human rights leaders.
This tiny island country of 500,000 citizens, 600,000 expats and 15,000 personnel of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, convulsed by five weeks of mass demonstrations in 2011, has received its fair share of international attention over the past two years. Per capita, the participation of hundreds of thousands of the country’s citizenry may have set some sort of world record for mass protests – what other country can claim to have had most of its population out on the streets protesting at one time?
The uprising ended when the rulers declared a state of emergency and army and security forces, assisted by Saudi troops, attacked demonstrators congregated in the Pearl Roundabout and rounded up activists in midnight raids on their homes. Scores were killed, hundreds injured, and thousands arrested among those who demanded reform and, in some cases, regime change. The government lifted a state of emergency in June 2011, but still bans demonstrations in the capital. Protests in surrounding Shia villages, in some cases violent, continue nightly, as police play cat and mouse with defiant young men throwing stones and Molotovs and bombard neighborhoods with tear gas canisters.
More from GPS: Don’t forget about Bahrain
Despite the ongoing repression, the government seems to think it can persuade Western allies that a real reform process is under way. In late February, my colleagues and I visited Bahrain. At an Interior Ministry meeting attended by – among others – the former Miami police chief John Timoney, who is advising the government, the new police commander, Brig. Tariq Hassan, gave a power point presentation. He highlighted the establishment of an ombudsman office, and enhanced police training (while also touting Bahrain’s support for women’s right to vote and women in Parliament). The interior minister, Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, stressed the kingdom’s general support for peace and security.
But on the results of internal investigations into the policing failures in 2011 – the topic we insisted on pursuing, no doubt to the frustration and annoyance of the ministry representatives – there was little to report. After exhaustive questions and discussion, the minister finally confirmed that out of all the internal investigations they had conducted, not a single official above the rank of platoon commander in the police, and battalion commander in the criminal investigations division, had been found responsible for any breach of conduct or reassigned, demoted, suspended, or terminated under internal guidelines and procedures.
Questions to Attorney General Ali Fadhul Al Buainain and the Special Investigations Unit director, Nawaf Hamza, had no more promising results on high-level prosecutions. Their investigations would conclude by the summer, they said, but they could provide no information on the extent to which they had questioned or would prosecute any high level officials for failures in “command and control.”
The international experts appointed by the king to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry concluded more than a year ago that it would have been impossible for the abuses in 2011 to have happened without the knowledge of senior officials, yet the government maintains that no senior official did anything wrong. And it seems unwilling or unable to recognize that an essential component in restoring trust in the police force is to demonstrate that senior level security officials who failed in their duties are at least removed from their jobs, if not prosecuted.
What’s more, the government seems unwilling to recognize that its national dialogue will hardly lead to a just result so long as the leaders of the country’s opposition and human rights organizations are not at the negotiating table. Instead, they are languishing in prison following coerced confessions and patently unfair trials. “You can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail,” President Barack Obama said in 2011, addressing the situation.
By allowing us to visit the prison and meet and photograph these detainees, the government amply demonstrated that it appears to be detaining these men in humane conditions. It was both a relief and heartbreaking to see Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Abduljalil Al-Singace, and Nabeel Rajab, three human rights activists who have worked with Human Rights Watch for many years – it was they who urged us to stay steadfast in our commitment to peace and reform in Bahrain. But the fact is that they are in prison solely for calling for political change and demonstrating peacefully.
Several of these detainees, including religious clerics, leftist and religious party leaders, and scholars, had a much worse story to tell. They said they had endured gruesome torture, including electric shocks, beatings so brutal their clothes were soaked with blood, and sexual assault. “They made me repeat the chants I said at the demonstration, ‘Down with [King] Hamad,’ and each time I did they struck me so hard I would fall to the floor,” one said. “Then they would lift me up and do it again.”
It was very difficult to tell the detainees that, in fact, there is virtually no international body that can compel the government to release them. It now depends on the king to realize that their ongoing imprisonment will keep the country imprisoned in conflict as well. …source
March 22, 2013 No Comments
January 27, 2013 No Comments
By Editorial Board – 7 august, 2012 – Washington Post
WHEN THE Obama administration resumed military sales to the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain in 2012, it explained the decision as an effort to bolster moderate elements in the monarchy, whose Sunni ruling family has resisted demands for greater democracy from the mostly Shiite population. In particular, the aim was to strengthen Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, who was visiting Washington at the time and who had led an abortive effort to negotiate a settlement with opposition leaders.
Three months later, it’s worth asking whether the concession to a regime that has been a close U.S. ally paid off. Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding “no.” Bahrain remains locked in a standoff between a largely intransigent government and a slowly radicalizing opposition — and the regime has failed to fulfill its repeated pledges to end repression of peaceful dissent and undertake meaningful reforms.
As Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner reported in testimony to Congress’s Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission last week, the Bahraini government has continued to prosecute 20 leading political activists; “despite assurances to the contrary,” it obtained the conviction of nine medical professionals who treated opposition activists during demonstrations last year. The country’s best-known human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, is serving prison time for a tweet that called for the resignation of the hard-line prime minister.
Security forces continue to employ harsh tactics to put down demonstrations in Shiite villages, including what a new report by Physicians for Human Rights calls the “indiscriminate use of tear gas as a weapon.” It said police regularly fire tear gas canisters “directly at civilians or into their cars, houses or other closed spaces” in an effort “not just to disperse crowds but to harm, harass, and intimidate the largely Shia neighborhoods that are home to many protesters.”
Bahrain’s repression doesn’t approach the murderous violence used by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad against its opponents. But many in the Middle East understandably wonder why the United States demands the removal of Mr. Assad, an ally of Iran whose Alawite sect is close to Shiism, while continuing to back a Sunni regime that represses its Shiite opposition. The administration’s answer is that it is not, like Bahrain’s neighbor Saudi Arabia, pursuing a sectarian agenda, but attempting to steer its ally toward peaceful reform. …more
August 8, 2012 No Comments
May 17, 2012 No Comments
al Khalifa regime intensifies brutality across Bahrain against pro-democracy movement as Obama circumvents Congressional restrictions to complete weapons sales to Kingdom of Bahrain
Bahrain crackdown continues
UPI – Isa Ebrahim – 27 January, 2012
Opposition protesters run to cover after being fired upon by police during an opposition march in Riffa, Bahrain, south of the capital Manama on March 11, 2011. Bahraini anti-riot police clashed with opposition protesters on the outskirts of Riffa after pro-government supporters were able to pass through police lines and attack the opposition march. Nearly 800 people were injured according to the health ministry, mainly due to tear-gas inhalation.
MANAMA, Bahrain, Jan. 27 (UPI) — Bahrain has continued to assault anti-government protesters despite pledging last year to honor international norms, witnesses said.
Witnesses told the BBC that security forces were operating against international norms in Bahrain. The broadcaster added that it reviewed photographs of those caught up in street demonstrations and observed signs of abuse on the bodies of some protesters.
Amnesty International said it had evidence to suggest security forces appeared to be using tear gas inappropriately.
“The Bahraini authorities must investigate and account for the reports of more than a dozen deaths following tear gas use,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Amnesty International, said in a statement. “The security forces must be instructed on how to use tear gas in line with international policing standards.”
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in a 513-page report published late last year concluded that state security forces used unnecessary lethal force during a crackdown on Shiite demonstrators in early 2011. The Sunni-led government in Manama said it was considering the guidance spelled out in the BICI reports.
At least 40 people died in the uprising and the commission said at least nine deaths were attributable to the country’s Interior Ministry.
January 28, 2012 Comments Off
Extraordinary number of Mourners at young Ahmed al-Jaber funeral – Obama, Clinton’s unwillingness to stop their brutal and bloody “friend” takes Bahrain to the Brink
October 7, 2011 No Comments
Washington Post – 7-OCt.2011
HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS – A boy holding a Bahraini flag gestures to the camera as he participates in a rally held by the Shi’ite opposition party Al Wefaq in Tubli, south of Manama, September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed (BAHRAIN)
“We thought there were positive signs in Obama’s speech. He encouraged the government of Bahrain to have real dialogue with the opposition,” he said. “But they are not really active, because the American Navy is stationed in Bahrain.”
Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said the administration had been reserved in its criticism since May. “The U.S. government has plenty to say about human rights in Iran, Syria or Libya but rather loses its voice when it comes to Bahrain,” he said.
There are growing worries that Bahrain has become deeply divided along sectarian lines in the aftermath of the uprising. The divisions are driven in part by discontent among the country’s Shiite majority at perceived discrimination by the government, which is led by the Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa royal family.
Alekri, the surgeon, said there were areas of the country he could no longer visit because he feared that Sunni people would attack him. He said he has been described as a killer doctor on state television. His daughter has been bullied in school by her Sunni classmates, he added.
The fear goes both ways.
“Among the Sunni community, there is a fear of the protesters vastly disproportionate to the threat they pose,” said Jane Kinninmont of the London-based Chatham House think tank.
She said a state media campaign portraying Shiite protesters as armed and dangerous had widened the gap between the sects.
The unrest in the kingdom of a million subjects has also stirred existing sectarian tensions in neighboring countries. Bahrain’s Gulf Air has suspended all flights to Iraq, which is led by a majority-Shiite government. Relations have worsened between Iran, where the Shiite theocracy has been vocally supportive of the protest movement, and Saudi Arabia’s Sunni leadership, which sent troops to Bahrain to assist the government in quelling the uprising.
Iraqi Shiite groups, both inside and outside the country, have campaigned on behalf of the Bahraini protesters.
Although the monument at Pearl Square in Bahrain’s capital was destroyed by government forces in March, hundreds of protesters still take to the streets every day.
“Many Shia who were not political before have been alienated as they see nonpolitical, professional Shia people being targeted,” Kinninmont said. “The society is now deeply divided.” …more
October 7, 2011 No Comments
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Bahrain’s special security court on Thursday sentenced a protester to death for killing a policeman, and gave doctors and nurses who treated injured protesters during the country’s uprising earlier this year lengthy prison sentences, a lawyer said.
Attorney Mohsen al-Alawi said the tribunal, set up during Bahrain’s emergency rule, convicted and sentenced 13 medical professionals each to 15 years in prison. In addition, two doctors were sentenced to 10 years each while five other medics got 5-year prison terms.
The harsh sentences in the two separate court cases suggest the Sunni authorities in the Gulf kingdom will not relent in pursing and punishing those they accuse of supporting the Shiite-led opposition and participating in dissent that has roiled the tiny island nation.
Earlier this year, the same special court sentenced two other protesters to death for killing a police officer in a separate incident.
Al-Alawi, who was the defense lawyer for several medics, said the 20 medical professionals, who were charged with various anti-state crimes, and the protester who got the death sentence on Thursday can all appeal their verdicts.
A Bahraini rights group identified the protester as Ali Yousef Abdulwahab al-Taweel. The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights said that another suspect, Ali Attia Mahdi, was convicted on Thursday as al-Taweel’s accomplice and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The tribunal’s military prosecutor, Yousef Rashid Flaifel, said the two men were convicted of premeditated murder in the killing of an officer in the oil hub of Sitra. In comments to the state-run Bahrain News Agency, Flaifel said the men committed a “terror act” by running over the policeman with two cars. He didn’t say when the incident occurred.
[Read more →]
October 5, 2011 No Comments
excerpt - But today, we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. To do so, we must return to the wisdom of those who created this institution. The UN’s Founding Charter calls upon us, “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.” And Article 1 of this General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ Those bedrock beliefs – in the responsibility of states, and the rights of men and women – must be our guide.
In that effort, we have reason to hope. This year has been a time of transformation. More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.
In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability, but more are required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc – the Wifaq – to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people. And we believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart.
…see full text at Voltairnet.org HERE
September 25, 2011 No Comments
President Obama choosing Subservient role to corrupt tyrants, the House of Saud and House of al Khalifa, over High Road of Morality
Long-time U.S. reliance on Saudi oil and servility at risk
by Asad Ismi – Global Research, September 21, 2011
As I reported in the April Monitor, the Sunni fundamentalist Saudi dictatorship felt it was threatened by a spreading revolution in Bahrain, prompting it to send troops into that country on March 15. Two thousand troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) entered Bahrain on that day to put down an uprising by the country’s Shia majority against Sunni royalist dictator King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa. The GCC is comprised of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), and 1,200 of the troops sent into Bahrain were Saudi.
The Shia majority in Bahrain has long complained about being subjected to discrimination by the Sunni ruling élite. Large-scale public protests against the king broke out in February, inspired by the success of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. The Shia opposition wanted the king to give up his powers to an elected legislature.
Bahrain borders the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, which is the kingdom’s oil centre. This province also has a Shia majority, and the Saudi royal family fears that the Shia rebellion in Bahrain will spread and that any concessions the Bahraini monarch makes to his Shias will also be demanded by theirs. However, because the GCC countries are Sunni, the invasion creates the possibility of a spreading sectarian conflict if the biggest Shia power in the Middle East, which is Iran, decides to help the Bahraini opposition which is so far unarmed. Iran condemned the invasion, and the Bahraini Shias have called it “a declaration of war.”
The Saudi invasion of Bahrain was followed by the imposition of martial law and a brutal crackdown on protesters by a combined GCC-Bahraini force, which killed scores of civilians, injured hundreds, and jailed 1,600 people.
“Instead of rights, every family got a political prisoner,” said Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. “After almost three months of military rule, the crisis has deepened because every family suffered when the army was sent in to solve a political problem.”
Hundreds of protesters and professionals such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, and even soccer players have been arrested and tried in a special security court. Official use of torture has become widespread. According to Rajab, up to 98% of the people detained by state security forces were abused. “No one was immune,” said Rajab. “Very rarely will you find someone who was arrested but not abused.”
Particularly reprehensible have been the security forces’ attacks on doctors and nurses for treating protesters injured by the army and security forces. A recent report issued by Human Rights Watch details “attacks on health care providers; denial of medical access to protesters injured by security forces; the siege of hospitals and health centers; and the detention, ill-treatment, torture, and prosecution of medics and patients with protest-related injuries.”
“The attacks on medics and wounded protesters,” says Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, “have been part of an official policy of retribution against Bahrainis who supported pro-democracy protests. Medical personnel who criticized the severe repression were singled out and jailed.”
Twenty-three doctors and 24 nurses who treated protesters were charged with treason. The BBC reported that these medical personnel were tortured into making false confessions, according to their families. On March 16, after the Saudi invasion, security forces occupied Salmaniya, Bahrain’s main public hospital. One ward of the hospital located on the sixth floor was turned into “a makeshift detention facility where security forces subjected patients to incommunicado detention, regular beatings, torture, and other forms of mistreatment,” witnesses informed Human Rights Watch.
The Bahraini government has ended the state of emergency to project an image of normalcy, but, according to Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch, “the situation remains appalling. The repression is there… this is a major crisis. Obviously, large numbers of people were killed during the protests… Not only since [the lifting of emergency rule] have there been protests, violently suppressed… but also the repression by which the government has quelled the protest movement in the last weeks continues. So large numbers of people are under incommunicado detention, at risk of torture. There are reports of torture continuing.”
Behind the Saudi invasion of Bahrain and the repression there, is the United States government, the main international backer of both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. While Washington has led the attack on Libya, claiming it is necessary to stop Gaddafi from killing his people, and is denouncing and sanctioning President Assad of Syria for doing the same, no such censure is being exercised against Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. These two countries – long-time minions of the U.S. — are instead being aided and encouraged to crush their citizens’ democratic protests with impunity. …more
September 22, 2011 No Comments
President Obama you shame your Nation, you shame the vision of Nonviolence of MLK and the great African American leaders of protest unto liberty before you, you stain the soil of Bahrain with blood of innocents, you sir are morally dead and you make Judas proud
By Max Fisher – Sep 21 2011, 2:42 PM ET 1
Why is the U.S. treating this Arab state so differently than the others?
Reuters – President Barack Obama, in his speech today to the United Nations, championed the growing U.S. foreign policy emphasis on supporting pro-democracy movements, name-checking the U.S. support for popular uprisings in Libya, Syria, Côte d’Ivoire, and even Yemen. He offered (somewhat retroactive) support for the successful democratic revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. And he made the usual, if unusually brief, call for Iran to improve its human rights. But Obama’s tone changed when he brought up the tiny, oil-rich Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain, where the U.S.-aligned monarchy has been cracking down violently on peaceful demonstrators, to little public protest from the U.S.
The Democracy ReportThe change in Obama’s language and tone when his speech moved from Iran, Syria, and Yemen to Bahrain was difficult to miss. He did not mention the thousands of Bahrainis “protesting peacefully, standing silently in the streets, dying for the same values that this institution is supposed to stand for,” as he did with Syria. Nor he call for “a peaceful transition of power … and a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible” as he did with Yemen. He did not scold the Bahraini regime for “refus[ing] to recognize the rights of its own people” as did with Iran. Obama declined to declare that “the balance of fear shifted from the ruler to those that he ruled” as he did of Tunisia. He absolutely did not demand “a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible.”
When Obama spoke of Bahrain, his words sounded more like those of so many U.S. presidential foreign policy addresses of before the Arab Spring: we support our ally, call on him to lead reform, but would rather not discuss his autocratic rule or use of violence against protesters.
In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability, but more are required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc — the Wifaq — to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people. And we believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart.
His more muted choice of adjectives, oblique non-reference to the brutal crackdown and entrenching autocracy, even his use of passive voice all echo the older style of U.S. rhetoric on reform in the Middle East. It seems an awful lot like, for example, U.S. policy toward Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from 2000 through early 2011, when the U.S. pressured its close ally to democratize, to little actual consequence for either the U.S.-Egypt relationship or the Egyptian people. But what’s so jarring about Obama’s adherence to this old way of doing things when it comes to Bahrain is that his administration has, over the past nine months of the Arab spring, legitimately changed course. In April, the U.S. shifted support from Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a close and long-held U.S. ally, to the peaceful protesters seeking his ouster. The U.S. doesn’t just support democratic opposition movements challenging American enemies anymore, Obama seemed to be signalling, but those challenging American allies as well.
September 21, 2011 No Comments
President Obama even after your deafening silence on the brutal crushing of the people of Bahrain by your partner al Khalifa, in spite of double standards you maintain that pain the good people of Bahrain, they cry out to you for help and mercy and plead that you stop al Kahlifa’s tyranny
An open letter to President Obama: If there is any country where the USA can install democracy without a single bullet fired, it is Bahrain
Dear Mr. President,
In one of your recent addresses to international audience, you pledged that America’s “commitment—our responsibility—is to stand up for those rights that should be universal to all human beings”. The commitment you made is rooted in the founding principles of your country, echoed in the Declaration of Independence, which states that all men and women around the world are endowed with the right to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These founding principles are undeniable truths that have guided the United States, since its inception, on a path toward justice and universal rights for all people. We call upon you, Mr. President—as the leader of this country and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate—to wholeheartedly pursue these ends in your dealings with the popular uprising for democracy in Bahrain.
Mr. President, It is a known fact that because of its strategic and short-term interests, the United States has often aligned itself with repressive autocrats in the Middle East right from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and from Bahrain to Jordan.
The current uprising in Bahrain presents a test of America’s commitments to the American and universal values of human rights, freedom and democracy.
Therefore we, the undersigned, academics and researchers, teachers and students, lawyers and traders, women and men, young and old, U.S. citizens, Bahraini citizens, call upon you to use all the powers of your office to stand unequivocally behind the Bahraini People’s Movement, withdraw US support from King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah’s security state, and establish 2011 as a watershed in US relations with the peoples of the Middle East.
All we want is freedom, free and fair elections, a representative government, equality of women and men, equality of Muslims and non-Muslims, equality of Shia and Sunni, and a responsible government in Bahrain. These basic rights cannot be achieved without moving to replace the current regime, and the transition process must include real representation from the pro-democracy movement.
While it is not the role of any other country to determine Bahrain’s leaders, the Bahraini people’s right to self-government has been obstructed by a military and intelligence apparatus that is trained and funded by Washington and London, fiercely loyal to the current King, and inimical to popular sovereignty. The current Prime Minister, an uncle of the King, widely known as Manama’s renditions czar, provides a constant reminder of American complicity in the Bahraini repression — as do the helicopters flying over the Pearl Square and the tanks that stood passively while the dictators forces killed peaceful protesters freely.
It is imperative that your administration rescind support from all Bahraini security forces opposing democracy and civilian control.
Compared to the U.S., Bahrain is a tiny nation with a population of 1 million, almost half of them foreign workers. The tiny island is home for 6,000 members of the U.S. Fifth Fleet. Bahrain’s military numbers about 9,000 personnel who remain totally dependent on the U.S. and U.K. for their training and equipment.
If there is any single country on this planet where the U.S. can constructively help the local people in achieving their aim of democracy without a single bullet fired, it is Bahrain.
Accordingly, we kindly ask you to use your strategic and political influence forcing King Hamad Khalifah to resign, the current government be replaced by an interim civilian council representing proportionate number of Shias, Sunnis and Christians who will oversee a free and fair election in the next three months.
We kindly ask that you leverage American power in the United Nations Security Council to demand from Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay to send special envoys to Bahrain on a fact-finding mission to investigate the regime’s human rights abuses particularly against the 80% Shia majority who remain oppressed and discriminated against. Specifically, we call for the UN to inspect the condition of prisoners, investigate the claims of torture or other cruel and unusual treatment, and meet with members of the rights groups and lawyers concerning restrictions on their ability to defend their clients. During the past years the regime has systematically increased its violations of numerous articles within its own constitution that guarantee the right of freedom of speech and assembly.
The demonstrators have called for democratic regime change, not a US-facilitated transition to another despot, nor any intervention by the neighbouring dictator kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We urge you to help ensure that their demands are met, their rights are honored, and the Bahraini kingdom and its security apparatus ceases its attacks on journalists and peaceful protesters.
In the end, we would like to emphasize the importance for America of being seen as an advocate for human rights for all peoples in all parts of the world. Throughout the years, the vast majority of Bahraini people have expressed their utmost respect for Americans. We encourage you to stand on the side of the people in their time of difficulty by focusing on human rights and democracy in our motherland.
With Utmost Respect,
Citizens of Bahrain and the U.S.A.
August 27, 2011 No Comments
Funerals and Marches fill the streets – the dialogue, King Hamad must go – Obama needs to wake the fuck up!
Posted 2h 30m ago
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Riot police in Bahrain fired tear gas at anti-government protesters denouncing reconciliation talks between the Gulf kingdom’s rulers and the Shiite-led opposition on Saturday just hours after the dialogue began.
The renewed unrest — described by witnesses — underlines the deep tensions on the island nation after more than four months of harsh security crackdowns by the Western-allied monarchy.
It also points to the political risks for Bahrain’s biggest Shiite party, Al Wefaq, which decided to join the U.S.-encouraged talks despite widespread anger among the majority Shiites — who claim they suffer systematic discrimination at the hands of the Sunni dynasty ruling Bahrain.
The protesters gathered near a landmark square in Manama, which was the epicenter of the Shiite uprising for greater rights that began in February. The witnesses said several hundred marchers chanted “No dialogue” just hours after a ceremony to open the talks in the strategic nation, which is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of harassment by authorities.
There were no immediate reports of injuries during the demonstrations that started after a funeral for a protester, who died on Thursday in a military hospital from injuries sustained during the unrest in March.
The death of 30-year-old protester, Majid Ahmed Mohammed, brings to 32 the number of those killed since February. Bahrain’s Shiites account for 70 percent of the population, but say they face second-class status such as being effectively frozen out of top political and military posts. …more
July 2, 2011 No Comments