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Saudi and Alkhalifa rulers increase military spending to stop change

In its annual report the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has reported an increase in the military expenditure by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The report says: Military spending in the Middle East increased by 4.0 per cent in 2013, reaching an estimated $150 billion. Saudi Arabia’s spending increased by 14 per cent, to reach $67 billion, possibly due to tensions with Iran but also the desire to maintain strong and loyal security forces to insure against potential ‘Arab Spring’ type protests. AS for Bahrain’s military expenditure the report says: “Maintaining regime survival in the face of internal opposition is also the likely motive for Bahrain’s 26 per cent increase.”

Bahrain’s dictator has meanwhile, sought to recruit more mercenaries to crush Bahrain’s native population seeking political and economic rights. Earlier this week Hamad bin Isa Alkhalifa visited Kazakhstan and held meetings with President Nazarbayev. Speculations have mushroomed about the aims of the visit, but indications point to the desire by Alkhalifa dictator to recruit more mercenaries from that country for use against the natives. Two weeks ago Bahrain’s dictator visited Pakistan to recruit more mercenaries. In a grilling questioning to Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Naela Chohan, Additional Foreign Secretary (Middle East & Africa) admitted that currently 10,000 Pakistanis were serving in Bahrain defence services.  About the visit of the King of Bahrain to JSHQ, she said:. "The visit was not meant for anything but due to the fact that we've 10,000 Pakistanis in their defence forces," she added. Commenting on the issue, chairman of the c ommittee Haji Adeel stated that they were not only serving in the defence force of Bahrain but also enjoying their nationality.

On Tuesday 15th April, the Alkhalifa junta told a senior religious figure to leave the country within 48 hours. Ayatullah Sheikh Hussain Najati, 60, had his house and office raided by members of Alkhalifa Death Squads in clear provocation. His Bahraini nationality had been revoked with thirty other Bahrianis in November 2012 for opposing the hereditary dictatorship. There has been an outcry amongst the natives who see these acts as evidence of the regime’s enmity to the natives and determination to change the demographic composition of the country. Last year the senior Ayatullah, who is a representative of Grand Ayatullah Sayed Ali Sistani of Iraq, was asked by the Alkhlalifa to condemn the people’s Revolution, but he refused on the basis that he had not been engaged in politics.

At another level, one of the most senior figures of the popular leadership has suffered serious deterioration in his health and is now in serious condition. He has been transferred to the military hospital but his family has not been allowed to visit him. Abdul Wahab Hussain, 60, who has been in jail for more than three years had asked the prison authorities for urgent medical treatment but his request has been turned down. He has several symptoms including general weakness in his body, burning feeling in his limps and inability to move his legs. Ten years ago he had been treated in UK for neurological ailments and loss of feelings and control of his limbs. when he was arrested in March 2011 he was severely tortured and denied medical treatment. There is now serious concern for Mr Abdul Wahab Hussain’s life and calls have been made to international bodies to put pressure on Alkhlaifa junta to allow him sufficient medical care.

Amnesty International, meanwhile, has issued an Urgent Action highlighting the plight of a torture victim and shed light on the policy of impunity adopted by the regime. Mr Ahmad Mushaima, the son of the jailed leader, Hassan Mushaima, has been put on trial for his pro-democracy activities. He had been subjected to horrific torture to extract “confessions” which have been used as the basis of his ongoing trial. Amnesty has urged the authorities to release Ahmed Mushaima immediately and unconditionally, allow him full access to lawyers, investigate allegations of torture and bring those responsible to justice and provide Mr Mushaima medical attention. Another internationally-renowned journalist, Ahmad Humaidan, is serving ten years sentence for his activities as photographer that expose the Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
16th April 2014

Bahrain: Saudi-backed Alkhalifa cornered as they escalate repression

Today marks three years of Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja’s incarceration. He is the most prominent Bahraini human rights activist. He was severely tortured and needed two operations to repair his broken jaws. Thirty international NGOs have signed a petition calling for his immediate release. They said: “The undersigned civil society organizations call for the immediate and unconditional release of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja as well as immediate access to independent medical examination and treatment. In addition, we urge the Bahraini authorities to cease harassment and persecution of human rights defenders including unwarranted defamation campaigns.”

Yesterday Frontline Defenders called for the immediate release of Dr Saeed Al Samaheeji, who was severely persecuted for helping the injured Bahrainis. On 3rd April Alkhalifa judiciary upheld a one-year jail sentence they had imposed on him last year. Front Line Defenders expresses concern at the sentencing of Dr Saeed Al Samahiji and at the continued targeting of human rights defenders through prosecutions. Front Line Defenders is concerned that the prison sentence is solely related to Dr Saeed Al Samahiji's legitimate exercise of the right of freedom of expression and his human rights work.

The wave of mass arrests and torture has continued.  Today scores of Bahrainis have been arrested; Hani Abbas Abdul Wahab from Dar Kulaib, Essa Ra’id from El Eker and 15 years old Mohammad Manoor Abdul Hussain from Bani Jamra. From the District of Mahooz nine people were arrested in the early hours of 9th April: Maytham Hassan Abbas, Nasser Salah Mansoor, Mohammed Jaffar Radhi, Ali Abdulla Abbas Anan, Mohammed Saleh Hassan Anan, Nasser Saleh Hassan Anan, Jassem Saleh Hassan Anan. Ali Hussain Al Saleh and Ali Salah Manoor. On 7th April Mirza Abdul Hussain Al Saffar was arrested at a checkpoint.

The regime has sentenced a blogger, Ali Jassim Me’raj, from Nuwaidrat Town,  to two and a half years for “insulting the king”. It is now a crime to criticise Bahrain’s dictator in any way or form.

On commenting on the Alkhalifa violations of human rights in relation to the Formula 1 race, The Committee to Protect Journalists said Bahrain ranks 2nd for most journalists imprisoned per capita in the world

On 4th April the renowned American writer, Toby Jones, wrote an article entitled: “Bahrain oil, American water” in which he said: “Bahrain is now an apartheid state, with roving bands of security forces curtailing Shiite movements, routinely cloaking villages in tear gas, and rounding up protesters. Police have detained hundreds of people, most of them young boys who pass their time with an eye toward every evening’s nine o’clock clash with the police. He said that President Obama had not raised the case of Bahrain with his Saudi hosts last week, and re-iterated that Formula 1 race organizers said human rights abuses are not their business. But then he narrated a personal story: “Last week I received an email from the father of Abdallah Madan, a 17-year-old Bahraini-American citizen, who was arrested for protesting in early March. He has been beaten, his nose has been broken, and there is no sign of his being released any time soon. US embassy offi cials were made to wait three weeks before being allowed to see him, and have so far not made his case a priority. Meanwhile, Abdallah has asked his father to take up the cause of more than 450 other children languishing in Manama’s prisons for standing up to autocracy.”

Jordanian activists have launched an electronic petition through Avaaz website in which they blamed the Jordanian government for sending troops to participate in the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain. They said: “The batons that left their marks on the backs of your sons in Bahrain streets had left their marks on the backs of our sons in the streets of Jordan, the hands that silence you are the same as the ones that had silenced us. Your sons are our sons, your blood is our blood and our freedom is one” It ended saying: “The participation of the police forces in security duties in Bahrain is the responsibility of the Jordanian authorities before anyone else. This authority that caused the poverty of its citizens and concentration of wealth and authority in the hands of the few is to be blamed for dragging the sons of Jordan to Bahrain to participate in repressing their brothers in return for being able to support their families. The authorities have extended supporting hands to whip the Bahraini citizens without consulting with anyone”

Bahrain Freedom Movement
9th April 2014

Saudi tyranny leads to death sentences; F1 race in Bahrain condemned

As the Saudis continued to drag their feet in Bahrain by constructing new military bases for their troops of occupation, they are also attempting to dominate the Arab political scene in different ways. At the Arab summit in Kuwait this week, the atmosphere was one of tyranny imposed by the Saudis who dictated the agenda by flexing their financial and political muscles. Instead of addressing the Arab people’s aspiration for freedom and democracy, the Saudis have deflected the debate and presented the pro-democracy movements as “terrorist” including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the Bahraini activists. They refused to discuss the real terrorists who are supported by their intelligence agencies and petrodollars. Daily killing of innocent civilians in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Lebanon and Egypt have been ignored by the Arab summit. The sentencing of 529 Egyptians to death by the military-controlled judiciary has largely been sidelined.

In Bahrain, the Saudi occupation is behind the recent sentencing of several Bahrainis to death. The aim is to deter the pro-democracy movement and push it to submission.

Meanwhile, the Bahraini activists have escalated their efforts against the Formula 1 race planned to take place in Bahrain on 4-6th April. Termed “Blood race” by victims of Alkhalifa regim, F1 has become symbol of regime’s brutality and indifference to the misery and death of Bahrainis. The Death Squads have been rounding activists right, left and centre to ensure that no major protests are organised during the event.

Over the past 24 hours at least ten people have been detained from the towns of Karbabad, Jannusan and Al Qurayya. Among them is the Hussaini orator, Sheikh Ahmad Al Daqqaq from Karbabad. Yesterday eleven people were arrested from Karbabad, Samaheej, Nuwaidrat, Daih and Al Qurayya. including Sayed Ameen Sayed Hussain Al Mousawi, 17, Hussain Abdulla Al Qassim, from Abu Saiba, Mohammad Jaffar Hassan and Mohammad Jaffar Bu Nasib (from Samaheej). From Karbabad Hussain Abd Al Ali Al Heela, 24 was detained. In London, the pro-democracy Bahraini opposition is holding daily protest outside the F1 headquarters in Kensington. They started on 24th March and will continue for two weeks.

Two days ago, a young Bahraini was arrested because of his father’s activism. Mohsin, the son of Abdul Majeed Abdul Mohsin (known as Hajji Sumood by the revolutionary circles because of his steadfastness despite his old age) was arrested. He was at the Country Mall when members of Death Squads recognised him as the son of Bahrain’s eldest hero and audaciously attacked and arrested him.

On Sunday 23rd March the regime’s forces attacked a religious meeting at Sanabis for no reason. There was a competition in Qur’an recitation when an armoured vehicle was roaming the streets to stop any protest. As it approached the gate of the congregation hall it fired tear gas canisters at the entrance to the hall, causing panic, confusion and the ill-effects of the chemical gases. It was totally unwarranted attack similar to an earlier one last month at another mosque.

The role of the mercenaries in the Alkhalifa defence and security forces have recently come light and caused enormous distress and disappointment among Bahrainis and many Pakistanis. The visit by Bahrain’s dictator to Pakistan last week has aroused concerns that more mercenaries may be hired from that country to help in the crackdown on the ongoing protests. According to the Express Tribune, published with the International New York Times, Hamad Alkhalifa discussed with Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s premier “expanding their existing defence cooperation”. Bahrain’s dictator was also met by the heads of the three services, including Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. The paper said: “Historically, Pakistan and Bahrain enjoy strong defence ties. Pakistan had reportedly helped Bahrain set up its naval forces and 18 per cent of the Gulf state’s air force comprises Pakistani personnel.” It further added: “It is estimated that almost 10,000 Pakistanis are serving in security services of Bahrain. During the Arab Spring, Bahrain is believed to have hired the services of retired military and police officials to quell the revolt.” On 20th March thousands of Pakistanis took part in demonstrations in several cities including Islamabad to protest against the visit by Bahrain’s dictator and to call for an end of Pakistan’s military support of Alkhalifa dictatorship.

Yesterday there was an intervention on Bahrain at the Human Rights Council session in Geneva under item 8. There will be two other interventions today under items 2 and 10. All are calling for international actions against Alkhalifa regime for serious abuses of human rights.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
26th March 2014

New martyr as MPs declare opposition to hold Formula 1 in Bahrain

A Bahraini citizen has been martyred after inhaling large quantities of chemical and tear gases fired by Alkhalifa forces on unarmed demonstrators. Jawad Al Hawi, 48, from Sitra City was passing by the area where a peaceful protest was taking place when regime’s forces hurled large quantities of lethal gases on Bahraini protesters. He collapsed as a result and within short period his soul rose to its Creator. Many people attended the martyr’s funeral, chanting anti-regime slogans. They were attacked mercilessly by the foreign-staffed riot police and security forces.

Bahrain; Third anniversary of Saudi occupation to be marked with defiance

As the third anniversary of the Saudi occupation of Bahrain approaches there have been frantic activities inside and outside the country. There are calls for the immediate withdrawal of the Saudi troops from that country because the native population are wholly against it. The Saudi forces invaded Bahrain on 14th March 2011 and participated in heinous crimes. The UK Government was informed of the invasion in advance but did not oppose it. In Bahrain the Revolution has been intensified against the ruling Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship which is accused of treachery. The dictator, Hamad bin Isa Alkhalifa, is accused of treason for inviting or accepting the Saudi occupation, compromising Bahrain’s sovereignty and seeking foreign and mercenary forces to kill Bahrainis. The killing last week of three mercenaries in an unexplained explosion has exposed the reality of the occupation by Saudi and Emirati forces.

The policy of kidnapping citizens and torturing them has continued unabated. On the eve of the National Day of Resistance Against Saudi Occupation at least 13 Bahrainis have been detained and 17 houses raided.  Aseel Ali and Hassan Abdul Karim were snatched from their homes at Al Qurayya Town by members of Alkhalifa Death Squads. They have been taken to an unknown destination and fears are growing for their safety. As the kangaroo courts pursued their policies of exacting revenge on Bahrainis, three youth were sentenced to three years imprisonment for taking part in anti-regime protests. Mohammad Mahdi, 19, Yousuf Al Sayegh, 17 and Yousuf Abdul Hadi, 16, were tortured and abused before their court appearance. From Al Ekr town, Ali Hassan Al Mughanni was arrested today from his home. Three others were arrested from Nuwaidrat: Ilias Hassan Marhoon, Ahmad Abd Ali Jum’a and Jaber Hilal. Mahmood Abdul Redha Al Shahrakkani was arrested at a check point in Jufair.

As the American president prepares to visit Saudi Arabia, pressure is mounting on USA to come clean of its immoral links to the Gulf dictatorial monarchies. Twenty eight American Middle East experts have signed a letter to Mr Obama urging him to raise the case of Bahrain with the Saudi king during the visit. Washington has been reluctant to support pro-democracy calls in that region and has been accused of adopting double standards in dealing with the world. Its silence on horrendous human rights abuses by the GCC dictatorships has been condemned by political and human rights activists, at a time when the GCC itself is fragmenting from within.

In London the Bahraini opposition block has undertaken several activities to mark the occasion. On Monday 10th March a Press Conference was held by Lord Avebury, the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee. Several speakers participated including Dr Mahmood Al Fardan who outlined the attack on the medical profession after the Saudi invasion. Rori Donaghy of the Emirates Centre for Human Rights outlined the serious abuses by the regime of that country against political activists. He said 128 political prisoners are languishing behind bars. Raza Kazmi, of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, presented grim picture of the serious human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday night, a gathering was held to mark the Saudi invasion and occupation of Bahrain. Anti-war and anti-arms trade activists pledged support to the Bahrainis who are resisting foreign occupation.

Mr Obama’s visit to Riyadh has prompted calls from human rights activists as well as academics to be more pro-active and work to alter the course of the American policy in the Gulf. On 10th March, The Policy Outlook website published an important article by Frederic Wehrey entitled: “A New US Approach to Gulf Security”. The author said that ”The United States must focus more on promoting political and security sector reforms in the Gulf that are critical to long-term regional stability by better integrating its use of military and diplomatic tools.”. He added further: “U.S. relations with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf are strained by divergent policies toward a changing Middle East, the Gulf countries’ fears of being abandoned by the United States, and unprecedented intra-Gulf tensions. Washington has attempted to reassure Gulf partners of the strength of the security alliance while calling for liberalizing reforms. Increasingly , however, the Gulf states’ domestic policies have put them at odds with these calls. Contrary to some assumptions, the goals of reassurance and reform need not contradict one another: underscoring the urgency of much-needed institutional changes reinforces the U.S. commitment to durable regional security.”

Bahrain Freedom Movement
12th March 2104

New martyrs in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as AI reports first water-boarding claim

A young Bahraini youth has been martyred while receiving treatment at hospital. Jaffar Ahmad Al Durazi passed away today after he was left without care following numerous sessions of severe torture. He was arrested in January with a group of youth who had been active in the pro-democracy movement. While in police custody, they were all subjected to extreme forms of torture including sexual abuse, electrocution and beating. They were then transferred to Rafaa police station to recuperate from their horrific injuries before their trial. But Jaffar’s conditions deteriorated as he was suffering from sickle cell blood disorder. He was transferred to the military-run Salmaniya Hospital where he was ill-treated further and denied proper medical care. He passed away in the early hours of this morning.

A kangaroo court run by the ruling Alkhalifa family has ordered the detention for one more week of a juvenile. Mahdi Ali Jaffar Shuja’a, 11, has been ordered to stay behind bars for one more week in revenge for joining a peaceful demonstration calling for democratic rights.

At the Awwamiyah Town of Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia two people were martyred by police on Thursday 20th February. Heavily-armed thugs of the Al Saud regime attacked the town and raided houses. Although he raised his white shirt to indicate his submission, Hussain Ali Al Faraj was hit with live bullets and died instantly. Shortly afterwards another house was raided and Ali Ahmed Al Faraj was also hit with live bullets which killed him on the spot. This criminal behaviour has enraged the people and pushed many of them to chant anti-regime slogans during the funerals of the martyrs.

On Sunday 23rd February, the people who were sitting in mourning at a congregation hall at Saar Town were bombarded with large amounts of chemical and tear gases. An armoured vehicle manned by members of Alkhalifa Death Squads targeted the audience at the town congregation hall as they took part in mourning the late pro-democracy journalist, Sayyed Ali Al Mousawi. A video showing the horrific crime was posted on the internet. In such circumstances (ie when there is irrefutable evidence of an Alkhalifa crime against the people) the regime would always promise to investigate, but none of the perpetrators of the crimes has ever been charged).

The Alkhalifa court has extended the illegal detention of three orators for unspecified periods for chanting pro-democracy slogans at one of the demonstrations. Lawyer Yousuf Rabi’e said that his clients; Abdul Jabbar Al Durazi, Mohammad Jaber Al Durazi and Poet Mohammad Al Yousuf were detained for 38 more days in the absence of their lawyer.  An elderly citizen, Hajji Majeed, also known Hajji Sumood (steadfast) is among those detained for taking part in peaceful demonstrations. Al Wefaq Society described these harsh sentences against Bahrainis as revenge and unethical exploitation of power. Bahrain’s jails are overcrowded with more than 3000 political prisoners.

On 20th February, Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action about a young Bahraini prisoner of conscience. It said that Ahmed Mohammad Saleh al-Arab saw his family for the first time on 10 February, a month after he was arrested, and again on 18 February. During the visits Ahmed al-Arab told his family that he was still suffering the effects of shoulder injuries, especially on his right side, which he said he had sustained as a result of severe beatings at the National Security Agency headquarters in the capital, Manama, and being hung from his wrists while they were twisted behind his back and handcuffed. He also told his family he had numbness in his hands and a tooth which was broken during the beating was bleeding every day. He said he had not received any medical attention for any of his injuries. He told his family that he had been severely beaten, on his genitals and elsewhere, at the National Security Agency and a detention facility in Riffa. He also said he had h ad his face covered with a cloth and water poured over it to make him feel as if he was drowning; he was threatened with having his nails pulled out and being raped. He was also made to sign papers while blindfolded but did not know what they were. During their first visit, the family saw that Ahmed al-Arab had scars on his face, black marks around his wrists and a broken tooth. Amnesty called on the regime to provide Mr Al Arab with urgently needed medical care, stop torturing him and allowing him access to his lawyer.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
26th February 2014

Bahrain: Dictator decides to execute Bahaini youth after 3rd anniversary protests

In a dramatic escalation of Alkhalifa enmity towards Bahrain’s people, the dictator and his entourage decided to execute a young Bahraini man. Maher Abbas Al Khabbaz on trumpeted charges. He is linked to alleged bomb making and activities that led to the death of a policeman. Five others accused in the case have received five years prison sentence. One Bahraini has also been sentenced to six years imprisonment. This case resonates with that of Isa Qambar who was executed by the regime in 1996 on unproven charges. Despite the killing of more than 150 Bahrainis no person has been executed or properly jailed.

Bahrainis and their supporters are planning big campaign next month to call for an immediate end to the Saudi military occupation of Bahrain. This will include protests inside and outside Bahrain, seminars and press conferences, public meetings with participation from anti-war campaigners and lobbying of Western governments to stand up against this evil occupation and demand the immediate withdrawal of Saudi troops from Bahrain. They will also call for removal of Alkhalifa regime which had sold the country and compromised its sovereignty. The Saudis had invaded Bahrain in mid-March 2011 and participated in atrocities against Bahrainis, their mosques, doctors, athletes, teachers, men, women and children.

Following the successful campaign to reinvigorate the third anniversary of the 14th February Revolution the Alkhalifa regime has intensified its repression and crackdown against Bahrainis. On 13th, 14th and 15th the people showed the world that their Revolution was here to stay and that the ruling clan was completely isolated. On 13th February, the people observed a general strike, with most shops closed and attendance at government’s offices at its lowest. Most parts of the country came to a standstill while protests spread to more than fifty areas. On Friday 14thFebruary there were many demonstrations as many people marched to the iconic site of the Pearl Roundabout. There were skirmishes with the foreign-staffed riot police. The regime’s Death Squads fired shotguns at the peaceful protesters, causing many injuries. On Saturday 15th February, one of the largest demonstrations ever seen in the country was staged. The political societies that had organized it esti mated the participants at more than quarter of a million people. The regime’s forces attacked the peaceful protesters and battles were fought between the Bahrainis and the foreign forces until late at night.

No sooner had these activities finished than did the ruling clan start its revenge on Bahrainis.  On Tuesday 18th February at least three women were arrested during raids on their homes. Masooma Essa Naissar, Hamida Sarhan and Hala Abdul Jalil were forcibly pulled from their homes and taken to the Alkhalifa torture dungeons. Although Hamida Sarhan is disabled, her belongings including her computer were confiscated in the horrific raid at her home. On Monday 17th February, 11 years old Mahdi Ali Jaffar Shujaa, from Malikiya Town, was ordered to be detained for one week for taking part in peaceful protest. A similar sentence was imposed on 14 years old Ali Hassan Al Aali. From Bani Jamra town Abdul Raouf Al Jamri and his son Ahmed were sentenced to 10 years, while Redha Al Ghasrah to 15 years on malicious charge of possession of arms. Also the ruling clan sentenced Jaffar Ahmed Mahfoodhs and Sadiq Al Sabba’a to seven years on trumpeted charges.

The political prisoners at the Dry Dock torture centre have continued their hunger strike for the past week in solidarity with the people who were commemorating the anniversary of the Revolution. Lieutenant Hisham Al Zayyani, threatened to blow them up if they did not end their strike. But they have insisted on ending the kangaroo courts, improve prison conditions and stop torture. Detainees at sections 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8 of the prison took part in the strike. Their number exceeds 400.

In the past week Amnesty International issued two statements. The first was a warning to the Alkhalifa clan not to use force to crackdown on the proposed protests marking 3rd anniversary of the Revolution People must be allowed freedom to congregate, protest and express their demands freely without fear of attacks or retribution. The ruling Alkhalifa clan did not heed the call. Many Bahrainis were injured either by shotgun pellets or chemical gases used extensively by regime’s forces. The second was about Zainab Al Khawaja who was released this week but awaits dictator’s decision in other charges against her.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
19th February 2014

Do We Care About People If They Live in Bahrain?

I had a heck of a time making sense of the U.S. Navy's new motto "A Global Force for Good" until I realized that it meant "We are a global force, and wherever we go we're never leaving."

For three years now people in the little island nation of Bahrain have been nonviolently protesting and demanding democratic reforms. 

For three years now the king of Bahrain and his royal thugs have been shooting, kidnapping, torturing, imprisoning, and terrorizing nonviolent opponents.  An opponent includes anyone speaking up for human rights or even "insulting" the king or his flag, which carries a sentence of 7 years in prison and a hefty fine.

For three years now, Saudi Arabia has been aiding the King of Bahrain in his crackdown on the people of Bahrain.  A U.S. police chief named John Timoney, with a reputation for brutality earned in Miami and Philadelphia, was hired to help the Bahraini government intimidate and brutalize its population.

For three years now, the U.S. government has been tolerating the abuses committed by Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, continuing to sell weapons to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and continuing to dock the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.  In fact, the U.S. military has recently announced big and pricey plans to expand its bases in Bahrain and add more ships.

For three years now, the U.S. government has continued to dump some $150 billion (with a 'B') each year into the U.S. Navy, a large portion of which goes for the maintenance of the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. Withdrawing and disbanding that fleet would save that gargantuan expense. Retraining and re-employing in peaceful activities all personnel would cost a fraction of $150 billion. Providing aid to nonviolent pro-democracy activists in Bahrain would cost a tiny fraction of a fraction. Establishing a policy in the case of this one country of supporting human rights over brutal dictatorship would be, as they say, priceless. It would create a very useful model for a transformation of U.S. policy in numerous other nations as well.

Accurate and timely information about the horrors underway for the past three years in Bahrain are available online, via Western human rights groups, and via small back-page stories in U.S. newspapers.  There's little dispute over the general facts.  Yet, there's little outrage.  There appears to have been no polling done of the U.S. public on the topic of Bahrain whatsoever, so it's impossible to know what people think.  But my impression is that most people have never heard of the place. 

The U.S. government is not shouting about the need to bomb Bahrain to protect its people.  Senators are not insisting on sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions.  There seems to be no crisis, no need for "intervention," only the need to end an intervention we aren't told about. 

Which raises a tough question for people who give a damn.  We're able to reject a war on Iran or Syria when the question is raised on our televisions. But we can't seem to stop drone strikes nobody tells us about. How do we create a question nobody is asking, about a topic nobody has heard of, and then answer it humanely and wisely?  And how do we overcome the inevitable pretense that the Fifth Fleet serves some useful purpose, and that this purpose justifies a little teargas, a bit of torture, and some murders here and there?

The Fifth Fleet claims to be responsible for these nations: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.  None of these nations have ships in U.S. waters claiming to be responsible for it.  None of these nations' peoples have indicated majority support for having the Fifth Fleet be responsible for them.  Afghanistan has suffered under U.S. occupation for over a decade, with chaos and tyranny to follow.  Egypt's thugs are rising anew with steady U.S. support, money, and weaponry. Iran has threatened and attacked no other nation for centuries, has never had a nuclear weapons program, spends less than 1% what the U.S. does on its military, and moves away from democracy with every U.S. threat. Why not leave Iran alone?  Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others of these nations, including Bahrain, suffer under the rule of U.S.-backed governments. One might reasonably add Israel and the lands it occupies to the list, even if the Navy cannot bring itself to mention them. Yemen and Pakistan suffer under the constant buzzing and missile launching of U.S. drones, which are creating far more enemies than they kill.  In fact, not a single nation falling under the past 19 years of benevolent "responsibility" of the Fifth Fleet has clearly benefitted in any way.

At a third annual conference recently held in Lebanon, Bahraini activists laid out a plan of action. It includes building international connections with people who care and are willing to help. It includes supporting the International Day to End Impunity on November 23rd.  It includes pushing Bahrain to join the ICC, although that may be of little value until the U.S. can be persuaded to do the same and until the United Nations can be democratized.  The plan includes calls for an end to weapons sales and the initiation of sanctions against the Bahraini government (not its people).

Those would certainly be good steps. The first question in my mind remains: do the people in the nation that screams most loudly about "freedom" and does the most to support its repression wherever deemed useful, care?

Bahrain: Seven years for criticising dictator as Saudis intensify occupation

The latest martyr on the road to freedom and democracy is 50-years old Asmaa Hussain whose soul ascended to Heavens yesterday. In the early hours of Tuesday, 11th February members of Death Squads attacked several houses at Jid Al Hajj town, West of Manama, breaking doors, smashing furniture and terrorizing whole families. The victim was frozen to death when heavily-armed “security” thugs broke into her home while the family were asleep. She immediately collapsed. Attempts by her family to rush her to hospital failed because of the refusal of the attackers to allow them out. People were enraged as they were also attacked during her funeral few hours later. They remained defiant calling for regime’s downfall and calling on the world to take the killers to task and defend Bahraini native population from Alkhalifa policies of extermination.

Meanwhile the preparations for the third anniversary of the 14th February Revolution continued amid unprecedented crackdown on activists. Many young Bahrainis have been kidnapped and taken to the regime’s torture dungeons. The aim is to break the will of the people who are more enthusiastic than ever to pursue their peaceful activities until their demands are fulfilled. Three years of unprecedented repression and state terrorism have convinced most native Bahrainis that nothing short of regime change could salvage the country and the people. Yesterday two children, Ahmad Jaffar, 14, and Salman Abdullah, 15, from Abu Saiba’ town were condemned to imprisonment in torture dungeons. Many others were also detained to ensure that maximum Bahrainis are taken off the streets during the anniversary activities. On 10th February, Sayed Ahmad Salman Al Mousawi, a photographer from Duraz and his brother, Mohammad were arrested as part of the regime’s campaign to round up independent journalists and photographers. From Karranah, Hassan Ahmad was arrested by members of Death Squads operated by royal court. Sayed Ali Nazar was arrested on Monday from Qurayya Town.

The face of Mohammad Abd Ali, 13, reflects the horrific wounds sustained when he was hit by police with shotgun s. On Saturday 8th February, the boy opened the door of his house to go out when he was showered by police using lethal shotguns. These attacks happen daily in most parts of Bahrain as the regime continues to use shotguns as a weapon against peaceful protesters.

An Emirati company has decided to close down its operations in Bahrain after accumulating losses exceeding 7 million Bahraini Dinars (around $20 millions). The company had opened six branches for Waitrose in the towns of Saar, Barbar, Mahooz, Rafaa and Sitra. The Bahraini economy has been hit hard by the Revolution and all attempts by Alkhalifa crown prince to change the image of his family rule have failed. This year’s Formula 1 race, scheduled for April, has already been thrown into turmoil as Bahrainis intensify their efforts to stop the race. Last year, a Bahraini activist, Salah Abbas, was killed by regime’s Death Squads in their attempts to stop protests in the days leading to the race that is now commonly known as “blood race”. Two women are languishing at Alkhalifa torture dungeons for attempting to take the political case of Bahrainis inside the F1 race course.

Meanwhile Freedom House has issued a statement entitled: Bahrain Toughens Imprisonment, Fines for Anyone "Insulting" Monarch”. It said: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain should rescind a new law imposing prison sentences of up to seven years for anyone convicted of publicly insulting the king or national emblems, a measure that violates fundamental rights of freedom of speech, Freedom House said. It further added that the new law “went beyond existing law measures by providing for the prison sentence as well as fine of up to the equivalent of $26,500. It also applies to “whoever has insulted, in any kind of public manner, the king of Bahrain, or its national flag or its national emblem.” The measure clearly targets protesters whose calls for greater political freedom began in February 2011. The Bahraini government has increasingly used national security arguments and the threat of terrorism to enact legislation curbing basic freedoms, such as freedom of assembly and free expression online. Continuing human rights abuses have worsened tension between the Sunni-dominated government and the majority Shiite population, which is largely unrepresented in state institutions like the police and military, and has accounted for the bulk of protesters. Freedom House calls on Bahraini authorities to guarantee all citizens their rights to freedom of speech and assembly.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
12th February 2014

Action Plans Produced at Third Annual Bahrain Conference

Ended the Third International Conference under the title: "Bahrain .. ongoing violations and impunity," its Thursday evening February 13, 2014.

Has kicked off the conference on Thursday morning, after opening on Wednesday evening in February 2014. The conference began two words Avctahitin Prime Bahrain Forum for Human Rights and Chairman Joseph Spring Observatory Bahrain human rights lawyer Mohammed Merchant stressed the need to focus during the conference to address the policy of impunity.

The conferees discussed, during the three sessions attended by a select group of representatives of international human rights organizations, Arab and legal personalities from different countries of the world, a large number of working papers which dealt with:

1.          Artkabat government of Bahrain against the peaceful people of killings, torture and arbitrary arrests and raids, as well as the issue of deprivation of citizenship for opponents.

2.          The absence of justice and accountability and the impunity of the perpetrators; where deliberately courts to exonerate the security men of crimes they commit; come down with the most severe penalties activists peaceful defenders of human rights.

3.          Prejudice to the government of Bahrain to its international obligations, particularly the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the protection of the rights of children, women and others, and retreat from the recommendations of all obligations of the Human Rights Council, the Commission Bassiouni, and the need to ratify the international conventions signed by them.

4.          Identify possible international mechanisms to hold accountable those responsible for abuses in Bahrain.

At the conclusion of the conference read head of Bahrain Forum for Human Rights decisions Joseph Spring Conference which concluded:

1. The establishment of an international network of organizations and human rights and political figures, media and other activists in the areas of human rights to support the Bahraini people in their struggle peacefully in order to obtain their legitimate rights.

2. Adoption of the International Day to End Impunity November 23 days to end impunity in Bahrain so that different events are held in the framework of demand the trial of those involved.

He also presented the recommendations of the conference which is the following:

1.          Invite the international community to put pressure on the government of Bahrain to join the International Criminal Court, and the signing of additional protocols, especially for children and women.

2.          Claim the government of Bahrain to ensure the impartiality and independence of the judiciary, and to ensure the right of litigants to a fair trial.

3.          Accounting involved committing crimes against the Bahraini people, whatever their positions and their positions.

4.          Allow all special rapporteurs of the United Nations concerned with freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and freedom of religion and belief, and freedom of association to visit Bahrain, and immediately set an appointment to visit the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Méndez.

5.          It called on all states to refrain from exporting weapons to Bahrain to repress the demonstrators, and demand from countries that send their citizens to work in the Bahraini security services to stop being used in repression.

6.          Invite the United Nations and the international community to approve sanctions against the Bahraini government because of its repressive practices against the people of Bahrain and appeal lawyers and jurists to coordinate among themselves in order to activate the role of international justice in the Accounting perpetrators of crimes against the people.

7.          Remove inhibitions in front of the international media to play a role in the coverage of what is happening in Bahrain events freely and without restrictions.

 

 

Press Release

 

The 3 rd International Conference on Human Rights on Bahrain organized by Bahrain Forum for Human Rights and its senior partner Bahrain Human Rights Observatory and held on Feb. 12-13, 2014 in Beirut under the title of Bahrain: Ongoing Violations and Impunity.

 

The event was attended by the elite of the representative of Bahrain, Arabian and international human rights organizations and lawyers from different countries in the world.   

The participants discussed a number of featured papers highlighting the following:

1. Bahrain government's committing of crimes against its peaceful nation inducing crimes, torturing, home raids, arbitrary arrests and denationalization from individuals affiliated to the opposition.

The absentia of justice and holding accountability of those involved in crimes and displacing impunity as Bahrain's courts acquaint security forces from their crimes but issues the harshest sentences against peaceful activists and human rights defenders.

  3. Bahrain is not abiding the international commitment and conventions it signed especially the Anti-Torture Convention and the Protection of Children and Women Conventions. Neither has it implemented any of the recommendations issued by Human Rights Council and Bassiouni's mission. Besides that it is not responding the urgency of ratifying the international conventions it signed.

4. Specifying the potential international mechanisms to hold accountability of those involved in committing crimes in Bahrain.

 

The attendees have decided to:

1.   Establishing an international network that includes legal, political, media and human rights bodies, individuals and activists to support the Bahraini people in their struggle to meet their legal rights.

2.   Adopting the international day of Impunity on November 23 campaigning to end impunity in Bahrain and bring criminals to justice.

 

 

The participants have come to the following recommendations:

1.     Calling the international committee to place pressure on the government of Bahrain to be brought to The International Criminal Court and to let it ratify the additional protocols especially those related to woman and child protection

2.   Appealing to the government of Bahrain to guarantee the independence and neutrality of judicial system and having fair trials to those judged.

3.   Holding accountability of those involved in committing crimes against the Bahraini nation-whoever they might be and whatever ranks they may be occupying

4.   Allowing UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly, freedom of Religion or Belief, freedom of assembly foundation to visit Bahrain and also to set an urgent appointment to meet the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Visiting Professor Juan E Mendez

5.   Calling all of the states to stop exporting arms to Bahrain for they are being used to oppress the protesters. Calling all of the countries that are sending their people to work in security in Bahrain to stop for they are deployed for oppression practices.

6.   Calling the UN and International Committee to issue sanctions against Bahrain government because of its practices of oppression against the Bahraini nation. Calling all of the lawyers and human rights activists to coordinate with each other to activate the role of the international judiciary system to hold accountability of all of those involved in committing crimes against the Bahraini nations.   

7.    Removing all of the obstacles preventing international media from coverage in Bahrain and informing what is going on there freely and with no restrictions.

 

The call of the conference

 

By the end of the conference, the gathering calls Bahrain government to immediately release the thirteen Bahraini prominent leaders and activists on top of whom is the head of Bahrain Center for Human Rights along with the other children, women, sick and old people as well.

The gathering also calls for the stop of the house raids and cancelling trials and order of arrests, and list of wanted and forbidden from travel.

It also calls to let the exiled Bahrainis be allowed to come home back and to remove all shapes of force deployed in streets, and to let practice more freedom of expression, peaceful protests, joining associations, and freedom of religion.

Bahrain: Saudi-backed regime intensifies repression ahead of 14th Feb

As preparations for the third anniversary of the 14th February Revolution approaches, the regime has intensified its mass arrests and other means of repression. On Monday 3rd February, several people were arrested. Mohammad Al Sheikh and Mohammad Al Oraibi were detained at the airport upon their return from a religious trip. Jaffar Al Shughul, Sadiq Hassan, Hassan Ayyoub and Hussain Ahmad Kadhem were arrested in the early hours and their homes at Aali Town were raided and ransacked. The regime has refused to release an under-age child, Ammar Yasser Abdulla despite pleas by human rights activists to do so. The family of Mohammad Bader Al Sheikh is extremely worried about his welfare after his house had been raided again and his belongings either confiscated or destroyed. On Monday 3rd January, Hussain Ali Abbas and his brother, Hassan, were arrested in a raid on their home at Bouri Town.

In a serious violation of basic norms of human rights and justice, Death Squads kidnapped a grandfather and forced his grandson to hand over himself to the torturers. Sayyed Mahamood Sayyed Saeed from Bouri Town could not tolerate his grandfather’s abduction and ill-treatment by those heartless people, so he handed himself to the torturers. From Malikiya two people were arrested on 4th February; Abdulla Al Sheikh and Ali Al Habbash. From Karzakkan Abbas Mansi Yousuf was detained yesterday and taken to torture dungeons.

Meanwhile the regime has refused to release the internationally-renowned human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab who had lodged an appeal against his latest conviction. He has to remain for several more weeks before another appeal is heard. The decision whether to release Nabeel Rajab or other human rights and political activists rests with the dictator who directs his “judiciary” what to do.

The fate of a Bahraini artist, Sadiq Al Sha’bani is still unknown since his disappearance in Oman on 27th January. He may have been handed to Alkhalifa torturers. His family is extremely concerned for his well-being and is anxious to know where he is. The Omani Government must inform his family of Mr Sha’bani’s whereabouts.

On another level, sixty towns and villages signed a statement distancing themselves from any attempt to normalise relations with Alkhalifa clan through the empty slogan of “dialogue”. There is widespread anger among Bahrainis that this process aims at dampening people’s zeal and determination to cleanse the country of the tribal rule which is guilty of most heinous crimes against humanity, including torture, extra-judicial killings and genocidal policies.

Amnesty International issued two Urgent Actions this week to deal with the deepening human rights crisis in Bahrain. On 31st January an Urgent Action Update was issued on behalf of Bahraini activist Zainab Al-Khawaja who was sentenced to a further four months in prison by a Criminal Court in relation to two new cases brought against her for “destroying government property”. It emphasised that Zainab Al-Khawaja is a prisoner of conscience held solely for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and urging the authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally. It urged the regime to quash her prison sentences, drop all the charges and overturn all her convictions; and to respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly and ensure that all human rights organizations and human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without hindrance, intimidation or harassment.

Another Urgent Action was issued on 4th February about 22 years old Ahmed Mohammad Saleh Al Arab who had been held incommunicado since his arrest on 9th January. Amnesty expressed fear that this Bahraini citizen is at risk of torture. It said: Ahmed Mohammad Saleh al-Arab continues to be denied family visits after 27 days of detention. There are fears the authorities are hiding that he has been tortured while held incommunicado. He has been denied medical care. It urged the Bahraini authorities to provide Ahmed Mohammad Saleh al-Arab with immediate access to his lawyer, family and any medical care he may need; called for an investigation of allegations that Ahmed Mohammad Saleh al-Arab was tortured and otherwise ill-treated and bring those responsible to justice. It also called on the Alkhalifa regime to either charge Ahmed Mohammad Saleh al-Arab with a recognizably criminal offence or release him.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
5th February 2014

Bahrain: Extra-judicial killing, serious religious persecution of natives

A young Bahraini youth has been martyred by live police bullets. Fadhel Abbas  Muslim, 19, had been shot on 8th January at Al Markh Town with two other youths. One of them, Sadiq Al Usfoor is still in serious condition. For two weeks the Alkhalifa clan refused to release any information about the victim who is believed to have died of his wounds on the day of the shooting. The images taken of his body in the mortuary after it was delivered on Sunday 26th January, clearly show the bullet wounds to his head, shoulder and foot. The fatal bullet was fired from the back which indicates that it was an execution by the Death Squads which are controlled by the royal court. Later in the day his funeral was attached mercilessly by the regime’s forces and some mourners were injured. The Bahrainis are now resigned for an eventual showdown with the Alkhalifa dictators and Saudi occupiers to free their country from their evil rule.

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action demanding thorough and impartial investigation into this heinous crime which has shocked the population because of its barbarism and disregard for human life. “The Bahraini authorities must immediately investigate the death in custody of a 19-year-old boy who was shot in the head by security forces,” said Amnesty International. “Bahrain’s authorities must come clean and open a full, independent investigation to establish the truth about the death of Fadel Abbas. Those responsible for his death must be held to account,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. “The conflicting information that has emerged over the version of events that led to his death makes such an investigation even more urgent.”

This extra judicial killing has confirmed the impossibility of “reforming” the regime which is still adopting torture and extra judicial killing as means of revenge from the people. The people have, once again, vowed to remain in the streets until the Alkhalifa regime is brought down. The peaceful nature of the Revolution has embarrassed Alkhalifa allies who continue to support this ailing hereditary dictatorship.

On another level, more Bahrainis have been sentenced to lengthy jail sentences by Alkhalifa kangaroo courts for taking part in peaceful protests. In one of the sessions last week, jailed photographer, Hussain Hubail said to the “judge” that lieutenant Fawwaz Al Samim had tortured him and his colleagues at the CID torture chambers, both physically and psychologically. He added that this torturer had threatened to rape their mothers and sisters. Another Bahraini, Jassim Al Nu’aimi, a blogger, said that Fawwza Al Samim had tortured him at CID torture dungeons. The “judge” ignored their claims and proceeded to persecute them. Two days ago a Bahraini citizen disappeared in Oman, and is believed to have been detained by security forces. Sadiq Sha’bani’s fate is unknown and his family has not been informed by the Omanis of his fate.

Today, Alkhalifa high court issued an order to dissolve the Supreme Scholar’s Council, which represents the native Shia Muslim majority. It also called for closing down its headquarters and confiscation of its assets. The Council has been mainly engaged in religious affairs and had hardly engaged in political activities. It has, however, refused to tow the line of the Alkhalifa and Al Saud occupiers. The Clerical Council has been 'meek' politically so targeting it is more to do with continuing persecution & forcing it into concessions. The decision which must have come from the dictator, himself, will open a new battlefront with the religious establishment

Bahrain Freedom Movement
29th January 2014

Bahrain: Preparations underway for 3rd anniversary as regime steps up repression

The meeting between the Alkhalifa crown prince and a delegation from Al Wefaq on Wednesday 15th January was seen by the revolutionary youth as a dirty ploy designed to confuse the situation and give false impression of a blood-thirsty dictatorial regime. While Salman Alkhalifa is himself discredited for his support of the violence perpetrated by his clan against Bahrainis, the two other Alkhalifa members present at the meeting has enraged the people for the atrocities they committed against the country and its native inhabitants. The Bahraini opposition is planning to bring them to international courts for demolishing mosques, torturing people to death, acts of rape of prisoners, extra-judicial killings and gassing demonstrators, elderly people and children to death. The aim of the meeting is seen as nothing more a desperate attempt to stall the preparations by Bahrainis to re-invigorate the Revolution on its third anniversary on 14th February. The dictator’s son has re peated his failures time and again with those hollow meetings that have been discredited for being hollow gestures. The people’s stand has remained defiant; that the Alkhalifa regime must go.

Among the atrocious acts committed by the regime is the continuous arrest, torture and unfair trials of Bahrainis. According to Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Ahmed Al-Arab’s fate is still unknown since his abduction by Death Squads on 9th January. Children Jehad AlSamea (10 years) and Abdulla AlBahrani (13 years) had their detention renewed until 27 January 2014.  The Committee to Defend Athletes has reported a rise in targeting athletes. There are now 73 of them behind bars for protesting peacefully. The  Committee to Defend Imprisoned Athletes stated that it had documented dozens of  arrests among athletes, the total sentence of 42 athlete is approximately 634  years. Athlete Abdulla Al-Maghni was sentenced to 72 years in more than a case.

The BCHR has  also documented three arrests since November in cases of vengeance against the arrested individuals' for the political and human rights activities of their. The security forces arrested Mahmood Aqeel Al-Sari on 6 November 2013, and Ahmed Hasan Mushaima on 28 December, while the airport security forces arrested Sheikh Yasser Al-Saleh on 26 December 2013.

There has been a deep feeling of disappointment at the decision by UK to send Prince Andrew to Bahrain. According to the British Embassy in Manama the trip was to help promote what its website calls “Great British Week”. This included a performance by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and is designed to boost trade and “emphasise the friendship and strong bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom and Bahrain.”  The Duke of York wanted to promote 200 years of British/Bahraini relations by forging stronger links with, and defence of the Alkhalifa hereditary repressive dictatorship.

The British policy in Bahrain has been a source of unease among political activists who see UK’s expertise in the security field being used to repress Bahraini people. Torture has been rampant  and new cases of this horrific treatment like that of Ahmad Mushaima confirms this. The UK’s image is being tarnished by this involvement which does not serve British interests.

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action on behalf of Bahraini photojournalist Ahmad Fardan who was released on bail on 9 January, pending investigation on a new charge of “involvement in a Molotov cocktail attack on police in December”. He has said that he was tortured.

Meanwhile, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) has commented on the controversy surrounding Formula 1 future. It said: Bernie Ecclestone has stepped down from the F1 board as he faces trial for bribery. Formula One and the FIA will be facing a media backlash because of the case and the last thing they need is Bahrain creeping up on them. This is a massive boost for the campaign. BIRD has already sent a letter to the Chairman of the FIA Jean Todt asking him for an immediate suspension of all FIA activities in Bahrain pending an investigation into a breach of their code of ethics.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
22nd January 2014

Crackdown against Bahrainis intensifies to pre-empt major protests ahead

As the third anniversary of the 14th February Revolution approaches the Alkhalifa regime has intensified its crackdown on Bahrainis in a desperate attempt to stall massive demonstrations to mark the occasion. Three young people from Duraz were kidnapped by members of the Death Squads operating under the control of the royal court. Fadhel Muslim, Ali Abdul Ameer and Sadiq Al Asfoor were detained one week ago and nothing has been heard of them since. They were hit by police using live ammunition in revenge for continuing the civil strife that has exposed Alkhalifa as the worst regime in the Middle East in terms of despotism and human rights violations. Also the fate of Formula 1 victim, Nafisa Al Usfoor, is causing concern to her family. She was due to have a family visit earlier this week but the visit was cancelled and the family was told that the young Bahraini had been transferred to hospital. Together with Rayhana Al Mousawi, Nafisa was subjected to horrific torture includ ing sexual assaults after their arrest during the F1 race last year. Bahrainis are now viewing this race with contempt as it has caused enormous pain to Bahrainis over the past few years.

Arrest of Bahrainis has, meanwhile, continued unabated. Mohammad Ali Khamis from Bilad Al Qadim was arrested on Tuesday 14thJanuary. Two youths from Bani Jamra were also arrested: Ahmad Al Arab and Mansoor Al Jamri. The policy of revenge from anyone who speaks out about treatment inside the torture dungeons has continued. Abdul Jabbar Ahmad was arrested two weeks ago and subjected to severe torture. While his friends gathered in mosques to pray for him, Others called for investigating the torture he had endured. Al Wasat newspaper also dealt with his case. The Alkhalifa regime’s reaction was to order his transfer to another cell and deny him medication for his ailments resulting from torture.Two other Bahrainis have been jailed for five years for taking part in anti-regime protest. Sayed Jaffar Sayed Salman and Abdulla Ahmad were subjected to horrific treatment before their sentence.

On 14th January Amnesty International urged its members to write to Alkhalifa dictators to demand the immediate release of Ahmad Mushaima, the son of the popular leader, Hassan Mushaima. He was arrested two weeks ago in revenge from his father and family, subjected to horrific torture and detained for no criminal reason. The Urgent Action said: “Ahmad Mushaima’, who suffers from Blount's disease, a deformity of the lower legs, was taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in the capital, Manama, where he was beaten, kicked in the legs, forced to insult his father and his religion, and coerced into signing documents. He was accused of participating in demonstrations in Jid Hafs, just outside Manama,” Amnesty also called for immediate investigation into allegations of torture and bring those responsible to justice.

Amnesty International also issued an Urgent Action calling for dropping the charges against Hussain Jawad since they are related solely to the legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression; It urged Alkhalifa officials to respect and protect the rights to freedom of expression and assembly and ensure that all human rights organizations and human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without hindrance, intimidation or harassment. Hussain Jawad, Chairman of the European-Bahraini organization for Human Rights (EBOHR), was released from Dry Dock prison on bail of 100 Bahraini Dinars (US$265) on 9 January 2014, 46 days after his arrest. He was charged with, among other things, “inciting hatred against the regime”. He is now facing trial but no dates have yet been scheduled.

Calls have also been made by  the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the OMCT for the release of Nabeel Rajab who has been behind bars for more than 18 months for opposing Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship. Mr. Rajab’s ongoing detention is arbitrary as it results from the exercise of his universally recognised human rights and as his right to a fair trial has not been guaranteed. The two organisations called upon the Bahraini authorities to immediately comply with the UN WGAD's decision and release Mr. Rajab immediately and unconditionally.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
15th January 2014

Bahrain: Saudi terrorist role exposed, South Korea cancels controversial deal

The arrest and subsequent execution of a prominent Saudi terrorist in Lebanon has awoken the world to the murderous policies of the Saudi regime. Majed Al Majed, the head of Abdulla Azzam battalions, which is affiliated to Al Qa’ida, was arrested by Lebanese authorities on 26th December. It is widely believed that he worked for the Saudi intelligence networks. His group had claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut last month that claimed the lives of at least 23 people. But before the Americans or the Iranians could question him, he was swiftly liquidated after Saudi Arabia paid $US billions to the Lebanese government. This is one of the most outrageous episodes of espionage, terrorism and corruption attributed to the Saudi regime. Al Majed would have become the “smoking gun” that would have implicated the Saudis in the terrorist campaign which is being waged in the name of Al Qa’ida. It is clear that the world is now pay ing the price of its silence on the Saudi invasion and occupation of Bahrain in mid-March 2011.

In a major setback to the Alkhalifa dictators, South Korea decided to stop the shipment of tear gas canisters to Bahrain[1]. South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration, which oversees the country’s military trade, told two companies that sought approval to export to Bahrain in October and November to suspend shipments. Lee Jung-geun, a spokesman for the defence agency, said the decision had been made because of the “unstable politics in the country , people’s death due to tear gas and complaints from human rights groups”. Bahrain’s interior ministry in June solicited bids for 1.6m tear gas projectiles, 90,000 tear gas grenades and 145,000 stun grenades, according to a tender document leaked to Bahrain Watch, an advocacy group. The order would have been of a similar magnitude to the 2m tear gas projectiles that activists estimate were fired by the security forces since pro-democracy protests swept the strategic island in Februa ry 2011. “This is also a clear message to any other countries considering supplying tear gas to Bahrain that profiting from repression is unacceptable,” Bahrain Watch[2] said in a statement.

Despite the international rebuke of the Alkhalifa regime, it continued human rights abuses at an alarming rate. In the first week of the New Year 40[3] Bahrainis were arbitrarily detained without arrest warrants, according to the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. On Monday 6th January Mohammad Jawad Me’raj[4] and his brother, Ali[5], were arrested during a raid on their home. The same day Abbas Ali[6], from Maqaba Town, was arrested and taken to the torture dungeons. He had just been released last month. The regime decided to detain the well-known athlete, Ahmad Hamza[7], for sixty days, at the Dry Dock torture centre, pending investigation. He is a member of Bahrain’s National Volleyball team. On 2nd of January, Mohammad Kadhem Al Halwachi[8], was detained as he landed at the airport, and taken to an unknown location. Sayed Ali Sayed Hadi[9] was also detained at the airport.

Among the detainees in recent days are: Abdul Nabi Hassan Mahdi[10] who was detained at a checkpoint near his town, Sadad. From Hamad town Hussain Al Mesbah[11] and his brother, Amin were arrested yesterday. From Jannusan, Fadhel Ali Abdul Aziz[12] was taken by members of Death Squads to the torture chambers. From Duraz Town, 12[13] youths were arrested on Monday including; Aamer Baddao, Ahmed Mohammad Habib, Jalal Al Anfooz, Ali Al Matrook, Mohsin Al Marzooq and Hassan Alao. Images of their homes show extensive damage inflicted by Alkhalifa agents during the raids. They did not only arrest the youths but wreaked havoc on their homes. Under international pressure[14] The Juvenile Prosecution ordered on 26 December that 13-year-old cousins Sayed Tameem Majed Ahmad Majed and Sayed Hashim Alwai Ahmad Majed should be released on bail. Both are still facing charges of “illegal gathering” and “throwing Molotov cocktails at a police patrol”. But he replaced t hem with two other children; Jihad, 10 and Abdulla, 13 who had to remain at the torture centre until 6th January.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
8th January 2014
 
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[1] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/67a619e2-397d-11e3-a3a4-00144feab7de.html?siteedition=uk#axzz2ppZ7ADv0

[2] https://bahrainwatch.org/blog/2014/01/07/south-korea-halts-massive-tear-gas-shipment-to-bahrain/
 
[3] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/420639643319558144
 
[4] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/420241497514975232
 
[5] https://twitter.com/NuwaidratFeb/status/420503764898832384/photo/1
 
[6] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/420458109476155393
 
[7] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/420456254436167680
 
[8] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/418864396656320512
 
[9] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/418703305204707328

[10] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/418456305481703424
 
[11] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/418531469238484992
 
[12] https://twitter.com/search?q=Fadhel%20Ali%20Abdul%20Aziz&src=typd
 
[13] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/418693797417984000
 
[14] http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE11/001/2014/fr/24b783fc-06b7-453a-b632-c7160f5dc196/mde110012014en.pdf

Teargas Shipment Stopped

SHIPMENT STOPPED

International Campaign Led By NGOs Succeeds in Pressuring Korean Regulator To Cancel Shipment

 

Advocacy group Bahrain Watch announced today that the #StopTheShipment campaign it launched two months ago to prevent a massive shipment of tear gas to Bahrain, has achieved a major milestone.  The Financial Times reported today that South Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) denied two requests to export tear gas to Bahrain due to the “unstable politics in the country [Bahrain], people’s death due to tear gas and complaints from human rights groups”.
 

The campaign initially targeted all of Bahrain’s tear gas suppliers, but zeroed in on South Korea after DAPA confirmed in October that it was considering a request to export tear gas to Bahrain from an unnamed Korean company, suspected to be DaeKwang Chemical Corporation. The shipment was believed to comprise in excess of 1.6 million rounds of tear gas based on a leaked tender document from a source close to Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior.  However, in today’s Financial Times article DaeKwang’s CEO said that as part of the deal, which was worth USD $28 million, the Bahraini government was planning to buy 3 million tear gas canisters – around 4 canisters for each Bahraini citizen. DAPA’s decision to cease exports means that this tear gas will not reach Bahrain.

 

South Korea joins other countries including the United States and United Kingdom, who have already stopped tear gas exports to Bahrain due to human rights concerns.  Since 2011, at least 39 deaths in Bahrain have been linked to misuse of tear gas, according to data compiled by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).  The deaths include 14 year old Ali Jawad al-Shaikh who was shot in the back of his neck with a tear gas canister, and 15 year old Sayed Hashim Saeed, also shot in his neck with a tear gas canister at close range.  No police officer or other government official in Bahrain has been held accountable for these or any other abuses due to the systematic misuse of tear gas, despite serious concerns raised by the United Nations Human Rights Council and the well-documented accounts that described the Bahraini government’s use of tear gas as “unnecessary, indiscriminate” and “lethal”.



 

 

Thanks to participation and solidarity from around the world, #StopTheShipment prevented a South Korean company from sending millions more of these tear gas canisters to Bahrain

 

Over the past two months, the #StopTheShipment campaign has gained widespread support in Bahrain and around the world, which involved protests on the ground both in London and Seoul.  Participants in the campaign placed calls, and sent over 390,000 emails to the Korean government.  The action against Korean tear gas exports culminated in complaints lodged with the OECD, and five UN Special Rapporteurs, by a Bahrain Watch legal team.  The legal team consists of Michael Mansfield QC, Daniel Carey (DPG Law), Mark MacDonald, James Suzano (ADHRB), Ahmed Ali (Bahrain Watch), and Bahrain Watch interns Yousif al-Saraf, Nozgul Ali, and Ali Alibahai.

 

Since concerns have been raised that Korean companies could try to export a shipment ultimately destined for Bahrain through a third-party via another country, the legal team will continue to follow up with such legal complaints to prevent any third-party exports to the Bahraini government.  #StopTheShipment will also continue to target Bahrain’s other tear gas suppliers, including South African/German company Rheinmetall Denel Munitions.

 

Bahrain Watch issued the following statement:  “This suspension of tear gas shipments to Bahrain is a victory for human rights and a successful outcome for the #StopTheShipment campaign, which began in October. The South Korean government is wise to heed the calls of Bahrainis to end the export of tear gas to their government that has been systematically and routinely misusing it as a weapon oppression and collective punishment. We hope this step will be the beginning of the end to the untold suffering, the deaths, injuries and illnesses related to tear gas abuse. This is also a clear message to any other country considering supplying tear gas to the Bahraini government that profiting from repression is unacceptable.”

 

Sarah Waldron from Campaign Against the Arms Trade said: "This is a major victory for the human rights movement and shows what we can do when we work across borders and support each other. It is utterly unacceptable for any government to prioritise their short term sales over the safety and human rights of people living under oppression. This is a great result for the campaign, but we need to build on it and make sure that human rights are at the centre of our trading policies. Any government which supports arms sales to Bahrain is also offering moral and practical support to an authoritarian regime that is abusing its own citizens."

 

Solicitor Daniel Carey from the legal team said: “The South Korean Government’s decision doesn’t just reflect good governance. International human rights law requires states to prevent the supply of tear gas to countries such as Bahrain, which has deployed it against civilian populations causing systematic loss of life, inhuman treatment and disproportionate interferences with the freedoms of expression and assembly. Those obligations apply with equal force to any other state whose arms industry is now contemplating filling this 'gap in the market’. Our complaints to the UN Special Rapporteurs also apply to them.”

 

Bahrain Watch launched the #StopTheShipment campaign in cooperation with Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR).  Bahrain Watch is grateful for the widespread support from key partners and endorsers, without which the campaign could not have succeeded.

 

ٍSpecial thanks go to (in no particular order):

 

Deighton Pierce Glynn,  Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, Human Rights First, IFEX, Marietje Schaake MEP, Amnesty International, Lord Avebury (Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group), REDRESS, Omega Research Foundation, Ceartas: Irish Lawyers for Human Rights, Facing Tear Gas, MENA Solidarity Network, Banyan: SOAS Advocates, Linda @SE25A

 

Korean NGOs, including: Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), Amnesty International Korea, Anti-war Peace Solidarity Korea, Catholics for Human Rights, Citizen’s Solidarity for Peace and Unification, Committee for International Solidarity of Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Cultural Action, Daejeon Women’s Association for Peace, Friends of Peace, Gunsan Center for US Military Base Suffering, Imagination for International Solidarity, Korea Peace Foundation, Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union, Korean House for International Solidarity, LifePeace, Nanum Munhwa, Nonviolent Peaceforce Korea, Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute, One Korea Action, Palestine Peace & Solidarity in South Korea, Peace Forum of Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea, Peace Ground, Peace Museum, Peace Network, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, Sarangbang Group for Human Rights, The Frontiers, Weapon Zero, Women Making Peace, Workers’ Solidarity, World Without War, Young Left in Korea.

 

Korean Unified Progressive Party National Assembly members: Mi Hyui Kim, Sun Dong Kim, Jae Yeon Kim, Byung Yun Oh, Sang Kyu Lee, Seok Ki Lee.

 

Endorsers, including: Noam Chomsky, John Pilger (broadcaster and writer), David Graeber (Professor of Anthropology, LSE), Norman Finkelstein (academic and activist), Hamid Dabashi (Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature, Columbia University), David Barsamian (broadcaster and writer), As’ad Abukhalil (Professor of Political Science, California State), Andrew Feinstein (writer and former South African MP), Christie Turlington (model and activist), Prof. Costas Douzinas (Professor of Law, Birkbeck, University of London), Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition), David McKnight (UNISON), Azadeh Shahshahani, (President, National Lawyers Guild, USA), David Hartsough (Peaceworkers), George Monbiot (writer), Alaa AbdulFattah (blogger and activist, Egypt), Tony Lloyd (Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester and ex-Labour Party Chair).


Bahrain Watch is a monitoring and advocacy group that seeks to promote effective, accountable, and transparent governance in Bahrain through research and evidence-based advocacy.  For more info visit: https://bahrainwatch.org/about.asp

Bahrain: New year’s hope for Alkhalifa reign of terror to end

The new year has been celebrated by the Bahraini people with hope and anxiety. Their hopes are being raised every day by the big mistakes being committed by the regime that will prove fatal to its existence. The collective punishment, the attempt to eradicate the natives, distort the island’s history and the refusal to enact any form of reform are major errors of judgment on the part of the Alkhalifa clan. The new year is inspiring the revolutionaries to continue the struggle and persevere in eradicating the occupation by Alkhalifa and Al Saud.
 
The situation has now been made worse for those occupiers by targeting prominent figures who have been calming the situation. The arrest and interrogation of Sheikh Ali Salman[1], the Secretary General of Al Wefaq Society, on Saturday 28th December led to public anger and calls for demonstrations. Allies of the regime rushed to put pressure on the dictator to release Sheikh Salman immediately or risk serious escalation of anti-regime protests. After eight hours the cleric was released. He was accused of fomenting dissent and spreading anti-regime thoughts. One day earlier he had challenged one of the biggest fabrications by the Alkhalifa invaders made by the dictator himself. He had claimed that the bloody attack by his ancestors in 1783 had brought people to Islam; a claim that infuriated both the Shia and Sunni natives. These remarks have led to further polarization against Alkhalifa continued hegemony over the natives.
 
The crackdown against Bahrainis has continued unabated despite international calls for an end to human rights abuses. On Sunday 29th December a young man, Mohammad Jaffar[2], was snatched from the causeway on his way back from Iraq after a religious trip. There is also great concern for the life of Sayed Ali, from Tubli and 13[3] other Bahrainis detained from Bani Jamra, Kerrana and Hajar. Nothing has been heard of them since their arrest in the past few days. Also the father of detainee Hassan Zain Al Din[4] was arrested when he visited his son at the Dry Dock torture centre on Monday 30th December. A young boy, Hussain Jaffar Ali Fateel[5], 17, has also been snatched by Death Squads and taken to unknown location. Hassan Abdulla Al Ghasra[6], 18, is also in the hands of Death Squads since they had taken him few days ago.
 
A case of extreme criminality has also come to light. On 24th December[7], a group of youth from Karzakkan who had been in detention were approached by a member of a committee ostensibly formed to hear claims of torture. The officer used every possible means of threat, coercion and false promises of leniency to convince the youth to drop their complaint of torture. They vehemently refused to withdraw a legal case they had initiated through their lawyers and insisted that torturers be brought to justice. Last week one of the most notorious torturers was, once again, acquitted by the ruling family’s court despite overwhelming evidence of her involvement in sadistic torture. Noura Al Khalifa[8] had been accused by several female victims of torturing them. Dr Nada Dhaif and Ayat Al Qormuzi[9] came face to face with her during torture sessions, and positively identified her and accused her of severe forms of torture. Yet the dictator had no stomach to stop torture or serious ly prosecute any of his henchmen.
 
The Dublin-based Frontline Defenders issued an open letter[10] to Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja titled: You are not forgotten. It was written by its Executive Director, Mary Lawlor. It said; I know that you won't get this letter but I hope that you will at least hear of it. I just want you to know that you are not forgotten and that your friends and former colleagues in Front Line Defenders are thinking of you.Here in Ireland people are finishing up for the holidays and getting ready to spend time with their friends and families. I am deeply conscious of the fact that while you remain in prison , your daughter Zainab is also in prison and your other daughter Maryam has to continue her work for human rights in Bahrain from outside the country.
 
Human rights defenders pay a high price for their courage but governments should realise that they will be remembered for their crimes. Kingdoms may crumble and tyrants will fall, as in the end they inevitably do, but what survives is the strength and courage of ordinary people who cling to their principles and refuse to be beaten down by oppression.”
 
The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights[11] has issued a report expressing fear of torture and ill-treatment of four groups of Bahrainis arrested by the Alkhalifa ruling clan. After describing the Alkhalifa crimes against these groups it called for the following: The immediate reform of the judicial system to bring it to the international standards of a fair trial; An immediate end to the use of torture as a method to obtain confessions; To end impunity of torturers, release all prisoners in cases where the only evidence presented against them in court was confessions obtained under torture;
 
In criminal cases, allow independent and neutral observers to be involved in the proceedings to guarantee due process and to confirm that the crime took place.
 
Bahrain Freedom Movement
1st January 2014

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[1] http://alwefaq.net/cms/2013/12/28/25217/
 
[2] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/417997382328926208
 
[3] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/418002850522738688
 
[4] https://twitter.com/R14Feb/status/417971981271965696/photo/1
 
[5] https://twitter.com/BaniJamrah_News/status/417980446085873664
 
[6] https://twitter.com/BaniJamrah_News/status/417985055919583232
 
[7] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/418006964530978816
https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/418007690237853696
https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/418008134360109057
https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/418008608496820224
https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/418007209713217537
 
[8] https://twitter.com/SAlwadaei/status/415026124700540928
 
[9] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXdOyjVxevM
 
[10] http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/24543
 
[11] http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/6685

Bahrain: religious persecution continues, calls to investigate torture

In a flagrant attack on religious freedom, the Alkhalifa regime has summoned the heads[1]of three Hussaini Oration Centres to attend the prosecution centre where many others had been tortured before. The heads of Bin Khamis and Sanabis mourning halls have been asked to attend the prosecutor’s office, which has become one of the main abusers of human rights in Bahrain. This follows the strong public participation in the mourning processions in the past few days to mark the Arba’een (Fourtieth Day after Imam Hussain’s martyrdom). Some anti-regime sentiments were expressed in those processions as people remembered their own dead, wounded and imprisoned by the Alkhalifa enemy.

Meanwhile the attacks on native Bahrainis have continued. In the early hours of this morning at least five[2] people were arrested; Sayed Mohammad Sayed Aqeel Al Mousawi, Salman Al Mawt, Baqir Ibrahim Khamis, Ali Hassan Al Tabbal and Hussain Ra’id from Sanabis.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has issued a special report on the abuse of children[3] by the ruling Alkhalifa clan. It mentioned two boys aged thirteen years; Sayed Hashim Alawi and Sayed Tamim Majid. On 7th December they were arrested for taking part in anti-regime protests, but their detention has been repeatedly renewed and are still behind bars. They were accused of planning to overthrow the Alkhalifa regime by force. On 20th December Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action[4] about the two boys. It said: “Cousins Sayed Tameem Majed Ahmad Majed and Sayed Hashim Alwai Ahmad Majed  were arrested on 7 December in the north-western village of Bani Jamra, and taken to the police station in al-Budaya, Manama, in two separate incidents. Sayed Tameem, who turned 13 on 19 December, was arrested at about 3.10pm in front of his grandparents’ house about 15 minutes after he had arrived with his family, for a visit, and while he was playing with a young er cousin. He had run away after seeing a police patrol car approaching, but his family did not see him being arrested. They were later told by eyewitnesses that he had been taken away by a police patrol. Sayed Hashim, aged 13, was arrested at about 3.45pm near his grandparents’ house while on his way to a nearby shop”. It also called for protecting the two children from torture and forming an independent commission to examine torture claims.

At another level, seven[5] human rights bodies have written a letter to Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Mr Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion. It said: The Media Legal Defence Initiative, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights, Gulf Centre for Human Rights and Reporters Without Borders (“the signatory organisations”) respectfully request that you consider investigating the claims set out in this letter of allegation in relation to the arrest, detention and torture of Mr Hassan, Mr Hubail, and Mr Zain Aldeen. The arrest and detention of all three men was also the subject of an urgent appeal made by the Media Legal Defence Initiative, English PEN and Article 19 to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression dated 6 August 2013, which was copied to the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

All three men face trial on charges relating to their activities reporting on recent protests against the government of Bahrain and were arrested within a few days of each other. All three have reported that they were subject to torture while detained in the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID), which has been the subject of numerous other allegations of torture and illtreatment. Mr Hubail and Mr Zain Aldeen remain in detention. Mr Hassan was released on bail at the beginning of October 2013.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
25th December 2013

Bahrain: Martyrs Day commemorated, children persecuted

The Martyrs Day was marked by Bahraini people on Tuesday 17th December in their revolutionary styles of protests, demonstration, visits to martyrs families and graves of those murdered by the Alkhalifa regime. On Tuesday night most towns and villages were engaged in an activity in one form or another to mark the occasion which has become rallying point for anti-regime activism for the past two decades. On 17th December 1994 two Bahraini youths were shot by police using live bullets. It was the beginning of the longest-ever uprising that continued until 2000. Hani Khamis and Hani Al Wasti were demonstrating against the regime in two separate locations (Jidhafs and Sanabis) when they were shot. Since then annual demonstrations continued to mark the “Martyrs Day”. On that day in 2007 another martyr was killed. Ali Jassim, 22, lost his life after he had taken part in a demonstration to mark the day. The regime’s forces took harsh measures in a desperate attem pt to stop the country-wide protests. But it failed. To revenge that the regime’s forces stormed the residential areas in Aali, Duraz, Bani Jamra, Sitra and other towns, arrested people and raided many homes. Among the detained is Isa Al Aali from Manama who had been taken away to unknown location, where torture is routine, especially the secret houses in various locations.

In UK, the Bahraini opposition organized several events including a special service for the martyrs at one of the mosques, protests outside Downing Street and the Saudi Embassy, a demonstrations on Saturday 14th December, a roundtable discussion among Bahraini human rights bodies at the Headquarters of Human Rights Watch (Monday 16th December) and a seminar at the House of Lords on Tuesday 17th December. Lord Avebury chaired the event at the House of Lords saying that the situation in Bahrain has now sunk further into repression and dictatorship. He criticized the UK government for failing to support the people and continuing to receive Bahrain’s dictators. A prominent Human Rights lawyer, Daniel Carey of London-based Pierce Deighton Glynn law firm talked of his work trying to stop the 1.6 million gas canisters to be supplied by a South Korean company to Bahrain’s brutal regime. Sarah Walden of the Campaign Against Arms Trade  said that the  UK is lik ely to approve more arms deals to Bahrain, thus offering legitimacy to the regime. When Bahrain buys UK arms, she said, it knows that it buys UK silence too.  Jawad Fairooz , a former MP from Al Wefaq block talked about the significance of the Martyrs Day and called for concrete international action to bring those responsible for human rights violations in Bahrain to justice. Mrs Jalila Ni’ma, the aunt of Martyr Ali Ni’ma talked about the ordeals of the martyrs families and how they are persecuted to the limit. She called on the world to exert pressure on the regime to stop this persecution and prosecute killers of their sons instead.

A special report by Amnesty International published this week described how Bahrain’s children have become victims of regime’s brutality. The report said that children are being routinely detained, ill-treated and tortured. It provides an insight into the secret world of the Alkhalifa dungeons where children are subjected to horrific torture including beating and rape.

The use of public relations firms in UK and USA by the Alkhalifa regime is increasing with people’s wealth lavishly spent to defend the hereditary dictatorship.  According to John Horne of Bahrain Watch, the Washington-based PR company, Qorvis was paid  $239,844 by Bahrain Embassy in US between April and  September this year. An article by former Bahrain Ambassador to US in The Hill was secured by PR firm Qorvis. He also said: I have found out today that one of Bahrain's favorite UK PR firms “Gardant Communications” is now called Meade Hall & Associates.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
18th December 2013

Saudis and Alkhalifa slapped by other GCC states at Manama Dialogue

The Manama Dialogue[1] which has been used by the ruling Alkhalifa clan as flagship to prove international stature turned into a nightmare when it was held on Friday 6th December. First came the “Omani bomb[2]” when the Sultanate’s Foreign Minister, Yousuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdulla, announced his country’s flat rejection of the Saudi-proposed “Gulf Union”. The audience was stunned by such flagrant announcement at a forum that had been hoped to bolster the fledgling political status of Saudi Arabia that has been seeking to dominate the region. The Omani senior official elaborated further saying that if the proposed union was formed Oman would withdraw from the Gulf Cooperation Council. Two days later Kuwait announced its rejection of the Union. Qatar is unlikely to agree to a Union that would allow the Saudis free hand in their internal and external affairs. The Saudi invasion and occupation of Bahrain has awakened other Gulf monarchies to their vulnerability to Saudi aggression and their greed to grab more lands from their neighbours. This week there have been skirmishes on the Saudi-Yemeni borders after the Saudis attempted to occupy oil-reach Yemeni lands.

Another negative outcome of the “Manama Dialogue” has been the media interest in the Bahraini Revolution. Foreign journalists who went to Bahrain ignored the hopeless forum and, instead, attended the anti-regime activities. On 8th December The Sunday Times[3] published a report titled: Tear gas replaces talk in Bahrain’s ‘liberal oasis’, with a clarifying paragraph saying: “As the royal family of Bahrain receives William Hague and other western ministers, it is accused of cracking down on all opposition”

In another serious attack on free expression, the Alkhalifa court sentenced a senior physician to long-term sentence for expressing his opinion about Bahrain’s dictator. Dr Saeed Al Samaheeji[4], was sentenced to one year in jail for criticizing the ruler who is becoming more despotic and aggressive against Bahrainis. Many others are serving jail sentences for expressing their opinion about the regime. Earlier this year the Alkhalifa clan issued a law banning people from tweeting against the hereditary dictatorship. Since then many young men and women have been given jail terms for this “offence”. Under such regime hopes of a peaceful solution to the political crisis have been dashed. For most native Bahrainis the only way out is regime change.

An attack last night on the town of Bani Jamra by masked members of the regime’s Death Squads resulted in many house raids and scores of arrests. Families were frightened in the early hours of the morning as those criminal gangs smashed homes of Bahrainis. A young man, Abdul Amir Abdul Nabi Al Mahfoodh[5], from the town was arrested on 8th December. Another man was tortured and abused as he was being arrested from Bani Jamra. Jaffar Hussain Mohammad[6] was severely beaten by members of the Death Squads as he was being arrested. A Bahraini youth from the town of Nuwaidrat, Redha Ali Ahmad MalAllah[7] was snatched from his home on 7th December and transferred to the Dry Dock torture centre.

The International Human Rights Day[8] yesterday was commemorated by the regime with more arrests, torture and abuse. As several prominent Bahrainis continued their hunger strike[9] for the tenth day, the dictator has ordered their detention for arbitrary periods of 30 and 45 days. Among them are Makki Abu Taki, Jawad Al Sheikh, (Both are fathers of martyrs), Hussain Jawad[10], and Najeeb Abu Taki[11]. Another Bahraini whose torture had been highlighted few weeks ago has been given extra jail sentence. Talib Ali[12] who is falsely accused of sabotage has been repeatedly sentenced to a total of 50 years in jail.

Meanwhile Bahrain Watch[13] which is following the most controversial deal by a South Korean company has issued urgent appeals to UN OHCHR to Stop Tear Gas Shipment. The monitoring body lodged complaints with several United Nations Special Rapporteurs, as part of the ongoing #StopTheShipment campaign to stop a shipment of South Korean tear gas to Bahrain. The complaints request that the Special Rapporteurs take urgent action to halt further shipments of tear gas to Bahrain, and investigate the legality of previous shipments of South Korean tear gas.  The complaints argue that Bahrain’s government has used previous shipments of tear gas to violate the freedoms of association, expression and movement, and for systematic repression that amounts to degrading and inhuman treatment and collective punishment.  Separate complaints were sent to: The Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, The Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killing and The Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
11th December 2013

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[1] http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Middle_East/article1350091.ece

[2] http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/12/oman-rejects-gcc-union-insults-saudi-arabia.html#

[3] http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Middle_East/article1350091.ece

[4] https://twitter.com/NABEELRAJAB/status/410702195060121600

[5] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/410261109799546880

[6] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/410070228551618560

[7] https://twitter.com/NuwaidratFeb/status/410056792866308097

[8] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/410416778875920385

[9] https://twitter.com/NABEELRAJAB/status/410352448788631552

[10] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/410468502005223424

[11] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/410334254967828480

[12] https://twitter.com/NABEELRAJAB/status/410703359952576512

[13] https://bahrainwatch.org/blog/2013/12/10/urgent-appeals-to-un-ohchr-to-stop-tear-gas-shipment/

Bahrain: Support by Western backers encourages Alkhalifa torture policy

The body of Ali Aqeel Abdulla Marhoon[1], 18, carries the marks of sadistic torture inflicted on him two days ago. The Bahraini youth was walking on his own just before sunset on Tuesday 3rd December in the middle of his town, Al Sanabis, when he was abducted. Several masked men belonging to Alkhalifa Death Squads jumped out of a civilian vehicle, grabbed him and forced him into the car. Six hours later, at 1.30 AM he was dumped at the graveyard[2] of Barbar’s town, four kilometres to the West of Sanabis. His mutilated body indicated the horrific torture he had endured at a secret torture house used by Hamad’s thugs. His father took him to Salmaniya Hospital which is run by the military. The officers asked his father to sign an undertaking not to reveal anything about what had happened to his son in return for treatment. This is just one of the latest of the episodes of torture. It happened three days before the “Manama Dialogue”, organised to mask the real face of the Alkhalifa dictatorship.

A week ago a young Bahraini youth, Ahmad Abdul Ameer[3], from Aali Town, died at the same hospital. He had suffered burns to his body resulting from an exchange with the foreign-staffed riot police. His condition was not life-threatening when he was taken to the hospital. The military officials at Salmaniya are now adopting a policy of liquidating anyone who is brought to the hospital for treatment from injuries incurred in demonstrations. Because it is managed by the military, Salmaniya is the only hospital allowed to receive Bahrainis injured in clashes with the police or Death Squads. There were serious clashes both at his burial and at the end of the three days of mourning. People chanted anti-regime slogans including: “People want regime change” and “Down with Hamad[4]”.

Nabeel Rajab[5], the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has been denied the right to be released after serving three quarters of his two years prison sentence. On Monday 2nd December, the Alkhalifa court refused the request by his lawyers saying he was not eligible for early release. The regime is exacting maximum revenge on Bahrainis opposing its dictatorship and calling for transformation to democracy.

Last week a legal team of British and American human rights lawyers, solicitors and barristers, assembled by advocacy organization Bahrain Watch[6], filed a formal complaint with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) National Contact Point (NCP) in Korea against Dae Kwang Chemical Corporation. The company is believed to be originating the shipment. The complaint requests that the NCP respond within 7 days to clarify whether it is prepared to act to prevent exports in this regard. Dae Kwang has admitted to supplying approximately 1 million tear gas canisters to Bahrain in 2011-2012, and the Korean National Police Agency told Amnesty Korea that over 1.5 million tear gas units have been exported to Bahrain since 2011. A journalist who contacted Korea’s tear gas export authority, DAPA, was told that DAPA had recently received a request from an unnamed Korean company to export more tear gas to Bahrain. A leaked tender document released by Bahrain W atch last month shows that the Bahrain Government apparently intends to acquire 1.6 million more canisters.

On Wednesday 4th December a Bahraini youth confirmed that he had been severely tortured and forced to sign false confessions. Two years ago Ali Al Taweel[7] was sentenced to death for his alleged role in the death of a policeman. The regime failed to produce compelling evidence and the sentence was seen as another case of brutal revenge against Bahraini natives. He is illiterate but was forced to sign the pre-prepared statement. In the past two years he and his family have endured enormous pains and ill-treatment. His family blame Alkhalifa Western friends for encouraging them to commit heinous crimes against humanity.

Many people have been detained in the past few days. At dawn yesterday, Ali Al Hayki, from Bilad Al Qadeem was arrested from his home and taken to unknown location. Ahmad Falah[8] was snatched by masked militia men from his home in Maqaba town.  More than 15 people were arrested on Wednesday from various parts of the country. At least 12 were from Duraz Town.

Meanwhile the fathers of  martyr Mahmood Abu TAki[9], martyr Ali Jawsad Al Sheikh[10] and detainee Hussain Jawad[11] have been on hunger strike for the past three days. They are protesting against the increasing repression by the Alkhalifa dictators.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
‪5th December 2013

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[1] http://instagram.com/p/hg4FlFFdLf/
 
[2] http://bhmirror.no-ip.biz/news/12263.html
 
[3] https://twitter.com/esanabis/status/406727684656353280
 
[4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSm-at5fmOo&feature=youtu.be
 
[5] https://twitter.com/NABEELRAJAB/status/408625519572578304
 
[6] https://bahrainwatch.org/blog/2013/11/26/rights-groups-take-legal-action-to-stop-korean-tear-gas-shipment/
 
[7] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/408186825963229184
 
[8] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/408146332264976384
 
[9] https://twitter.com/NABEELRAJAB/status/405684187362897920
 
[10] https://twitter.com/AliAlshe5/status/404695715730817024
 
[11] https://twitter.com/Eagertobefree/status/408139643990061056

Bahrain: Torture intensifies two years after BICI said it was “systematic”

Torture is rampant in Bahrain, despite the passage of two years after the publication of the BICI damning report that confirmed that torture in Bahrain was “systematic”. The main recommendations of that report have not been implemented especially those related to ending impunity and discrimination against more than 70 percent of the population. Today, a Bahraini detainee pointed to one of the “prosecutors” present at the court saying: “He had forced me to sign false confessions and tortured me”.  The “judge” who is himself an enemy of the victim ordered the immediate removal of the victim from the court. The lawyer of the group on trial, Mohsin Al Alawi[1], said that he had asked the “judge” to order examination of the victims on trial for torture marks but he waited more than two months until most torture marks disappeared. Another victim, Sajjad Al Alawi[2] was convicted on basis of false confessions signed un der torture. His lawyer had asked the “judge” to examine him for torture marks but he refused to do so. Another victim of torture at the hands of one of the prosecutors is Talib Ali[3]. He was asked by the prosecutor to sign the confessions or he would be returned to the torture cells. The boy shouted: I am not signing on something I had not done. The prosecutor became angry, pointed his gun[4] to the victim’s face threatening to kill him, but the victim refused to sign. The prosecutor threw the cigarette ashtray on the victim.

In the early hours of 17th November Ebrahim Marhoon[5] was abducted from his home and taken to unknown location. Several others have been summoned to the torture rooms at the prosecution office. Among them is an elderly citizen[6] who is a keen protester despite his age. He was threatened with serious revenge if he continued his protests. Also the fathers of the two martyrs; Sayed Hashim Sayed Saeed and Yaseen Al Asfoor were summoned to receive more threats and asked to stop calling for the prosecution of the killers of their sons. Another senior figure received the same treatment. Sheikh Ali bin Ahmad Al Jidhafsi[7] was also summoned and threatened by the prosecution office whose members also administer torture on Bahrainis.

The Alkhalifa regime has refused to allow representative of the international human rights bodies entry to the country to observe the trial of human rights activist: Naji Fateel[8]. The judicial system is tightly controlled by the royal court and its sessions are held under strict conditions. These courts have become a trap for many detainees who would be tortured severely after their trial if they contradicted the charges laid against them. They have no right to seek examination for torture marks or withdraw their consent to confessions drawn under torture.

In the past two weeks Bahrain became “theatre of operations” with running battles between Bahrainis and Alkhalifa troops and members of Death Squads. This year those mercenaries wreaked havoc in the country; tearing banners[9] and terrorising natives who held religious commemorations for the martyrs of Karbala and Bahrain. Police were video-taped removing banners, flags and images depicting the state-terrorism implemented against opponents of the state whether during Imam Hussain’s time or in today’s life. Bahrainis were incensed by these sectarian attacks by foreigner mercenaries.

On 17th November The Washington Post[10] published an editorial titled: Bahrain crackdown intensifies amid U.S. retreat”. The paper said:  In keeping with Mr. Obama’s new policy, the administration has ignored the Bahraini crackdown. As the president put it, “the United States will at times work with governments that do not meet, at least in our view, the highest international expectations, but who work with us on our core interests.” The paper ended its editorial saying: Mr. Obama’s 2011 speech spelled them out:

“A strategy based solely upon the narrow pursuit of these interests will not fill an empty stomach or allow someone to speak their mind. Moreover, failure to speak to the broader aspirations of ordinary people will only feed the suspicion that has festered for years that the United States pursues our interests at their expense.”

On Tuesday 19th November, BBC[11] website published an article titled: (Bahrain opposition leadership “systematically targeted” BY Leana Hosea). It highlighted the regime’s attempts to split the opposition by claiming that part of it is engaged in terrorism. The writer quoted Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq Society, who blamed the regime for ill-treatment of Bahrainis and becoming more dictatorial.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
21st November 2013

------------------------------

---

[1] http://bhmirror.no-ip.biz/news/12057.html

[2] https://twitter.com/SMohsinAlalawi/status/403084858970607617

[3] https://twitter.com/talib_09/status/401768584499986432

[4] https://twitter.com/talib_09/status/401768956194979840

[5] https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/401904126365155328

[6] http://manamavoice.com/news-news_read-16268-0.html

[7] https://twitter.com/JidhafsNews/status/402084239673266176

[8] http://www.fidh.org/en/north-africa-middle-east/bahrain/14238-bahrain-lawyer-mandated-by-international-human-rights-ngos-denied-entry-to

[9] https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/402002672536260608

[10] http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bahrain-crackdown-intensifies-amid-us-retreat/2013/11/16/a5377240-4d5c-11e3-ac54-aa84301ced81_story.html
 
[11] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24999699

Bahrain: Attacks on religious practices, persecution of opponents

As the Ashura processions and fervor were intensifying the regime’s forces waged several attacks to intimidate Bahrainis who have observed the occasion for centuries, long before the Alkhalifa occupied Bahrain. On Wednesday 13th November a wooden boat made to represent the salvation offered by following the Holy Prophet’s progeny was confiscated by members of the Death Squads operated by the royal court.[1] They defaced the structure and threatened more abuse of Bahrainis if they tried to prevent the attacks on religious practices and symbols of native citizens. Documented videotaped evidence showing regime’s thugs tearing and defacing banners in the streets of towns and villages have convinced Bahrainis that the Al Khalifa and Al Saud were out to uproot the native Bahrainis, their culture and religious rituals [2].The situation was made more tense when Alkhalifa interior minister, Rashid bin Abdulla Alkhalifa threatened the Hussaini congregation Halls of mo re reprisals and revenge after the season has ended. His threats implied that centuries old religious practices by over 70 percent of the population are a threat to others without specifying further. Bahrainis have defied the occupiers and took to the streets, defeating the regime’s thugs and Death Squads. They are now more emboldened to continue their Revolution to achieve fundamental political change in the country and rid it of the hereditary dictatorship. One of the main mouthpieces of the occupiers, Al Watan newspaper, has been beating drums of war urging the Death Squads to attack Bahrainis.

 The attacks and intimidation of natives have continued unabated over the past few days. On 13th November, two Bahrainis returning from Kuwait were arrested at the airport [3]. Sayed Ali Sayed Salman and Hussain Ashoor were snatched and taken to unknown destination. It is feared that they may have been taken to the torture houses which are not listed official offices. All police stations have denied holding the two citizens. They have not been allowed either to contact their families or their lawyers. On the same day, a young Bahraini, Sajjad Al Alawi, 23, was arrested and tortured [4]. Another young Bahraini was also kidnapped. Amin Ma’tooq [5] from Iskan Aali was kidnapped on 11th November but nothing has been heard about him since.

Concern is rising for the well being of Ahmad Al Biladi and Akbar Ali [6] from Bilad Al Qadeem after they were sentenced to five years in jail on trumpeted charges. Their total sentences are now 8 and 34 years respectively after they had been convicted of other charges.
On Sunday 10th November Alkhalifa court sentence two men  to life in prison and two others to 15 years for an alleged car bomb attack outside a mosque in July [7] No one was hurt in the explosion outside a mosque in al-Riffa, south of the capital Manama, where some members of the royal family live. The mosque was not in use at the time as it is used only for official functions. Observers who checked the images released by the regime said they found no destruction resulting from the alleged explosion; no shattered glass or twisted metal. The place was clean and neat.

One year after the Bahraini authorities had revoked the nationality of 31 opposition figures, Amnesty International [8] has called for its reinstatement. It said: “Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior must immediately rescind the decision to strip 31 members of the opposition of their Bahraini nationality made a year ago”. Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East Programme, said: “Stripping away the nationality of government critics shows that the Bahraini authorities continue to lash out and discredit anyone they deem a threat. Instead of addressing the criticism leveled against them, the authorities have found no other way to respond than depriving Bahraini citizens of their nationality.”

On another level the health of several jailed political leaders is rapidly deteriorating as a result of ill-treatment and lack of proper medical care. Mr Abdul Wahab Hussain suffers serious medical problems that have prompted several human rights bodies to demand immediate care for him. On 8th November Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action [9] calling for his immediate release and provision of proper medical care. It urges the Bahraini  authorities “to provide ‘Abdelwahab Hussain urgent specialised medical care; calls on  them to grant him immediate and regular access to his family; and urges  them to release all 13 opposition activists immediately and unconditionally, since they are prisoners of conscience, convicted solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
15th November 2013
 
---------------------------------

https://twitter.com/NABEELRAJAB/status/400558582757728256/photo/1

http://www.anhri.net/?p=85461

https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/400567550422945793

https://twitter.com/BahrainRights/status/400436744895873024

https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/400610175834259457

https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/399950752686157824

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/10/us-bahrain-court-idUSBRE9A908H20131110

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/bahrain-must-urgently-reinstate-nationality-31-opposition-figures-2013-11-05

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/055/2013/en

Bahrain: After tear gas and jobs, medical care is weaponised

The health of one of the most prominent leaders of Bahrain’s Revolution had deteriorated because of ill-treatment and repression by Alkhalifa ruling family. Abdul Wahab Hussain, 59, is suffering from chronic paresthesia (tingling and numbness) affecting his nerves and has difficulty moving. He is sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in calling for fundamental political reforms. Two other senior figures also suffer from serious illnesses but receive no real medical treatment. Hassan Mushaima, 65, had been treated for Cancer but received no remission treatment since his arrest in March 2011. Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace suffers from Polio since birth but has also developed heart problems and high blood pressure. They are all denied suitable medical treatment. When international pressure mounts on them they take them to the clinic but no further treatment is given afterwards unless more pressure is mounted. Today Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action [1] which said: “Prisoner of conscience ‘Abdelwahab Hussain, one of the 13 jailed prominent Bahraini opposition activists, needs urgent access to specialised medical treatment. His health condition has deteriorated and his family’s last scheduled visit to the prison was cancelled without explanation.” AI also called for the immediate and unconditional release of Bahrain 13; the jailed leaders of the Revolution.

Denying detainees the necessary medical care is being used as a weapon by the Alkhalifa against Bahrainis. On 5th November Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action [2] on the case of Hussain Hubail and Hassan Sudayf. Both are charged with, among other thins, using social media networks to incite hatred of the regime and calling on people to ignore the law. Hussain Hubail has a heart condition and he fears he is not receiving adequate medical treatment. His health has deteriorated since his detention and he suffers from shortness of breath and frequently loses consciousness. He has been given medication by the prison clinic and was taken at least once before to hospital. However he told his family that his medication is being given to him randomly and he does not know what the medication is. Amnesty called for their immediate release, grating them access to medical treatment and investing their torture ordeals.

Meanwhile the regime’s kangaroo courts have been in full swing, issuing lengthy jail sentences against activists and protesters, some of whom are children. Hussain Ali [3], 15, has been sentence to two years imprisonment charged with taking parts in illegal gathering and protesting against the ruling family.

Concern is mounting for the plight of Ahmad Jum’a [4], from Al Malikiya, who had been snatched by members of Death Squads two weeks ago. No news have been received about him and his family is seriously worried about his condition.

The STOP THE SHIPMENT [5] campaign against the supply by South Korea of more than 1.6 million chemical and tear gas canisters to Alkhalifa has continued unabated. South Korean activists have joined the campaign with protests and letter writing to demand an immediate halt to the shipments. In London, protesters stood for two hours [6] outside Downing Street yesterday to call for cancellation of the deal. South Korean Prime Minister had a two hours meeting with UK’s Prime Minister and was surprised to see protesters challenging her decision to export these lethal weapons to Bahrain where more than 60 people have been killed with those gases.
AS the first anniversary of the revocation of the Bahraini nationality of 31 Bahraini natives approached, a Press Conference was held at the House of Lords on Tuesday 5th November. Lord Avebury invited the Press cover the proceedings of the Conference which was addressed by human rights experts, victims and international law experts. Letters were sent to world leaders calling on them to take action against the rogue regime of the Alkhalifa who has weaponised every aspect of society, including nationality, jobs and medical care.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
8th November 2013

-------------------------------------------------------------------

1 http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/055/2013/en

2 http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/054/2013/en

3 https://twitter.com/byshr/status/397704419661611008

4 https://twitter.com/SAIDYOUSIF/status/397645608233992192

5 http://stoptheshipment.org

6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6SPK5AOkVY

Bahrain: Stop the Shipment campaign continues amid more casualties

 As the details of the proposed sale of 1.6 million chemical and tear gas canisters emerged more international groups have joined Bahrain Watch[1] in urging the South Korean authorities to stop it. In addition to Human Rights Watch[2] and Amnesty International[3] Korea office did an urgent action; Korean activists have staged protests and held a press conference organized by 31 Korean NGOs[4] calling for the shipment of these lethal gases to stop. They held a rally at Korea DAPA (teargas export authority) asking them to Stop The Shipment of teargas to Bahrain.


Bahrain: Two new martyrs, more kidnappings and deeper repression

Within a week two Bahrainis were killed by the regime’s Death Squads and security forces. First came the martyrdom of Hussain Mahdi Habib, 20, from Sitra Al Kharijiya on Saturday 19th October. He was subjected to violent attack by members of the regime’s Death Squads, near A Malkiya Beach. He had earlier been sentenced to 15 years in jail for taking part in anti-regime protests and was able to escape from Alkhalifa torture chambers. Then came the brutal killing of Ali Khalil Al Sabbagh, 17, from Bani Jamra on Tuesday 22nd October. He was hit by plain-clothed members of the Death Squads using a strong “sound shot” that hit him in the neck. He was on his way to his home to get some food as he has been living in hiding for some time. More than 1000 Bahrainis have escaped Alkhalifa terror and are hiding in various places. His injuries confirm that he had been hit in the neck, contrary to the regime’s claim that he was carrying a “bomb” wh ich exploded and killed him. He was buried on Wednesday in the presence of thousands of people who were subsequently subjected to a vicious attack by riot police using chemical and tear gases.

As this state violence continues, so are the repressive measures being implemented by the regime. In addition to the excessive use of chemical and tear gases on civilian areas, the daily raids on homes have increased dramatically in the recent weeks. In the early hours of Thursday 24th October, at least ten citizens were abducted from their homes in the towns of Samaheej and Aali. On Tuesday more sentences were issued by the Alkhalifa-controlled judiciary. Four Bahrainis, Mohammad Abdul Amir Mushaima, Hussain Abdul Ghani, Ahmad Abdul Amir and Jassim Al Saffar were sentenced to ten years in jail each. One day earlier, Five years sentences were passed on Mohammad Ibrahim Al Masjan, Ali Ibrahim Al Sayegh and Ali Jaffar from Maqsha Town for their role in anti-regime protests.

The repression inside the torture dungeons has also intensified with raids on cells and beating of detainees. Family visits have also been curtailed. Today, the families were stranded for long times as they wanted to visit their sons languishing behind bars. They were ill-treated and threatened without justification. The two prominent figures; Hassan Mushaima and Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace have remained isolated from the world and denied urgent medical care for their serious illnesses including cancer, heart and neurological ailments. They have not been allowed family visits for more than seven months. Also, Zainab Al Khawaja, one of the most prominent human rights activists in the country has been summoned by her torturers and informed of a new trumpeted charge against her. The intention is to ensure that she stayed much longer in torture dungeons.

But perhaps the most significant development of the week has been the international campaign against shipment of up to 2 million chemical and tear gas canisters from South Korea to Bahrain’s ruling family. The campaign started after an official document from Bahrain’s ministry of the interior was leaked. It contains a list of up to 1.8 million gas canisters wanted by the Alkhalifa regimes from South Korea. News media and human rights bodies have condemned the deal and called upon the Government of South Korea to stop their shipment. The Financial Times, The Independent and New York Times published some details of the clandestine deals between South Korea and the Alkhalifa hereditary dictatorship. Several human rights bodies took up the issue and called for its annulment. More than 70 people have died as a consequence of such deals. Protests were held outside South Korean Embassy in London and petitions were signed calling for an immediate halt to the shipment of t hose lethal weapons.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
25 October 2013

South Korea must stop providing Bahrain with killer tear gas

It has been reported that the Government of South Korea is supplying Bahrain’s regime with large amounts of chemical and tear gas canisters. This is a big blow to human rights principles and to codes of decent human relations. While crowd-control equipment may be supplied to governments, it becomes a criminal act when they are given to a regime that has “weaponised” them.

In August 2012 Physicians For Human Rights confirmed that the Bahraini regime had done exactly that.

http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/weaponizing-tear-gas.html



In January 2012 Amnesty International issued a report on the subject titled “Bahrain’s use of tear gas against protesters increasingly deadly”.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/bahrain-s-use-tear-gas-against-protesters-increasingly-deadly-2012-01-26

 It is thus an outrageous move by your Government to agree to supply more than 1.6 tear gas canisters to a country whose native population does not exceed half of that number. A secret document from Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior contains some details of the proposed stockpiling of tear gas canisters for use against peaceful demonstrators.

https://bahrainwatch.org/blog/2013/10/16/leaked-document-shows-massive-new-tear-gas-shipment-planned-for-bahrain/

Last year the tear gas used against Bahraini demonstrators was tested by Dublin University medical team and concluded that the CS gas used is up to 10-times more toxic than in normal teargas canisters.

http://www.bravo-bahrain.org/irish-university-tests-bahrain-cs-gas/?lang=en

In the past 30 months more than 70 Bahrainis have died as a result of inhaling tear gases fired by security forces on protesters. Images of their corpses show how horrible their death had been.

 It is suggested that South Korea may be the source of these weaponised items.

We urge you to support our campaign to halt the sale of these lethal weapons, and call on South Korean Government to establish an inquiry into this and previous deals to Bahrain’s regime and offer an explanation of the continued economic and political dealing with a regime that had been found by its own Commission of Inquiry to be engaged in “systematic torture”. Pro-democracy protesters do not deserve to be exterminated by those lethal weapons.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
18th October 2013

Bahrain: Imported chemical and tear gases twice the population

Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior is planning to import 1.6 million tear gas canisters and 90,000 tear gas grenades, according to a leaked document, published Wednesday 17th October by research and advocacy group Bahrain Watch.  The document -- apparently a tender issued by the Ministry of Interior’s Purchasing Directorate -- shows that Bahrain’s security forces are stockpiling massive amounts of tear gas, despite serious concerns of international NGOs and the United Nations Human Rights Council.  These groups have called Bahrain’s use of tear gas "unnecessary and indiscriminate", and “lethal”.  This planned new shipment will supply Bahrain with more tear gas canisters than the entire population of the country. Efforts are underway to challenge this massive deal which has confirmed what the opposition had claimed; the Alkalifa are there to kill, maim and torture as many Bahrainis as possible.

The ferocity of repression was laid bare in recent days.  Yesterday regime’s security forces attacked peaceful protests in many areas causing serious injuries. The intensification of repressive attacks by those forces are desperate measures to stem the deepening political and humanitarian crisis engulfing the country. At the end of the three-days mourning of last weeks’ martyr, Yousuf Al Nashmi, 31, at Al Musalla Town, the funeral service was attacked by regime’s forces using chemical and tear gases and shotguns against participants. A young man from Karzakkan Town received a direct hit fired by the police using shotguns. He has been admitted to intensive care as his condition remains critical. He suffers broken skull and severe internal bleeding.

Many Bahraini youth have been detained in the past week. Among them is Mohammad Al Nashaba, 21 who was snatched from his house in the early hours of the Eid Day, Tuesday 15th October. Another youth, Jaffar Al Wada’ei, 19, was also snatched from his home and taken to Alkhalifa torture dungeons. 

On 14th October, Foreign Policy website has published an article titled “Ignoring Bahrain’s iron fist”. It was written by Sarah Margon, acting Washington director at Human Rights Watch and Mary Laurie, a fellow in the Human Rights Watch Washington office. It said: “For two years, as the United States has condemned massive abuses of protesters throughout the Middle East, it has largely turned a blind eye to equally horrific treatment in Bahrain, a small but significant ally. As the situation in Manama shows no sign of abating, the United States needs to step up its game -- before it's too late.” After detailing America’s stands on Bahrain in the past two years including what President Obama said in his address at the UN recently, it concluded: “If the United States is trying to gain leverage with Bahrain's rulers by limiting its criticism, there is no evidence that this app roach is making a difference. In fact, it appears to be making a bad situation worse.”

Although the regime’s forces are committing atrocious crimes against Bahrainis every day, only a portion of those crimes are documented. The link below shows how those forces are waging war against Bahraini natives. The crime which has been recorded took place at Al Ekr Town. Those forces prefer to commit their crimes on the secluded roofs of houses they raid without legal permission. A similar video was broadcast about a similar crime at Alaker Town last year.

Meanwhile, the protests have continued in most parts of the country under different mottos. The regime’s failure to contain the situation or defeat the Revolution has taken the struggle steps ahead and created more pressure on Alkhalifa’s allies especially Washington. The protest on Tuesday to mark the end of the commemoration service of Martyr Yousuf Al Nashmi, has proven beyond doubt that the people are clear in their minds about what they want, and possess power and carriage to counter the regime’s mouthpieces.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

18th October 2013

Leaked Document Shows Massive New Tear Gas Shipment Planned for Bahrain

Number of Tear Gas Canisters in Shipment is Larger Than Bahrain's Total Population

Manama Bahrain's Ministry of Interior is planning to import 1.6 million tear gas canisters and 90,000 tear gas grenades, according to a leaked document , published today by the research and advocacy group Bahrain Watch. The document - apparently a tender issued by the Ministry of Interior's Purchasing Directorate - shows that Bahrain's security forces are stockpiling massive amounts of tear gas, despite serious concerns of international NGOs and the United Nations Human Rights Council . These groups have called Bahrain's use of tear gas "unnecessary and indiscriminate" , and " lethal ". This planned new shipment will supply Bahrain with more tear gas canisters than the entire population of the country.

The document , signed by "Assistant Undersecretary Abdulla Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa", calls for all proposals to be submitted "not later than 16th July 2013". Ministry of Interior tenders are typically not available on the Government's Tender Board website. This is the first time that an apparent tender for tear gas has been made public. The tender calls for arms companies to supply Bahrain with the following items:

  • 800,000 CS Tear Gas Long Range Shells 37/40mm
  • 400,000 CS Tear Gas Short Range Shells 37/40mm
  • 400,000 CS Tear Gas Shell, Multiple Submunition (Five Way) 37/40mm
  • 45,000 CS Hand Grenades (One way)
  • 45,000 Tear Gas Hand Grenades (Five way)
  • 145,000 Sound & Flash Grenades

The tender also requires the bidders to commit to both "carrying out the necessary training of Ministry of Interior personnel at your factory upon request" and inviting "a delegation of Ministry of Interior to demonstrate production and testing process upon request" if deemed necessary.

Bahrain Watch understands that no shipment related to this tender has yet been made, however, such a shipment could begin at any time, given the date of the tender.

Bahrain has historically used US-origin tear gas, but the State Department apparently blocked further U.S. exports over concerns about its "excessive use" in May 2012. Bahrain Watch believes that one of the firms that seem to be supplying Bahrain currently may be planning the shipment:

  1. Rheinmetall Denel Munitions - a German / South African company. Tear gas made by this company has been seen in Bahrain since 2011. The canister that killed 14-year-old Ali Jawad al-Sheikh on 31st August 2011 is visually similar to those manufactured by Rheinmetall Denel.
  2. DaeKwang Chemical Company Ltd. and Korea CNO Tech Ltd. - two South Korean firms. Unmarked tear gas canisters , as well as tear gas grenades , which are visually identical to those originally manufactured by DaeKwang and exported by CNO Tech have been seen in Bahrain since late 2011. The canister that killed 15-year-old Sayed Hashim Sayed Saeed on 31st December 2011 looks visually identical to those manufactured by DaeKwang.

In an attempt to stop any further shipments of tear gas, Bahrain Watch is launching a campaign entitled "Stop The Shipment" ( Http://stoptheshipment.org/ ), and @ StopTheShipment on Twitter. The campaign invites participants to send complaint messages via e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook to Bahrain's tear gas suppliers, as well as export licensing authorities in these countries. With enough public and media pressure the campaign could result in export licenses being revoked, and shipments being blocked similar to what has happened previously with US-made tear gas products.

"We have never seen a document like this before," said Bahrain Watch member Bill Marczak. "Now, we have a unique opportunity to come together and save lives, by blocking upcoming deliveries of tear gas to Bahrain. Let's stop these shipments before it is too late. "

Since 2011, tear gas in Bahrain:

For more documentation about arms and ammunition used by Bahraini security forces, see Bahrain Watch's Arms Watch project.

Bahrain Watch is a monitoring and advocacy group that seeks to promote effective, accountable, and transparent governance in Bahrain through research and evidence-based advocacy. About Bahrain Watch: Https://bahrainwatch.org/about.asp

Western PR Firms Compete for Fresh Multi-Million Dollar Contract with Bahrain Govt

Six major British and American public relations firms have made bids of between 1.9 and 25.7 million US dollars to win a new PR contract offered by the Bahraini government, as it seeks to stave off international criticism of its ongoing human rights abuses. Research and advocacy group Bahrain Watch called on the bidding PR companies not to play a role in the Bahraini government’s attempt to whitewash its image amidst its repression of pro-democracy protesters.

According to a posting on the website of the Bahraini government’s Tender Board, the following companies have made bids for the tendered public relations contract:

Company name

Headquarters

Bid price

Bell Pottinger London US$ 0.9 million
US$ 6.1 million
US$ 9.3 million
Hill & Knowlton New York US$ 5.2 million
Weber Shandwick New York US$ 1.9 million
Portland Communications London US$ 25.7 million
Citigate Dewe Rogerson London Not available
Consulum London US$ 3.9 million

The Bahraini government has been struggling to improve its international image since February 2011, when it launched a military-backed security crackdown on Arab Spring-inspired protests in the country. The government has received widespread condemnation from international human rights bodies for human rights abuses, including arbitrary detentions, torture, mass political sackings and severe restrictions on freedoms of expression and association.

In August 2012, Bahrain Watch launched its PR Watch project, documenting how the Bahraini government had spent or allocated at least US$ 32.5 million for the services of eighteen different British and American firms to improve its image in the Western media after the 2011 political unrest.

Bell Pottinger, Hill & Knowlton and Weber Shandwick have previously held multiple PR contracts with the government of Bahrain. Consulum is a newer company formed by former Bell Pottinger staff based in the Gulf, managed by Matthew Gunther-Bushell, the former managing director of Bell Pottinger’s Bahrain office.

According to an April 2011 report in the Independent newspaper, Bell Pottinger sent out regular emails to journalists following the start of the February 2011 uprising, putting forward the Bahraini government’s narrative. One email described the Bahraini government's "readiness to receive the injured in hospitals" just before it began detaining doctors. Under public pressure, Bell Pottinger eventually suspended one of its Bahrain accounts in April 2011, but this was short-lived as at least four new contracts were signed with the government in the following twelve months, including a new US$ 10.5 million deals with the EDB.

“Rather than spending public resources on creating the illusion of reform in the foreign media, the Bahraini government should focus its efforts on implementing genuine human rights and democratic reforms in the country,” said Bahrain Watch member Fahad Desmukh.

Human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch point out that while the Bahraini government has made some minor reforms, the crackdown on dissent continues, and more worryingly, there has been a failure to hold any senior officers to account for human rights violations.

“We urge the bidding PR firms not to participate in the whitewashing process of the Bahraini government’s human rights record,” said Desmukh.

For details on previous contracts between the government and Western PR firms, refer to Bahrain Watch’s PR Watch project at: http://bahrainwatch.org/pr

Bahrain Watch is a monitoring and advocacy group that seeks to promote effective, accountable, and transparent governance in Bahrain through research and evidence-based advocacy.  About Bahrain Watch: https://bahrainwatch.org/about.php

###

Contact: fahad@bahrainwatch.org

Copyright © 2013 Bahrain Watch, All rights reserved.

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