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Bahrain: Mushaima’s health deteriorate as people defy ban on protests

Concerns for the life of Mr Hassan Mushaima have been expressed by many senior activists as well as human rights bodies. The 65-years old leader of Haq Movement, has been constantly denied access to proper medical treatment for his Cancer remission. In 2010 he had been treated for the disease at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and was declared clear of it. But he was also prescribed a specific treatment for remission to stop the return of the disease. When he was arrested in March 2011 the treatment was intentionally stopped by the prison officials acting on orders from the dictator’s royal court. In recent months Mr Mushaima has been complaining to his family and doctors of symptoms similar to those he had had prior to the treatment. But his pleas for treatment were ignored. Under media pressure the Alkhalifa officials allowed a more thorough investigation which confirmed that the disease had returned. His life is now in grave danger, being denied proper diagnosis and treatment. His release had been repeatedly demanded by various bodies; first the Bissioni Commission, then Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, being a Prisoner of Conscience. Twelve others are in the same category and their release has also been called for by international NGOs. It is clear that the Alkhalifa intend to let him slide into irreversible cancer condition until his life comes to an end.

On another level, the Alkhalifa junta has banned any protest or demonstration. This is an intensification of repression, coming few weeks only after a similar ban was imposed on the use of Twitter to criticise the regime’s brutality and grave human rights abuses. Amnesty International reacted to this draconian law and issued a statement titled “Bahrain must lift ban on all protests”. It said: “The Bahrain government's ban on all rallies and gatherings in the country violates the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and must be lifted immediately”. "Even in the event of sporadic or isolated violence once an assembly is underway, the authorities cannot simply declare a blanket prohibition on all protests. Such a sweeping measure amounts to nothing less than nullifying the rights to freedom of association, expression and assembly," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Programme Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

The United States on Wednesday (31st October) voiced concern at Bahrain's ban on all protests and public gatherings, urging the Gulf state to find a way to allow peaceful demonstrations to resume. "The United States is deeply concerned by the Bahraini government's decision to ban all public gatherings. Freedoms of assembly, association and expression are universal human rights," acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. Curbing the right to assembly was contrary to "Bahrain's professed commitment to reform and will not help advance national reconciliation nor build trust among all parties," he told journalists. UK’s Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt said: “I am concerned that the Government of Bahrain has decided to ban all rallies and public gatherings until further notice. We understand the Government’s concerns about maintaining law and order, especially when faced with increasingly violent protests, but a blanket ban of this nature is excessive. Peaceful protest is a democratic right. I hope the Bahraini Government will rescind this measure as quickly as possible. I also call on protesters to desist from violent protest. Violent acts should be condemned publicly by prominent members in society.”

Protests have continued throughout the country against the continuing repression and dictatorship by the Alkhalifa. The news that Mr Hassan Mushaima’s health has deteriorated amid reports of Cancer returning to him led to mass demonstrations in the past two days. People chanted their normal slogans “People want regime change”. They also called for the downfall of Bahrain’s tyrant, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who has become the worst-ever ruler of the country. His dictatorship, violent temper and ruthlessness have shocked even those near to him. At the same time Bahrainis are bracing themselves to more attacks on their leaders, whether inside the torture chambers or at large. The most senior religious figure in the country has now become target for regime’s brutality. Sheikh Isa Qassim is facing a barrage of media assault for refusing to side with the Alkhalifa junta. If the senior cleric is touched the situation will flare up and will sweep away th e hereditary dictatorship.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
2nd November 2012


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