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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