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Bahrain: Three activists assassinated, senior religious scholars exiled


The past few days have witnessed extreme forms of public outrage at what Bahrainis see as intensification of targeted killing of activists. On Sunday 20th April, two Bahrainis from the town of Maqsha, were assassinated with a car bomb by the Death Squads run by the royal court. Ali Abbas and Ahmad Al Masajjan were killed immediately when the car they were sitting in exploded. The driver, Abdulla Al Samoom, was hurled outside the car by the explosion. Although the regime blamed the victims for the explosion, Bahrainis are convinced that they were victims of Alkhalifa brutality which has escalated in recent days. Last week, another young man was killed by regime’s Death Squads and his body was discovered at a house which was burnt. Many activists have now been targeted by the Death Squads who had, over the years, killed many Bahrainis. At the funeral of the latest two victims yesterday, the people expressed grief, outrage and determination to continue the struggle until the count ry is cleansed of both dictatorship and occupation. The mourners were viciously attacked by riot police and Death Squads which deployed extensive amounts of chemical and tear gases. Another protest yesterday morning at Sitra was mercilessly crushed by regime forces. The people of Sitra demonstrated in support of the women prisoners and called for their immediate and unconditional release.

The arrest of citizens has continued unabated. On Sunday 20th April, several people were arrested during raids on their houses. From the town of Jid Al Hajj, Hussain Al Mulla and Hussain Abdul Amir were abducted and taken to the torture chambers. Jaffar Abdulla Al Jarish from Sitra was also detained. From Maqsha Town; Abbas Al Abid and Ibrahim Al Mawali were detained. From Karranah, Jaffar Al Aqadi and Ali Ahmad Aman were kidnapped and most likely tortured. Since his arrest few days ago, the child Hussain Ibrahim Mullah Ahmad, from Jid Al Hajj town has been unheard off and concerns are growing for his safety and well-being.

Fears are mounting for the safety of two Bahraini victims of torture who were recaptured after they had escaped from Jaw prison. Redha Al Ghasra, sentenced to 80 years jail for opposing Alkhalifa dictatorship and Hussain Al Banna had “escaped” from their cells on Sunday 20thApril but recaptured shortly afterwards by members of Death Squads. Officials of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights have raised the alarm that the episode may have been engineered by security forces. The two were re-captured from a house where seven others who were hiding. All were arrested.

There has been wide international condemnation of the decision by Bahrain’s dictator to exile a senior religious figure. Last week Ayatullah Sheikh Hussain Najati was told by regime’s agents to leave the country “within 48 hours”. At first he said he would not leave, but was forced to do so. This morning he travelled to Beirut with one-way passport. Amnesty International has condemned the move to exile the Sheikh. Under the title “End threats to Shi’a cleric stripped of nationality” it issued a statement on 17th April “This campaign of threats, harassment and intimidation against Shaikh Hussain al-Najati is unacceptable and must stop immediately. Forcing him out of his own country would render him stateless.” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. “The decision to strip Ayatollah Sheikh Najati of his nationality, along with 30 others in 2012 was little mo re than an arbitrary attempt to silence all government critics. It should be rescinded immediately.”

On 17th April the researcher at Durham University, Marc Own Jones, published good documentation of the policy of impunity in Bahrain. Under the title “Bahrain’s state accountability” he listed several cases which prove a systematic culture of impunity; either ignoring the complaints of victims of torture, superficial investigation of torture claims, acquitting the torturers or giving them light prison sentences and then reducing them or subjecting victims to more torture. The writer concluded his article saying: police criminality in Bahrain is not simply the fault of individuals or groups, but rather is a result of formal structures such as ‘the police organization, the criminal justice system, and the broader socio-political context.’ These legal manouvres by Bahraini authorities are a facade for a lack of accountability, designed to detract attention from systemic political reforms that are needed to enable both a reduction in police deviance and an i ncrease in genuine accountability in Bahrain.”

Bahrain Freedom Movement
23rd April 2013

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