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Military coup in Egypt, unfair trials in Bahrain

The military coup in Egypt has shocked those who aspire for democratic change in the Arab world and bring the Arab Spring to fruition. While accepting that the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi may have gradually become incumbent, other constitutional means, than the military takeover, must have been utilized to achieve political change within the constitutional framework. The military has always been linked to absence of rule of law and the marginalization of people’s participation in running their own affairs. While acknowledging the shortcomings of the elected regime, the military junta has been at the core of Egypt’s problems in the past five decades and cannot be allowed to replace the role of the Constitution. The Muslim Brotherhood have clearly been unable to form a strong leadership, create trust among the people or take real and strong action when needed.

But that does not give the right to stage the coup against the elected president. This is a military coup in day light against the people’s vote, supported by the counter-revolution powers. The aim is to reverse the outcomes of the Arab Spring and end any hope of real political change or development in the Arab world.

While the people’s Revolution in Bahrain continues unabated the criminal Alkhalifa regime has continued its repression at unprecedented scale. In the past two months more than 500 Bahrainis have been detained and tortured. Several towns and villages have received collective punishment. On 1st July at least 12 citizens were arrested from Karranah Town during night raids on their homes. The area was attacked mercilessly by the foreign-staffed security forces causing enormous fear and suffering among men, women and children. Among those detained is a 14 years child, Ahmad Al Ujaimi, whose whereabouts are not known. He has not been allowed to contact his family and his mother is in great shock and worry about his welfare and his whereabouts. Amnesty International has recently published a report on the detention of juveniles at adult prisons and the ill-treatment they are subjected to by the security forces.

The summary trials of scores of Bahrainis have continued. Yesterday 29 Bahrainis were sentenced to one month imprisonment for attempting to reach the Pearl Roundabout earlier this year. The Roundabout was attacked by Alkhalifa forces in mid March 2011 and several people were killed in the vicious attack. The pearl monument was later destroyed by the regime in its attempt to remove any sign of the Revolution that was launched on 14th February 2011 against the hereditary dictatorship.

 Many Bahrainis have also been jailed for expressing anti-regime statements on Twitter. On 4th July, an earlier sentence imposed on Lawyer Mahdi Al Basri of one year imprisonment for his tweets was confirmed by Alkhlifa kangaroo court. This is in sharp contrast to UK’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alistair Burt, who claimed that the regime did not jail leaders of the Revolution (commonly known as Bahrain 13) for expressing their views and that their life sentences were passed for other “more serious crimes”. When pressed by the Foreign Relations Committee formed to look into UK’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, to specify those “crimes” he failed to produce any. However, he promised that he would ask for the evidence during his visit to Bahrain last week. He repeated the same when he met Mrs Khadija Al Mousawi, wife of jailed human rights activist, Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja, on Thursday 27th June. She was infuriated by M r Burt’s inference that her husband (one of Bahrain 13) had been jailed for anything but expressing his views.

Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have condemned the confirmation by Alkhalif rulers of the five-years prison sentence imposed on the President of the Teachers Union, Mahdi Abu Deeb. On 1 July 2013, the Court of Cassation in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, rejected a request made by lawyers acting on behalf of Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Deeb and Jalila al-Salman not to implement the previous verdict until the two defendants’ allegations of torture are investigated. This refusal means that Mahdi Abu Deeb will remain in prison. The Court of Cassation has not yet set a date for taking a final decision on the two defendants’ appeal. Mahdi Abu Deeb has already spent some two years and three months of his five years’ sentence in Jaw prison. Jalila al-Salman completed her six-month sentence last November. Both organizations consider Mahdi Abu Deeb a prisoner of conscience and both have called for his immediate and unconditional release.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
5th July 2013



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