Culture of Impunity within Security Forces Prevails

[Manama] A new video showing Bahrain police officers assisting in the looting of a supermarket demonstrates the continuing culture of impunity among the country’s security forces despite claims of reform by the government, said activist group Bahrain Watch on Friday.

The video (, posted on the YouTube account of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was recorded on the evening of Tuesday, April 10 by closed-circuit surveillance cameras inside a supermarket in the neigbourhood of Nuwaidrat.  The video shows a mob enter, vandalize, and loot the store, which belongs to the “24 Hour Market” chain.  Several minutes into the video, uniformed police enter the market and motion to looters to leave before filming the destruction with their own cameras.

Police do not attempt to stop the perpetrators or make any arrests.  Furthermore, officers are also seen taking part in the looting and vandalism themselves: one breaks a shop window (5:15), and another walks out of the market with a bottle of water (4:50).  Towards the end of the episode, an officer indicates the location of one of the store’s surveillance camera to a looter (6:11), who smashes it as the video ends.

The “24 Hour Market” chain, owned by Jawad business group, has become a favorite target of groups opposed to the Bahrain protests, due to a rumor that the group provided free food to demonstrators at the Pearl Roundabout last year.  The CEO categorically denied the rumor last May.  Nevertheless, there have been 54 attacks on Jawad-owned stores between 14 March 2011 and 2 April 2012, according to the group, with more than half of the attacks taking place this year.

Chief of Public Security Major-General Tariq Al Hassan announced in an official press release on Wednesday that eleven suspects had been identified, arrested and referred to the Public Prosecutor in connection with the April 10 incident.

However, his statement made no mention of the involvement of any police officials in the crime. Rather, the security chief claimed that “as soon as police received reports of the incident they rushed to the scene and took statements from the victims.” Moreover, on Thursday, Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa paid a special visit to the Ministry of Interior to “support and commend” the efforts of the security forces.

This video is just the latest evidence of the culture of impunity prevailing among Bahrain’s security forces, despite the government’s claims that they are being trained and reformed. In recent months, security forces have also been caught on video throwing petrol bombs at protesters, firing tear gas inside homes, and brutalizing civilians. In two of the most blatant cases of police abuse caught on video since December, the Ministry of Interior promised investigations, but no follow-up details have yet been released indicating whether any officers involved were prosecuted, let alone convicted.

In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI or Bassiouni Commission) headed by a prominent international legal expert found that Bahrain’s security forces were guilty of carrying out a wide range of human rights abuses, including torture, and noted the “culture of impunity” within the security system (BICI para 1240). The government of Bahrain promised to implement the recommendations of the commission, which included an extensive program of public order training for security forces (BICI recommendation 1722c).

Bahrain Watch member Fahad Desmukh said “given that killers and torturers in the security forces are still free, it is unlikely that mere looting or vandalism by police will lead to any consequences.” Desmukh noted that a manslaughter case against two officers was recently thrown out of court, as the Public Prosecution failed to conduct its own investigation, relying instead on a biased investigation conducted by the Ministry of Interior.

"Without reprehension, accountability and punishment, there can be no reform,” Desmukh said.

Bahrain Watch is a monitoring and advocacy group that seeks to promote effective, accountable, and transparent governance in Bahrain through research and evidence-based activism.  About Bahrain Watch:




Bahraini Hunger Striker Admitted to Hospital After Collapse

One of the two Bahraini nationals on hunger strike has been taken to hospital this afternoon after being found unconscious on the street pavements outside the U.S Embassy in Grosvenor Square.

Ali Mushaima and Musa Abd Ali have now spent two nights outside the U.S Embassy and have been on indefinite hunger strike for the past eight days.

After spending another bitter night in the harsh temperatures without adequate bedding or shelter, Musa Abd Ali fainted under the severe conditions. On arrival at St Mary’s Hospital, staff advised Musa that he should consent to his admittance into a ward in order to gain appropriate medication. Musa, however has refused and states that his hunger strike will remain indefinite until the release of prominent leaders of the Bahraini revolution, Abdul Hadi Al Khwaja, 52 and Hassan Mushaima, 63,

There has been no response from any officials from the U.S embassy from where the two hunger strikers have been positioned since Tuesday 10th April.

12 April 2012

Police alerted as Bahraini hunger strikers start vigil outside U.S Embassy

Two Bahraini nationals, Ali Mushaima and Musa Abd Ali have both spent their first night outside the U.S Embassy in London and have been on indefinite hunger strike for the past seven days. They are calling for the release of Abdul Hadi Al Khwaja, 52 and Hassan Mushaima, 63, who are both on their death beds in Bahrain, one as a result of a hunger strike, the other of cancer. The Alkhalifa ruling clan refuses to release them or allow proper treatment. The clan is being supported by Washington and London who have failed to utter a single word of condemnation of this most reactionary, backward, torturous and dictatorial regime. At times of utmost brutality both would express “deep concern” and nothing more.

Ali and Musa were prohibited by the Metropolitan police from setting up any form of shelter, bedding or sleeping bag within the perimeters of the embassy and so spent their time on the hard concrete pavements. According to Musa Abd Ali the night was bitterly cold and so they were unable to sleep for more than 2 hours. They were approached by two policemen who questioned them on the details and duration of their protest. There has been no response from any officials from the U.S embassy yet. Ali and Musa say they will not end their protest or hunger strike until the U.S embassy shoulder its responsibility and take the case of Abdul Khwaja and Ali Mushaima seriously by calling for their immediate release.




Bahrain: Martyr buried, F1 misguided decision and state anarchism

The body of Martyr Ahmad Ismael, 22, who was buried today bore the clear marks of gun shots which proved, beyond doubt, that he had been assassinated. Being in a position of power, John Timoney and John Yates are among the suspects behind this criminal act. The body has been lying in the regime’s mortuary for more than two weeks as the family of the martyr refused to accept a false death certificate. They insisted that it should confirm the cause of death as live bullets, in line with the post-mortem doctor’s report. The Alkhalifa clique was eventually defeated by the steadfastness of the family and agreed to issue the required document. Thousands of mourners participated in the funeral with slogans such as “People want regime change” and “Down with Hamad”. Calls have been made to the UN human rights officials to take action against officials who are implicated in the murder of this Bahraini young man.

Meanwhile, Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja, remains on his death bed as his condition continued to deteriorate. His lawyer, Mohammad Al Jishi, repeated concerns for his Khawaja’s life as communications with him stopped four days ago. He expressed fear that he might have passed away. Earlier in the weak, Danish Prime Minister, describe Khwaja’s condition as “very critical”. Almost every decent politician and human rights body has called for the immediate release of Khawaja, except the American officials. The White House and State Department called for a “humanitarian” solution, not release. That is preposterous to be so mean and in not calling for the release of a political prisoner who his wrongly detained, tortured and left to die.

Amnesty International said it considered Khawaja and 13 other prominent Opposition activists held with him to be prisoners of conscience, held solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and who have not advocated violence.

"These 14 men should all be immediately and unconditionally released - but instead the Court of Cassation has adjourned their appeal and denied them bail," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty Deputy Program Director for Middle East and North Africa.

"In the case of Khawaja, this delay will have potentially disastrous consequences for his health, which continues to deteriorate as a result of his hunger-strike," Sahraoui said, adding that Amnesty holds the Bahraini authorities responsible for his condition.

Human Rights Watch has this to say: “The silence of the EU and the US on the matter is absolutely inexcusable.  It is one thing to have a double standard with regard to human rights, it is quite another to not even to raise one’s voice when a courageous human rights defender, and an EU citizen, is dying in a prison where he is unjustly held.

In London, two Bahraini activist are on hunger strike in solidarity with Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja and Hassan Mushaima who suffers from cancer but denied treatment while in jail. Ali Mushaima and Moosa Abd Ali started their action on Friday 5th April and have camped themselves outside the American Embassy since Tuesday 9th April. Yesterday Mr Abd Ali collapsed and was taken to St Mary’s Hospital where he was treated. He joined his colleague at the scene and are still continuing their strike in protest at the American unequivocal support to Alkhalifa state terrorism.

On another level, the decision by the Formula1 management today to go ahead with holding the race in Bahrain has been outrageous. Their decision is in contrast to the view of international human rights bodies which have called for boycotting “Bloody Bahrain” as the situation remains volatile. The Alkhalifa clique, aided by their spinners like Yates and others, have adopted a programme of deception to mislead the world about the reality on the ground. In a country which witnesses at least twenty demonstrations everyday, it is wrong to suggest that it is stable or peaceful. The next week will see a sharp increase in the political strife in Bahrain and the management of F1 will be dealt with a serious blow in its public relations image as it has failed to steer the race away from serious political and ethical controversy.

One of the most shocking videos containing live images of state-sponsored vandalism, looting and lawlessness has shaken the human conscience to the core. The crime took place on 10th April. The place is Alba Roundabout. The intended target: Jawad Stores. A CCTV recording tells a story of a different kind, unheard before. The armed militia members stormed the store, armed with sticks, metal bars, some of them in balaclavas while others bare-chested. They set upon the store adopting the most vicious of anarchic behaviour, breaking its contents and looting cigarettes and other valuable contents. This happens under the eyes of the police who appear directing the operation. Here are the links to the most outrageous act of state-vandalism.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
13th April 2012





Comments on the Recent Escalations in Bahrain and the International Biased Stance

Following our close observation over the recent political and on-ground escalations, we would like to emphasize on the following points for local and global parties concerned:

First: the increasing intensity of civil resistance and Sacred Defense is a natural consequence of the continued Saudi occupation, continued killing and state oppression of our people, continued arbitrary detention of prominent leaders and prisoners of conscience, the serious deterioration in Alkhawaja and Almushaime’ health and absence of the right of expression and peaceful assembly.

Second: we hold the Alkhalifa illegitimate regime, the Saudi invasion and the USA and UK administrations fully responsible for the recent violence outbreak. Our people have shown admirable tolerance and have endured severe pain and even presented flowers to the killers, but the West led by the USA and UK administrations have insisted on maintaining complicit silence over the crimes committed by the Alkhalifa regime and even conspired against the popular revolution in Bahrain. All statements issued by the USA and UK administrations were biased in favor of the illegitimate regime of Alkhalifa despite the fact that our people have exercised maximum restraint and flexibility. Whoever responded to our peaceful people by violent repression and systematic murder shall suffer the consequences and shall have a taste of the pain that our people have patiently endured.

Third: the statements issued by some administrations – especially the USA and UK – concerning the recent incident in AlEker village is a major scandal and is a clear evidence of their double-standards when it comes to matters related to the popular revolution in Bahrain. On the one hand, these administrations have deliberately turn blind eye on the several murder cases committed by the illegitimate regime of Alkhalifa in cold-blood (using live ammunitions in some cases including the case of martyr Ahmed Ismail), and on the other hand, the very same administrations have quickly condemned AlEker incident where a few invaders and mercenaries got injured. Does the life of invading forces and mercenaries killing for money have more value than our peaceful people? What a twisted logic! Therefore, the Coalition of Youth of February 14th Revolution is considering appropriate response to these administrations who are conspiring against our popular revolution. We shall no l onger tolerate hypocrisy and double-standards.

Forth: the insistence on holding the F1 race in Bahrain is considered a major provocation to the feelings of our people and it displays irresponsible ignorance toward the victims of the illegitimate regime of Alkhalifa. Such insistence is surely to fuel further anger and violence in the next days. We hold the regime and its supporting administrations as well as the F1 organizers and participants (teams, sponsors, etc.) fully responsible.

Finally, we reiterate that our nation has decided to continue resisting the invading Saudi forces and Alkhalifa mercenaries until the regime falls in order to achieve real democracy. Self-determination is no longer the demand of the Youth Coalition only but the vast majority of political and social communities in Bahrain. Everyone consents that the current ruling regime has lost legitimacy and must be gone.

By: Coalition of Youth of February 14th Revolution
Friday 13th of April, 2012


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