Bahrain in Reports/Stories/Articles

Special section to collect and disseminate information on the ongoing massacre and oppression in Bahrain
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Bahrain in Reports/Stories/Articles

Postby abuali » 15 May 2011, 03:07

This thread can be used to archive reports from Bahrain that are text based.
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Re: Bahrain in Reports/Stories/Articles

Postby abuali » 15 May 2011, 03:12

The Independent: 'Why no outcry over these torturing tyrants?' By Robert Fisk
The Independent

Christopher Hill, a former US secretary of state for east Asia who was ambassador to Iraq – and usually a very obedient and un-eloquent American diplomat – wrote the other day that "the notion that a dictator can claim the sovereign right to abuse his people has become unacceptable".

Unless, of course – and Mr Hill did not mention this – you happen to live in Bahrain. On this tiny island, a Sunni monarchy, the al-Khalifas, rule a majority Shia population and have responded to democratic protests with death sentences, mass arrests, the imprisonment of doctors for letting patients die after protests and an "invitation" to Saudi forces to enter the country. They have also destroyed dozens of Shia mosques with all the thoroughness of a 9/11 pilot. But then, let's remember that most of the 9/11 killers were indeed Saudis.

And what do we get for it? Silence. Silence in the US media, largely silence in the European press, silence from our own beloved CamerClegg and of course from the White House. And – shame of shame – silence from the Arabs who know where their bread is buttered. That means, of course, also silence from al-Jazeera. I often appear on their otherwise excellent Arabic and English editions, but their failure to mention Bahrain is shameful, a dollop of [EDITED] in the dignity that they have brought to reporting in the Middle East. The Emir of Qatar – I know him and like him very much – does not need to belittle his television empire in this way.

CamerClegg is silent, of course, because Bahrain is one of our "friends" in the Gulf, an eager arms buyer, home to thousands of Brit expatriates who – during the mini-revolution by Bahrain's Shia – spent their time writing vicious letters to the local pro-Khalifa press denouncing Western journalists. And as for the demonstrators, I recall a young Shia woman telling me that if only the Crown Prince would come to the Pearl Roundabout and talk with the protesters, they would carry him on their shoulders around the square. I believed her. But he didn't come. Instead, he destroyed their mosques and claimed the protests were an Iranian plot – which was never the case – and destroyed the statue of the pearl at the roundabout, thus deforming the very history of his own country.

Obama, needless to say, has his own reasons for silence. Bahrain hosts the US Fifth Fleet and the Americans don't want to be shoved out of their happy little port (albeit that they could up-sticks and move to the UAE or Qatar anytime they wish) and want to defend Bahrain from mythical Iranian aggression. So you won't find La Clinton, so keen to abuse the Assad family, saying anything bad about the al-Khalifas. Why on earth not? Are we all in debt to the Gulf Arabs? They are honourable people and understand when criticism is said with good faith. But no, we are silent. Even when Bahraini students in Britain are deprived of their grants because they protested outside their London embassy, we are silent. CamerClegg, shame on you.

Bahrain has never had a reputation as a "friend" of the West, albeit that is how it likes to be portrayed. More than 20 years ago, anyone protesting the royal family's dominance risked being tortured in the security police headquarters. The head of it was a former British police Special Branch officer whose senior torturer was a pernicious major in the Jordanian army. When I published their names, I was rewarded with a cartoon in the government newspaper Al-Khaleej which pictured me as a rabid dog. Rabid dogs, of course, have to be exterminated. It was not a joke. It was a threat.

The al-Khalifas have no problems with the opposition newspaper, Al-Wasat, however. They arrested one of its founders, Karim Fakhrawi, on 5 April. He died in police custody a week later. Ten days later, they arrested the paper's columnist, Haidar Mohamed al-Naimi. He has not been seen since. Again, silence from CamerClegg, Obama, La Clinton and the rest. The arrest and charging of Shia Muslim doctors for letting their patients die – the patients having been shot by the "security forces", of course – is even more vile. I was in the hospital when these patients were brought in. The doctors' reaction was horror mixed with fear – they had simply never seen such close-range gunshot wounds before. Now they have been arrested, doctors and patients taken from their hospital beds. If this was happening in Damascus, Homs or Hama or Aleppo, the voices of CamerClegg, and Obama and La Clinton would be ringing in our ears. But no. Silence. Four men have been sentenced to death for killing two Bahraini policemen. It was a closed military court. Their "confessions" were aired on television, Soviet-style. No word from CamerClegg or Obama or La Clinton.

What is this nonsense? Well, I will tell you. It has nothing to do with the Bahrainis or the al-Khalifas. It is all about our fear of Saudi Arabia. Which also means it is about oil. It is about our absolute refusal to remember that 9/11 was committed largely by Saudis. It is about our refusal to remember that Saudi Arabia supported the Taliban, that Bin Laden was a Saudi, that the most cruel version of Islam comes from Saudi Arabia, the land of head-choppers and hand-cutters. It is about a conversation I had with a Bahraini official – a good and decent and honest man – in which I asked him why the Bahraini prime minister could not be elected by a majority Shia population. "The Saudis would never permit it," he said. Yes, our other friends. The Saudis.
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Acts of sacrilege, rape, torture and murder in Bahrain

Postby abuali » 16 May 2011, 13:41

Acts of sacrilege, rape, torture and murder in Bahrain
By Zafar Bangash
http://www.crescent-online.net/main-sto ... hrain.html


Bahraini security forces backed by Saudi troops and their masters in Washington have and continue to perpetrate indescribable crimes against innocent civilians in Bahrain. Those targeted include not only peaceful protesters, but also doctors and nurses treating the injured in hospitals. Poets, teachers and university professors and their family members have also been targeted. The impunity with which Bahraini forces are attacking civilians and the crimes they are committing clearly point to deep collusion with the regimes in Saudi Arabia and the US. The Americans and their allies have gone ballistic over Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s attacks on protesters in Libya and have sent planes and drones to attack and destroy his installations but are deafeningly silent about well-documented crimes against innocent civilians perpetrated by the unelected minority Bahraini regime.

Saudi troops rushed to Bahrain on March 13 have indulged in wanton acts of vandalism and sacrilege. Masjids have been attacked and destroyed and copies of the Qur’an trampled upon. Muslims rightly take great offense at disrespect to the noble Qur’an as has been witnessed in the case of the extremist American Christian pastor, Terry Jones in Florida whose act of sacrilege has been condemned worldwide. Yet there is near total silence about the Saudis’ acts of sacrilege and desecrations in Bahrain.
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A pile of wreckage remains of what was once the Imam Ali masjid in Zayed Town, Bahrain. This masjid along with several others in different cities, generally servicing congregations of Shi‘is, were deliberately razed to the ground by Bahraini “security” forces, assisted by Saudi and Emirati troops and American-supplied munitions and personnel carriers.


Since the invasion of Bahrain by 1,000 Saudi troops (and 1,000 Emirati troops) backed by armored personnel carriers and tanks, they have indulged in wanton acts of destruction, killings and desecrations. The Saudis, pushing their narrow, obscurantist interpretations of Islam have razed masjids in Bahrain’s Bu Quwah locality and deliberately thrown copies of the Qur’an on the floor trampling upon them. Despite these well-documented cases of vandalism and sacrilege, the aged and ailing Saudi King, Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz, has vowed his “full backing” for Bahrain’s ruling Khalifah family. These obscurantist bedouins from the deep recesses of the desert have no legitimacy to rule either in the Arabian Peninsula or Bahrain; the people whom they rule have given them no mandate to do so. The only reason they are in power is because they were agents of the British who installed them on the thrones and now they have transferred their loyalty to the US. They worship America and act at its command. On its part, Washington turns a blind eye to their crimes.

There are other equally troubling crimes the Bahrainis and the Saudis have perpetrated in the island state when people launched peaceful protests for reform in mid-February. Tens of thousands of people accompanied by women and children gathered at Manama’s Pearl Square to press for reform of the political system. They carried flowers that they wanted to give to the Bahraini security forces, reflecting their peaceful intent. Instead, the police and troops fired into unarmed and completely peaceful protesters. Scores were injured or killed. As the protests escalated and it appeared that the Bahraini security forces that have recruited thousands of mercenaries from Pakistan, Jordan, Yemen, and elsewhere into its ranks, are unable to control the surging crowds, Saudi and Emirate troops were rushed in to shore up the regime.

At the risk of offending readers’ sensitivities because of the subject matter, some of the terrible things occurring in Bahrain need to be highlighted. The case of Ayat al-Qermezi, a 20-year-old female poet, is the most shocking. Ayat had composed and recited poems critical of Bahraini Prime Minister Khalifah bin Salman al-Khalifah to the masses assembled in Pearl Square. Soon thereafter, she started receiving threatening emails and letters. Most were laced with profanities. When she referred these to the police, instead of taking her complaint seriously and apprehending the culprits, they insulted and threatened her.

In late March, masked Bahraini troops raided al-Qermezi’s home twice, demanding the family tell them about Ayat’s whereabouts or they would “destroy the house over your heads, by the order of high-ranking officials,” according to her mother’s statement. Following such threats and coercion, al-Qermezi’s family was forced to tell them where she was hiding. Ayat then disappeared and the family heard no word from her. Deeply concerned about this, the family started searching for her. The police were no help; they told the family they had no information about Ayat and tried to force them to confirm through a letter that their daughter had gone missing. In mid-April, al-Qermezi’s family received an anonymous call informing them that Ayat was in a coma at an army Hospital.
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An undated image of 20-year-old Ayat al-Qermezi, who was tortured and ultimately martyred for writing poetry critical of the excesses of the Khalifa dynasty in Bahrain. But since Bahrain is host to America’s fifth fleet and no agenda can be advanced from publicizing this war crime, don’t expect a Nida Agha Soltani type of media blitz from the highly partisan and state-swayed Western media.

At the hospital, doctors confirmed that Ayat had gone into a coma after being raped repeatedly. The physicians’ efforts failed to save her life and she died at the army hospital. Her story has received scant attention in the Western media that goes into a fit of frenzy if any such crime is perpetrated by people opposed to the West. In Bahrain’s case, a blanket of silence has fallen over Ayat’s brutal torture, rape and murder. Even al-Jazeera, the Qatari-based network that claims to be leading the Arab Awakening by its 24/7 coverage of events elsewhere in the Middle East, has been silent about atrocities in Bahrain. There are no grainy videos of atrocities captured on cell-phone cameras that al-Jazeera is so fond of showing of events in Syria and Libya. Ayat’s story is not seen worthy of being reported by the Doha-based network that seems intent on protecting the decrepit monarchies in and around the Persian Gulf including their own in Qatar. Instead, al-Jazeera beams exaggerated reports about what the Syrian or Libyan regimes are allegedly doing to their people.

So far, several other women, including doctors, university professors and students, have been kidnapped or arrested by Bahraini security forces and have similarly disappeared. Masked Bahraini security agents have occupied all hospitals and prevent the injured from being treated. Doctors and nurses wishing to fulfill their professional duty are prevented from doing so. Dr. Richard Sollom, deputy director of Physicians for Human Rights, was so concerned about the abuse of doctors and nurses in Bahrain after his fact-finding mission that he contributed an op-ed piece to the British daily The Independent on April 21. Following his visit to Bahrain — a rare example of independent outside reporting allowed by the regime — Dr. Sollom wrote: “In two decades of conducting human rights investigations in more than 20 countries, I have never seen such widespread and systematic violations of medical neutrality as I did in Bahrain… Ambulances, hospitals and medical clinics as well as its physicians, nurses, and medical staff are all being targeted. It’s pervasive and ongoing. These attacks violate the principle of medical neutrality and are grave breaches of international law.” Doctors around the world have expressed similar shock and outrage.
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The badly bruised body of torture victim and shaheed, Karim Fakhrawi, a mem-ber of the opposition Wefaq movement, 4-13-2011. Fakhrawi was picked up without charges a week prior to his murder and then tortured to death while in police custody. Doctors and nurses, who would normally tend to the wounded, are also being systematically targeted for reprisal. Under the Geneva conventions, this constitutes a war crime, but not to the crusading Western media and its analogues in the US State Department who apparently have more newsworthy matters to cover.

Since doctors and nurses have had to treat patients that suffered injuries when shot at by Bahraini security forces, this has provided them “unparalleled evidence” of the atrocities committed by the authorities and its forces. “Their knowledge of these atrocities has also made them targets,” says Dr. Sollom. He wrote that more than 32 healthcare professionals have been “abducted” (his words in the original) “over the last two months and are being held incommunicado by security forces.” At the Salmaniyah, the island state’s largest hospital where Bahrain’s leading medical specialists work, “the hospital administration… called doctors and nurses in for appointments, from which they were never seen again. Presumably they are taken to places of detention,” he wrote.

Dr. Sollom specifically mentioned the Criminal Investigations Directorate at Adliya, a notorious detention centre where torture is rampant. His team, however, found that doctors did not have to be taken to detention centres to suffer violent attacks. “We have documented the story of six doctors beaten by security forces in a Salmaniyah staff room. When security forces are capable of such brutality in a hospital, one can only imagine what happens in a detention center,” he wrote in his April 21 piece. Doctors have even been dragged from their homes in the middle of the night and have simply disappeared.

Doctors are supposed to treat patients whoever they are, not locked up because they are caring for supposed dissidents. John Black, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “These reports of harassment of medical staff in the ongoing unrest in Bahrain, including surgeons trained in the UK, are deeply disturbing. The protection and care of people wounded in conflict is a basic right guaranteed by the Geneva Convention and one that every doctor or medical institution should be free to fulfill.”

Michael Wilks, vice-president of the British Medical Association and a former chair of the ethics committee, said: “The Geneva Convention and international medical ethical standards are absolutely clear — punishing doctors because they are perceived to be treating patients of whom the regime disapproves is completely unacceptable.” Such mistreatment, harassment and torture of doctors and nurses constitute war crimes but we have yet to hear from the champions of human rights in the US or Europe that the Bahraini rulers should be tried for war crimes.

According to a documentary secretly recorded in Bahrain and shown by the American television network, ABC, on April 19, “private companies” in Bahrain have dismissed some 800 employees from work because they participated in anti-government demonstrations. In his report for ABC, Trevor Bormann said most people did not wish to reveal their identity when interviewed for fear of being arrested, but Farida Ghulam whose husband Ibrahim Sharif was arrested and is still held in detention, made no attempt to hide her identity. Bormann pointed out that while the regime tries to give a sectarian twist to the demonstrations, Farida Ghulam and her husband are Sunnis and they are asking for reforms based on respect for people’s rights. Jafar Adam, a youth who was shot in the hip also made no attempt to conceal his identity. He said that the security forces already know his identity since he went to the hospital where they took all his details. Other youth injured in demonstrations — and Bormann showed several of them with bodies pierced with shotgun pellets — were willing to show their wounds but not their faces. They have not been to the hospital for treatment for fear of being arrested and possibly disappearing like scores of other injured people.

The case of Dr. Masaud Jahromi, Chairman of the Engineering Department at Ahlia University in Bahrain, is equally disturbing. A highly respected academic who had obtained his Masters and PhD from Britain, and dedicated his life to academic excellence, was dragged from his bed at 2:30 am by Bahraini security forces on April 14. He has not been involved in any protests. His only “crime” is that like the majority of Bahrain’s population, he is Shia. That as far as the illegitimate Bahraini rulers and their Saudi patrons are concerned is enough to have him arrested, tortured and perhaps killed.

The Bahraini regime is perpetrating terrible crimes against innocent civilians. Life for the overwhelming majority of its citizens has become living hell. Their neighborhoods are under constant surveillance; armored personnel carriers and tanks are stationed on every street corner with security personnel going around smashing cars and property for no apparent reason except to humiliate people. Objecting to such vandalism immediately leads to arrest and disappearances. Even without objecting, it is enough to be a young Shia to be dragged away by the overzealous police that act like the Gestapo.

But do not wait to hear about this on CNN or al-Jazeera. And you will certainly not hear one Western ruler objecting to such barbaric behavior.
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Saudi-Bahraini atrocities against peaceful protesters

Postby abuali » 16 May 2011, 13:59

Saudi-Bahraini atrocities against peaceful protesters
Editorials, Zafar Bangash

Given its tiny size (1.215 million population and 290 sq. miles of territory), Bahrain would not warrant a second glance yet its un-elected, tribal rulers rub shoulders with leaders at the world stage. Originally from Kuwait, the Khalifah family moved to Bahrain displacing Banu ‘Utbah nearly 200 years ago. Since then, the Khalifahs have ruled the tiny island as a family fiefdom but always sought external support to maintain their grip on power. Old habits, especially bedouin habits die hard. Bahrain has been under Iranian, British and now American-Saudi protection.
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Graffiti taunting Bahraini Shi‘is: The Khalifas are a crown on your head.

This brings us to the current situation where an uprising that started on February 14, is being ruthlessly suppressed with the help of Saudi and Emirati troops as well as mercenaries from Pakistan, Jordan and Yemen. The brutal crackdown also has US support. In fact, there was a quid pro quo between the Saudis and the Americans. In return for Saudi help in pushing the Arab League resolution to launch attacks on Libya, the US would turn a blind eye to the Saudi invasion and occupation of Bahrain. The Americans, too, wanted to crush the people’s movement for fundamental rights in Bahrain because it would have put at risk the US Fifth Fleet that uses Bahrain as its regional base. The Americans occupy one-third of the island; local Bahrainis are not permitted to set foot there. The Americans’ needs are taken care of not by local Bahrainis but expatriate workers from Pakistan, India and elsewhere who are treated as little more than slaves.

Ships of the US Fifth Fleet prowl the Persian Gulf in a ceaseless attempt to intimidate regional countries, especially Iran whose independent policies are viewed with fear by the Americans. With America’s large footprint in Bahrain come other demands: free availability of alcohol, nightlife, and other vices. Despite being a 100% Muslim country, the Bahraini rulers are unable to resist American demands. Not surprisingly, Bahrain has numerous night clubs, drinking holes and casinos. In fact, Bahrain came into its own in the 1970s following the eruption of civil war in Lebanon that shut down the Muslim East’s only “enjoyment capital” until then. As if not to be left behind, the Saudis built a causeway, appropriately named the King Fahd Causeway that links mainland Saudi Arabia with Bahrain. Every Thursday evening (start of weekend in the region) thousands of Saudis drive across the causeway to visit Bahraini nightclubs where they drink and partake in other vices that are not openly available in the kingdom.

The causeway has another, altogether sinister purpose as well. In case of threat to the ruling Khalifah family, the Saudis would send troops to rescue them. This is precisely what happened on March 13–14 when an estimated 2,000 Saudi and Emirati troops were rushed to Bahrain to crush the people’s uprising. The overwhelming majority of Bahrainis are Shi‘is while the ruling Khalifah family is Sunni. People were asking for no more than what people elsewhere in the Muslim East have demanded: basic rights and freedom and dignity. And unlike the rebels in Libya, the Bahraini protesters were completely unarmed and peaceful. Men and women came with their children carrying flowers, not guns. Even this was unacceptable to the Khalifahs and their Saudi and American masters. The peaceful protesters were attacked with live ammunition as well as tear gas shells. Some protesters were shot at point blank range. Tanks and armored personnel carriers have also been used to crush cars and smash neighborhoods. At least 30 protesters have been killed, four of them in police custody. This number may appear small but in the context of the island’s overall population, it is significant. Scores of doctors and nurses have been abducted and have simply disappeared because they were treating wounded protesters that happen to be Shi‘i as are the doctors and nurses. Many injured protesters did not seek treatment at the hospitals for fear of being arrested. One Bahraini female poet, Ayat al-Qermezi, was kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered. University professors have also been arrested.

Bahrain is now officially under a state of national security that was imposed when the Saudis invaded and occupied the island state. It is essentially under martial law. Saudi tanks and armored personnel carriers block major intersections; entire Shi‘i neighborhoods are under lock-down. Bahraini security personnel dubbed “Baltajiyah” (thugs) armed with metal bars go around smashing cars and store windows. These acts of vandalism have been secretly captured on camera by the American television network, ABC News. There are police checkpoints all over the country. A midnight-to-early morning curfew is in force and more than 800 Bahraini protesters — all Shi‘is — have been dismissed from their jobs. Tanks are stationed in the center of the capital Manama and at all major intersections.

Despite such atrocities against peaceful protesters, the US and its allies have maintained a studied silence while their wrath is reserved for Colonel Muammar Qaddafi of Libya and Bashar al-Asad of Syria. It seems there is a hierarchy of suffering. If you are from a country whose government the West does not like, you get support and publicity. If you happen to be in a country whose regime is an ally of the West, forget about your rights. You will be arrested, tortured, raped and murdered and nobody in the West would raise a finger.
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Re: Bahrain in Reports/Stories/Articles

Postby Reyhana » 31 May 2011, 13:17

Bahraini women recount abuse, torture
Mon May 30, 2011 2:12PM
Source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/182418.html
Bahraini female doctors have detailed the humiliations and beatings they suffered after being arrested on suspicion of supporting anti-government protests.


Recently freed from prison but in fear of being rearrested, the doctors said they were released only after they agreed to sign every confession papers they were given after days of brutal torture and being subjected to verbal abuse, AFP reported.

They were also forced to sign many pledges, including not to take part in any protests and not to talk to the media.

Although medics usually enjoy protection in conflicts by virtue of their profession, Bahraini security authorities arrested many doctors and nurses as part of the government crackdown on anti-regime protesters, accusing them of abusing their jobs and helping those trying to topple the monarchy -- a reference to anti-government protesters.

Medical staff at Manama's Salmaniya hospital were also accused of lying and exaggerating on satellite channels to tarnish the international image of the country.

"I advise you that we will get you to say whatever we want, either by you saying it willingly, or we will beat you like a donkey and torture you until you say it," AFP quoted a female doctor as saying, citing her interrogator.

Another female doctor, who spent over 20 days in detention, said she was severely beaten by her interrogators after she refused to sign a confession paper reading that doctors themselves killed two anti-government protesters while trying to "expand (their) wounds in order to make them look bad," for cameras.

Manama officials claim that the two protesters had arrived at the hospital suffering only minor injuries.

"I couldn't tell on which side of my head the slaps would land," said the doctor adding that she was made to stand blindfolded in the interrogation room, where she claimed she was repeatedly called a "wh**e."

Another doctor said she was forced to testify against some male doctors and accusing them of mobilizing medics to join anti-regime protests.

She said her interrogators also ordered her to say that she served medicines "only to one sect of people who wanted to topple the regime."

Bahraini authorities have also accused a number of medical staff of "stealing blood units to splash on the wounded" to exaggerate their injuries for television.

The freed doctors are barred from leaving the country and remain suspended from work with salaries unpaid since March.

The freed women doctors have also expressed fears over the fate of the male doctors and the condition of the female head of nursing at Salmaniya hospital, Rola al-Safar, who remain in custody.

"If the women have been treated in such a [harsh] way, what would the situation be with the men!" one doctor said.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have bitterly criticized the Persian Gulf sheikhdom's government for its brutal crackdown on civilians, doctors, nurses, lawyers and journalists who have voiced support for the protest movement.
''The worst sin is that which the commiter takes lightly.''[saying of Imam Ali a.s. quoted in Nahjul Balagha]
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Re: Bahrain in Reports/Stories/Articles

Postby Insaan » 03 Jun 2011, 09:21

BCHR concerned for Bahraini children
(SOURCE: PRESS TV)
Tue May 31, 2011 10:40AM
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights expresses concern for children's condition in the country.

Sayed Ahmed Shams, 15, lost his life in Bahrain on the night of March 30, 2011, after being shot in the face by security forces.
Bahrain's Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) has expressed deep concern over the government's targeting of children during its brutal security campaigns against Bahraini civilians.


The following is a report on the condition of Bahraini children issued by the BCHR on May 29:

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its deep concern for the government's targeting of children during its brutal security campaigns, especially the last campaign that started in the last few months and after the declaration of national safety (martial law) state. Hundreds of children were victims of excessive force by policemen that resulted in two children death at least. They were also subjected to arbitrary arrests that targeted them in their class rooms and homes, physical and psychological assaults during night raids to arrest their parents, and great damage inflicted upon them by the Authority as a result of targeting thousands of parents with arrest and arbitrary dismissal from work.

BCHR has published several previous reports in the last 6 months condemning the government's targeting of children in security campaigns launched by the authorities against opponents, but its appeals for the authorities to respect the international conventions, which it pledged to them, including the Rights of the Child Convection, had fallen on deaf ears in the silence of the international community. However, these violations of the Rights of the Child have become worse and reached dangerous limits.

Children became victims of Bahraini regime excessive use of force to crackdown peaceful protests, as it neglected their safety during the attack on the Pearl Roundabout on 17th Feb 2011 at 3 a.m. without warning with tear gas, rubber and live bullets and bird shotgun, despite the presence of many children sleeping in the tents. They were subjected to excessive and indiscriminate use of force under a policy of collective punishment. A baby girl was injured shotgun shot in her arm on 16th March 2011 in an attack by riot police on peaceful gatherings in the vicinity of the Pearl Roundabout.

The child Sayed Ahmed Shams (15 years) lost his life on the night of 30th March 2011 after being shot in the face. Witnesses said that the security cars were patrolling the streets of the village of Sar and driving fast between the houses, although the village was not involved in any protests at that time. Sayed Ahmed was playing with his friends, adjacent to his grandfather's house, when they were surprised when they saw security cars coming at high speed at approximately half past five o'clock in the afternoon. The security forces suddenly started firing on them and when they tried to escape, Sayed Ahmed was wounded with a shot above the left eyebrow. A tear-gas package fell near him causing him difficulty in breathing until he fainted. Security forces left him suffering of his injury without help. When the news reached to his family, they came to the scene and took their son to the hospital but died before arrival. Instead of investigating the incident, the Interior Ministry refused to acknowledge its responsibility and refused to hand over Sayed Ahmed's body to his family until they sign a death certificate declaring that the cause of death was falling in the playground.

The child Mohamed Abd Alhussain (6 years) was transferred to resuscitation room on 29th April 2011 after asphyxiation with tear-gas that security forces thrown deliberately and in an excessive manner over the houses of Sitra village. Mohamed remained in the resuscitation room till he died the next morning 30th April 2011.

Arrest and torture of children at police stations

All countries must ensure that “no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age; and no child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time” Article 37, Convention on the Rights of the Child.

While the security forces continued arbitrary detention of children from their homes and their villages, they launched a new phase by raiding the school and arrest of children from their classrooms and during examinations. The children form a serious percentage, reaching up to 25%, of the total number of the people detained since the declaration of a state of national security on March 15, 2011 (more than 1200 persons in total). This rate far exceeds the rate in the prisons of other countries suffer from disturbances such as occupied Palestine (children 3.7% of total prisoners) and Iraq (children 3% of the total detainees), which reflects the severity of the crackdown and arbitrary arrests against the most vulnerable group of people.

At least 12 girls' schools were subjected to repeated raids by the security forces, where they are arrest students that are 11-17 years old from their classrooms and beat them. They take them after that to the police stations, where they are tortured, assaulted and detained for a few days before their release, without having any legal advisor during the investigation process.

On 18th April 2011, after some school girls shouted with anti-government logos, policewomen and anti-riot police attacked Yathrib Intermediate School for Girls in Hamad Town and detained up to 50 female students, who are 11-14 years old. The security forces took photos of the students, beaten them and took them to Hamad Town Police Station. According to information that BCHR received, the detained students were humiliated and policewomen hit them hard with sticks over their heads. The girls were investigated and asked: (Did you participate in any demonstration or go to the Roundabout?). Their heads were banged to the wall several times and they were forced to stand for hours. The police also forced female students to write the name of “Hasan Mishamia” on their shoes and wash their head scarves after writing pro-government logos on it. Additionally, the police spread unknown substance over their faces. Before the students were release, they were forced to sign a pledge to come next day or they will be brought by force. The parents said that their daughters were in a psychological breakdown after their release.

The same school was attacked several times in the subsequent days, along with Al-Ahd Al-Zaher Secondary School for Girls, Omaima bint Al-Noaman Secondary School for Girls and Hajer Alimentary School for Girls, where many students and teachers were detained. Therefore, students and their parents were in a constant fear and apprehension of students being subjected to beatings and detention in the school.

On 12th May, Iman Al-Aswami (15 years) was called for investigations and was asked for more than 11 hours about her participation in the demonstration and her posts on her personal page on the Facebook. The investigation took place without permitting her parents to attend, and in the absence of a lawyer or specialist in dealing with children. She was questioned by policemen and was only released late after pledging to come next day.

On 22nd May, two 17-years-old female students from their school during taking examination. Their names are Zainab Al-Satrawi and Noof Al-Khawajah. They were released a few hours later after being beaten severely.

Student Heba (16 years) (this alias name to avoid her re-arrest) stated that she was arrested with 3 other girls from her school. She was arrested and beaten for 3 consecutive days in April 2011. In the bus that took her from the school to the police station, she was humiliated and threatened with rape. A police man forced her to take off her head-scarf and hit her head with the wall several times. He would increase his force if she does not scream. He also hit her with a thick hose on her head till she started bleeding and fell on the ground. She also said that threat of rape was repeated in the detention centre. She and her collogues were scared by the threat of referring them to the Saudi Army to deal with them. She fainted from fear of what might happen to her there. She was forced to watch other girls being beaten while they are blind-folded. The girl is still afraid of being arrested again as they threatened her of that.

The child Ahmed Abbas Yahia Thamer (12 years) spent more than a month in detention in Rifaa Police Station after the security forces kidnapped him without informing his family of his arrest. The family stayed in the dark, not knowing what happened to their son for a while; till they knew he was in the police station.

None of the arrested children were allowed to meet their families or contact a lawyer during the whole arrest period. They were arrested in detention centers along with older criminals charged with major crimes such as drug trafficking. This is against international standards as the United Nations Group on Arbitrary Detention, has recommended -in its report in 2001 and after its visit to Bahrain- to separate juveniles from adults. However, this recommendation is not followed till now.

The United Nations Group on Arbitrary Detention visited Bahrain in a fact-finding trip in 2001 has recommended the transfer of dependency of detention centers for children to the Ministry of Social Development. The Council of Ministers also issued a decision on 4th December 2005 to transfer subordination of children's detention centers to the Ministry of Social Development. However, this recommendation of the United Nations and the decision of the Council of Ministers decision had not been implemented so far; after several years of their issuance. All detention centers and prisons of children in Bahrain are managed by the Ministry of the Interior rather than the Ministry of Social Development.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child in the United Nations also expressed its regret in 2002 that the Bahraini government's report does not refer to any information about the serious allegations contained in the reports of other human rights organizations about the practice of torture and arbitrary detention of individuals less than eighteen years of age. The committee recommended an effective investigation in all cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment at the hands of police officers and to bring their perpetrators to justice, as well as providing full care for the victims of those violations and to give them adequate compensations, treatment and social integration.

BCHR has previously documented many cases of detentions that occurred during the previous security campaign last August, were more than 70 children faced accusations beyond their age and were subjected to torture and ill-treatment to force their confession.

Martial courts for children

While the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Article 40 states that “States Parties shall seek to promote the establishment of laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law”, and despite the presence of special court to deal with cases of juveniles in Bahrain, the authorities tried the child Moh'd Ebrahim Khatem in front of a martial court in May 2011, violating the agreement that it has signed. Khatem had been arrested from his home in a night raid 1:30 a.m. on 4th May 2011. He was accused of participation in the crowds and riots. The next hearing in his case will be held on 30th May 2011. It is not certain that other children are not facing similar situation in view of the secret trials, the prohibition of publishing and fear of parents of reporting such abuses.

The Shura Council appointed by the King had voted on 2nd May 2011 to reject the draft law amending Article (1) of Decree Law No. (17) for the year 1976 concerning the juveniles, to lift the age of the juvenile to 18 years old while it is limited to 15 years in Bahraini law now. This is against the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child - adopted by the General Assembly in November 1989, which Bahrain joined under Decree Law No. (16) for the year 1991 - as it stated in the first article in its definition of a child that " child means every human being below the age of eighteen years". Therefore, the authority continue to hold children who have reached the age of fifteen full criminal responsibility as senior adult individuals taking full responsibility and expose them to the same penalties, prosecutions and places of detention for adults without regard to their age.

Although the Convention on the Rights of the Child forbid prohibits the ruling of life imprisonment on children, the court on 5th July 2010 sentenced Issa Ali Issa Sarhan, who was 17 years old when he was arrested, to life imprisonment after being convicted in a group of 9 defendants on charges of causing the death of a policeman at un-fair trial, especially with the court's reliance primarily on confessions obtained under torture, which Issa was one of its victims.

Children are subjects to assault and threatening in the night raids

Children are exposed to different kinds of intimidation during raids on their homes in the late hours of the night to arrest the wanted of their relatives. During the housebreaking of Secretary-General of the Islamic Action Society Sheikh Mohammad Ali Al-Mahfodh, security forces took his juvenile son (Hassan 16 years old) as a hostage to force him to give himself up. During the housebreaking of activist Salah Al-Khawaja for his arrest, security forces put the gun in the heads of his young kids -- as described by their mother -- and threatened to shoot the kids, if they don't tell them about the location of the men in the house (minute 11:55).

Deprivation of basic education

The authorities also deprived several children of their right of getting basic education. They dismissed many students, including children from Al-Dair Alimantary School for Boys, who are less than 11 years old, because they shouted “Down with the King”. Female students who are less than 15 years old were also dismissed from Yathrib Intermediate School for Girls, some which were not allowed to take final exams.

Financial and psychological effects because of targeting of the parents

In addition to all these arbitrary measures taken against children in direct violation of number of articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, many children are living difficult financial and psychological conditions after the arrest of one or both parents (as in the case of children of Dr. Zahra Sammak and Dr Ghassan Dhaif where both parents were detained till the release of their mother). Some of these affected children are infants who have not completed one year and have been deprived of their mothers who have been detained for periods of up to two months as in the case of Khatun Sayed Hashim (mother of a 4-month-old child at the time of her arrest) were not allowed to see their children. In addition to the dismiss of their parents from work (more than 2000 workers were fired or suspended from work), or losing one of their parents as a result of the authority violence in dealing with protests, which resulted in the death of up to 30 people, none of which is investigated or compensated the family. While the Authority announced that it will provide supports for children of the police officers who were killed in the protests (4 police officers), it ignored the children of the rest of the people that it caused their death in an ugly discrimination practiced against them without guilt.

Exploitation of children in working with members of the Authority

The authority often turn to the exploitation of children to work with it as intelligence undercover who report on the wanted people by the government and provide information to it. Bahrain Centre has previously received a videotape in December 2010 recording confessions of a child stating that he started working as an informer to the police after being sexually assaulted by the authority's men and being forced to work for them.

Children were also used in the formation of local militias armed with sticks and they were trained to engage in confrontations, a move that apparently came with the support of the authority.

Based on all mentioned, BCHR recommend the following

(1) Stop the campaign of arbitrary detention of children specially school children and ensure their safety in schools.

(2) Immediate release of all detainees below 18 years of age. In case of presence of evidence of them committing crimes requiring punishment according to international laws, then they should be prosecuted in a trial consistent with international standards of fair trial and taking consideration of their age.

(3) Urgent and neutral investigation in all cases of murder, torture and assault specially those against children and juveniles, and bring the perpetrators and implementers of such crimes to justice.

(4) Providing full care for the victims of all these violation specially children and juveniles and providing them with suitable compensation and required treatment.

(5) In case of detaining those less than 18 years old, this should be in special detention centers for children and juveniles, who are under Ministry of Social Affairs' supervision and not Ministry of Interior or any other security force.

(6) Stop the repeated attacks on the Bahraini villages, especially those that affect children and juveniles.

(7) Following the Convention on the Rights of the Child and implementation of all the recommendations of the Committee of Child Rights issued in 2002.

(8) Managing political and social problems by dialogue, study of the roots of the problems and implementing laws and procedures that follow international standards of human rights.

(9) Taking all measures to ensure that children and juveniles in detention or trial do not lose their right of basic education to guarantee for them a bright future far from deprivation and loss.
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Reyhana
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Re: Bahrain in Reports/Stories/Articles

Postby Reyhana » 06 Aug 2012, 12:13

Any latest news on the situation in Bahrain?

As we can see the media is totally silent on this issue.

If anyone has any updates to the current situation,kindly post.
''The worst sin is that which the commiter takes lightly.''[saying of Imam Ali a.s. quoted in Nahjul Balagha]

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