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    The undersigned NGO’s express in the strongest terms their concern in regards to the escalation of violence in Bahrain and the use of foreign security forces to police peaceful protests under the guise of secretive Gulf security agreements. For the past three years, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have stated that foreign troops have not been involved in suppressing the peaceful protest movement, but the death of an Emirati policeman in the village of Daih has highlighted this problematic issue.

    Since the beginning of the popular uprising in Bahrain in February 2011, numerous local and international organizations have documented ongoing widespread and grave human rights violations in the country, which has created an environment of fear, as well as an infringement on the most basic civil and human rights.

    After numerous civilian deaths, many in the form of extrajudicial killings carried out by security forces, and countless arbitrary arrests, systematic physical, psychological and sexual torture, as well as the continuous use of excessive force; evidence confirmed by the findings of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry that avenues of peaceful dissent have effectively been crushed.

    The protest movement, which started peacefully and remains largely peaceful, has witnessed a slow turn of splinter groups towards the use of violent tactics. Most of the human rights activists in the country are either imprisoned or exiled and the government’s willingness to reform and enter into a genuine dialogue continues to be an unfulfilled promise three years on. It is the responsibility of the state to take the necessary measures towards political reconciliation rather than resort to security measures that could escalate into a full-blown violent conflict as human rights activists have been warning over the past three years.

    Following the death of a protester, Jaffar al-Durazi, in police custody, the authorities in Bahrain stated that an explosion targeting police killed three policemen in Daih from the UAE, Pakistan and Yemen, and injuring others on the 3rd of March 2014. This has again highlighted the problematic use of foreign security forces and politically naturalised officers in violating human rights and the exercise of the right to self-determination, as well as the claims that GCC forces have not had any involvement in direct policing of protests. Following the death of the three policemen, security forces went on a rampage breaking cars in Daih. In less than 24 hours, and after numerous house raids in multiple areas, the Ministry of Interior announced the arrest of 25 individuals links to the “explosion”. During this period, there was an attack on the AlWefaq headquarters, calls for sectarian attacks, and the Ministers Council issued a decision listing the February 14th Coalition, the SarayaAlAshtar and the Rebellion Movement as well as anyone related to them as terrorists groups. This may be used to target human rights defenders and organizations under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

    Since the beginning of the uprising, the undersigned NGO’s have called on the Government of Bahrain to halt the use of excessive force, and allow people the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression; warning that the continuation of suppression will escalate violence. Not only has the Government of Bahrain completely ignored calls from civil society, but the human rights situation has further deteriorated with not only the suppression of protests, but also the passing of laws and amendments to laws that further limit and infringe on basic civil and human rights.

    The undersigned NGO’s collectively reiterate that we do not condone violence under any circumstance; nevertheless we strongly believe that any form of violence is never a justification for further human rights violations carried out by Government forces. It has been the case that after every statement from the authorities of an attack on police, residential areas are put under lockdown, homes are raided, and people are arbitrarily arrested. Those individuals are usually then tortured into making forced confessions for their alleged involvement in the attack, and those confessions are the evidence used against them in court. Calls for sectarian violence have also escalated from individuals linked to the government on social media, and the use of sectarian targeting during arbitrary arrests.

    The Government of Bahrain bears full responsibility for the escalation of the violence in Bahrain given its relentless three year crackdown. The undersigned NGOs call for international pressure on Bahrain to force a process of fundamental reforms and to initiate an immediate process of reconciliation, as well as the immediate halting of suppression as a response to legitimate popular demands.

     

    Based on the above, the undersigned NGOs demand that:

    1.     Citizens are allowed to exercise the right to self-determination, the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Right]

    2.  Form a non-governmental independent and neutral commission, with UN supervision, to investigate all deaths that have occurred since February 2011.

    3.  Halt the use of politically naturalized persons, and foreign security forces; the police and military should reflect, in a demographically representative manner all parts of society while advocating for greater transparency of GCC security agreements.

    4.      Reform the judiciary to bring it to international standards of due process and fair trials. We consider all the rulings emanating from the current system to be in violation of the rights to fair trials and all those convicted on politically motivated charges should be released.

    5.      Initiate a process of real accountability of all those involved in human rights violations, especially those with administrative responsibility.  Hold Bahraini officials accountable internationally, especially through international mechanisms like the United Nations, visa bans, sanctions.

    6.      Schedule an urgent visit for all six UN Special Rapporteurs that have requested visits and especially the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to Bahrain.

     

    Undersigned NGO’s:

    Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)

    Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)

    Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)

    Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR)

    Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS)

    European-Bahraini Organisation For Human Rights (EBOHR)

     

     

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    Published 05 March 2014

    Amnesty International has today called on the Bahraini authorities to ensure those arrested following a blast that killed three policemen on Monday are not at risk of torture and other ill-treatment and to not use the attack to justify further clamp down on fundamental freedoms.

    The call came after the Interior Ministry issued a statement on 4 March that it had arrested 25 individuals suspected in connection with the killing of three policemen on duty and that it has taken the necessary measures to track down others linked to the attack.

    Amnesty International recognizes the Bahraini authorities’ duty and responsibility to apprehend and bring to justice those responsible for the killing of the three policemen. It nevertheless urges the authorities to ensure those arrested are not subjected to acts of torture and ill-treatment while in custody and are given prompt access to a lawyer and family. If charged, they must be given a fair trial without recourse to the death penalty.

    In many cases documented by Amnesty International, individuals arrested are often tortured or otherwise ill-treated during their first days or weeks in the custody of the security forces. Many are later tried unfairly and convicted on the basis of “confessions” extracted from them under torture.

    The arrests of the 25 individuals were carried out during house raids mainly on the Shi’a villages of al-Daih and Sanabis. Amnesty International has obtained the names of 22 individuals, all of them males and many belong to the same families.

    The security forces have reportedly been heavily deployed in al-Daih and Sanabis villages amidst fears amongst the inhabitants of further house raids and arrests.

    Amnesty International is concerned about the recent escalation of violence, which has caused the death of at least four police officers and injuries to many protesters. Such violence often followed clashes between the security forces and protesters.

    The blast on Monday in al-Daih, which killed three police officers, including one from the United Arab Emirates, is the second to take place in less than a month. On 14 February 2014, a police officer died following a bomb blast in the village of al-Dair.

    The Monday blast took place after the funeral procession of Jaafar Mohamed Jaafar, aged 23, who died in hospital on 26 February where he was receiving treatment for sickle cell anaemia. His family alleged he died as a result of torture and ill-treatment in custody and lack of proper medical care. Amnesty International wrote to the Ministry of Interior expressing concerns about the death of Jaafar Mohamed Jaafar and called for an independent, thorough and impartial investigation.

    Amnesty International is also concerned at measures announced during a government Cabinet meeting, which include requesting the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs to monitor the “political societies, religious platforms and mosque preachers who advocate hatred, sectarianism and incite violence”. Such monitoring risks imposing further restrictions on the right to freedom of association and expression.

    During the same Cabinet meeting, a decision was also issued to enlist as terrorist groups Saraya al-Ashtar (Al-Ashtar Brigades), which claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday, Saraya al-Muqawama (Resistance Brigades) as well as the 14 February Coalition and to arrest members of any other organisation or association linked to them.

    In a separate incident, the headquarters of Al-Wefaq Society, the largest opposition group was attacked yesterday as thugs allegedly broke the gate to the building and an inside door. Members of National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad) also received threats on Twitter on 3 February that their headquarters will also be attacked.

    All major opposition groups in Bahrain publicly condemned Monday’s killings.

     

    Link to the full article: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE11/010/2014/en/3f09d53f-276e-4786-ab76-3c99c05c0d0b/mde110102014en.html

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    1-March-2014
     

    Rising Human Rights Challenges in the Gulf Region and Beyond

     

    BAHRAIN

    16. The authorities in Bahrain continued their harsh crackdown on protesters, civil society leaders, human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists in 2013, evident since the protests began in February 2011. Despite numerous undertakings given to the international community, including during its Universal Periodic Review in 2012, the Bahraini government failed to implement the key recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), which issued a report in November 2011 endorsed by the King. Impunity continues for those responsible for the torture and deaths of protestors in 2011. The harassment of human rights activists and lawyers through arbitrary arrests, detention and systematic ill-treatment and torture in detention remained a key feature of the Bahraini human rights landscape. Numerous human rights defenders are behind bars on trumped up charges, having faced or facing judicial proceedings that do not meet international standards of fair trial.


    17. On 7 January 2013, Bahrain’s highest court upheld convictions against 13 leading activists for their role in anti-government demonstrations in 2011. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, (OHCHR), expressed concerns about the lack of fairness and due process afforded to the defendants. The Court ruling came more than a year after the government’s pledge to implement the recommendations of the BICI, which called on authorities to “commute the sentences of all persons charged with offences involving political expression not consisting of advocacy of violence” and to overturn convictions imposed after grossly unfair trials. GCHR received reports that the prisoners were subjected to ill-treatment and torture while in detention.


    18. In April, the Bahraini authorities indefinitely postponed, for the second time, the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez. In May, GCHR, with the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, (BCHR), initiated a joint appeal to Juan Mendez, Margaret Sekaggya and Frank La Rue, respectively UN Special Reporters on torture, on the situation of human rights defenders, and on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The appeal was signed by over 50 NGOs worldwide and called for an investigation into torture in Bahraini prisons. Bahrain ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture (CAT) in 1998 and is thus required under international law not only to take effective measures to prevent torture but also to investigate credible allegations of torture. GCHR documented numerous claims of ill-treatment and torture in detention throughout 2013, none of which were adequately investigated by the authorities.

     

    19. A clear example of the culture of impunity evident in Bahrain is the case of human rights defender and journalist Nazeeha Saeed, Bahrain correspondent for France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya. According to Saeed, she was tortured at Riffa police station in 2011. She was “blindfolded, kicked, punched, and slapped. Her hair was pulled, she was whipped with plastic tubing, had a shoe forced into her mouth and her head dunked into a toilet.” Saeed obtained three independent medical reports which confirmed that she was subjected to torture, two of which were issued by doctors working for the Ministry of the Interior. Despite the clear evidence of torture and the fact that she identified five of her alleged torturers, only one of them, policewoman Sarah Al-Moosa, was taken to court by the Public Prosecution Office. Al-Moosa was acquitted of all charges on 22 October 2012 and her acquittal upheld on 23 June 2013. No one has thus been held accountable for the torture of Nazeeha Saeed.


    20. In October, three medics, arrested during the 2011 protests, sent a letter from Jaw prison, seen by GCHR, outlining their poor conditions of detention, including ill-treatment, overcrowding, and poor hygiene and health standards. They announced their intention to set up an independent body of Medics for Human Rights. The letter was signed by Ibrahim Al-Demistani, a nurse and secretary general of the Bahrain Nursing Society, Hasaan Matooq, an emergency department nurse at the Salmaniya Medical Complex and Dr Ali Al-Ekri, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.


    21. In November, the Bahraini authorities rejected a request by GCHR, along with a coalition of international NGOs, to observe a hearing in the case of Naji Fateel, co-founder of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) and a prominent blogger. Naji Fateel was arrested without warrant on 2 May 2013 and held incommunicado for three days, during which time he was allegedly tortured at the Criminal Investigation Directorate and taken to the Ministry of Interior hospital twice for treatment. At his first Court hearing, Fateel spoke about the torture he had been subjected to and took his shirt off to show the marks on his back. He alleged that he was subjected to electrical shocks to his genitals, to his left foot and to his back, in addition to simulated drowning, severe beatings, hanging by his hands from the ceiling, sexual harassment and threats of rape and sleep deprivation. There has been no investigation into these allegations and Fateel was prevented from attending his next Court hearing, in an attempt to silence him, GCHR believes. Fateel was sentenced on 29 September 2013 to 15 years in prison for “the establishment of a group for the purpose of disabling the constitution” under Article 6 of the Terrorism Act. This followed a six-month sentence imposed in May on charges of “attending illegal gatherings.”


    22. GCHR is particularly concerned at the targeting of human rights defenders in Bahrain who cooperate with the UN system. In October, human rights defender, co-founder and President of the BYSHR, Mohamed Al-Maskati, was summoned to Al-Khamis Police Station where he was interrogated on charges of “inciting hatred against the regime.” Al-Maskati had been actively cooperating with the OHCHR, and had visited the relevant UN Special Rapporteurs in August 2013. Human rights defender Hussain Jawad, the Chairman of the European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights (EBOHR), was arrested, detained for 15 days and charged with “inciting hatred of the regime” based on a speech he gave in Manama in November. He was known to have been in communication with the OHCHR. Jawad was also one of 18 human rights defenders who were named with photographs in a pro-government newspaper, Akhbar Alkhaleej, in late November, accused of human rights violations and “terrorist” activities in a blatant attempt to tarnish their names and reputations.

     

    23. Protests in Bahrain continue to be restricted and forcibly dispersed. On 14 August 2013, the ´Tamarrod´ movement organized peaceful protests around the country, with many shops and businesses closing for the day. These protests were met with an aggressive crackdown by the authorities and the arrest of several human rights defenders. The police closed off a number of streets with razor wire and used tear gas to disperse those who gathered to protest. Dozens were arrested without warrants prior to the protests and at least 13 arrests were made on the day. Many of those arrested reported that they were severely beaten during the arrests. On 9 August 2013, the Acting President of BCHR and Co-Director of GCHR, Maryam Al-Khawaja, was informed she was not allowed to board a flight to Bahrain from Copenhagen as the Bahraini authorities had banned her from entering the country. Al-Khawaja had publicly announced that she intended to observe the protests on 14 August.

     

    24. In November, GCHR, along with BCHR, Front Line Defenders, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) called on the Bahraini government to release imprisoned human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, in accordance with article 349 of the Bahraini Criminal Procedure Code, on the basis that he had completed two thirds of his sentence. Rajab, who is President of BCHR and Secretary-General of GCHR, has been unfairly imprisoned since 9 July 2012 for his leadership in advocating for the promotion and protection of human rights in Bahrain. Rajab is also on the MENA Advisory Board of Human Rights Watch and is a Deputy Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). He remains behind bars.

     

    25. Further examples of the ongoing harassment of human rights defenders in Bahrain include the following. On 31 July 2013, online human rights activist Mohamed Hassan was arrested and held incommunicado in detention for a week. His lawyer Abdul Aziz Moussa, was later arrested when he publicly reported that there were marks on his clients’ arms from having been tortured in detention. On 6 September 2013, 20-year-old Hussain Ali Abdul Nabi, a member of the Documentation Team of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, was arrested and detained for 45 days. A prominent Bahraini blogger, Ali Abdulemam, owner of one of the most popular websites in Bahrain bahrainonline.org, on which the first calls for the 14 February 2011 protests were made, fled into exile from Bahrain after over two years in hiding after having been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for his role in the protests.

     

    Click hearto download FULL REPORT (pdf)

    http://gc4hr.org/report/view/22

     

     

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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is seriously concerned about the health and well being of Sadeq Jaffar AlAsfoor, 17 year-old, who has been in detention since the 8th of January 2014. AlAsfoor, who was shot at time of arrest, reported that he is experiencing pain in his stomach to the extent that he is unable to eat, but his condition is being ignored by the authorities.

    On Wednesday, 08 January 2014, AlAsfoor was visiting a released prisoner in the village of Markh, Bahrain with three others. Witnesses reported that they heard the authorities open fire with live ammunition on the four young men as they left. All four of them were subjected to enforced disappearance, with one of the victims, Fadhel Abbas, reported dead 18 days after the incident (read BCHR report on http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/6727).

    Following this incident, AlAsfoor was subjected to enforced disappearance for over 15 days, and his family were not certain if their son was alive, despite making inquiries at the public prosecution and the police station. His father was told that there are no criminal cases lodged against Sadiq in the police electronic system.

    His family was finally allowed to briefly see him at the prisoner’s clinic of the Ministry of the Interior, on Friday January 24, 2014. The visit took place with security presence and with restrictions on their talk limited to his medical condition. Sadeq AlAsfoor’s family was made aware that he was injured in his kidneys, stomach, and back. It was not clear how many bullets were removed from his body.

    On 20 February 2014, AlAsfoor received detention order of 37 days in custody pending investigation. He was moved on the same day to the Dry Docks prison despite his injury and need for proper medical care.  The lawyer appointed by the family in this case has not been able to contact Alasfoor to date or to get concurrent information on his charges.

    AlAsfoor’s family visited him on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, at the Dry Docks prison and they reported that he appeared fatigued. He complained to his family about bad prison conditions.

    On the 05th of March 2014, AlAsfoor contacted his family via telephone and informed them that he is experiencing severe stomach pain. AlAsfoor stated that he requested to be transferred to the hospital, but was informed that he was put on a wait list. He reported that the pain was so intense that he is unable to eat. He added that he was having difficulty walking because of problems with his leg, and that on a previous visit to the prison clinic, the doctor ignored AlAsfoor’s reports of stomach pain.

    The BCHR is seriously concerned about the health and well being of Sadeq Jafar AlAsfoor, who is detained without any clear charges, particularly considering the reports of lack of medical care in prisons that has led to deaths in custody the last being Jaffar AlDurazi who passed away last month[1].

     

    Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other close allies and relevant institutions to apply pressure on the Government of Bahrain to:

    • Immediately and unconditionally release Sadiq AlAsfoor along with all other prisoners who are held on politically motivated charges because of the ongoing popular protests for freedom and democracy.
    • Immediately allow access to adequate medical treatment for all prisoners, political and not political, as stated in Article (22) of the “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: “Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.”

     

     


     

    [1] http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/6782

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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses concern over the ongoing use of excessive force against peaceful protesters, which is resulting in serious and critical injuries such as the case of AbdulAziz AlAbbar, who has suffered a critical brain injury and has been in a coma for the past two weeks.

    On 23 February 2014, riot police attacked the peaceful funeral procession of Ali AlMosawi with tear gas and pellets. AbdulAziz Mosa AlAbbar (27 years-old) was hit in the head with a tear gas canister and shotgun pellets during the attack, which occurred in the village of Saar. After his injury, AlAbbar was first taken to receive medical care in a house for fear of arrest if moved to a hospital. However, due to the extremely serious nature of his injury, he was moved immediately to a hospital. AlAbbar arrived at the hospital unconscious and vomiting. He was admitted to the ICU where he has remained in a coma since.

    According to available information, AlAbbar was seriously injured with two pellets in the head, one that penetrated his eye, and another that penetrated his skull and entered his brain, which caused serious damage as it damaged the blood vessels and caused internal bleeding in the brain.

    Initial reports indicate that the shooting of AlAbbar was by police officers standing at close range, using both tear gas canisters, and shotgun pellets. A large amount of video evidence has shown police officers firing teargas directly at protesters heads and upper body, in direct violation of international guidelines for the use of crowd control weapons.

    The authorities are restricting access to information regarding AlAbbar’s medical condition, including his family, although they have been allowed to visit him with prior permission from the police station, and while under heavy security presence. It is not clear if AlAbbar is under arrest, or if he is facing any charges. The following images were obtained by the BCHR, although the authorities continue to withhold the complete medical records.

     

    The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other allies and international institutions to pressure on the government of Bahrain to:

    • Stop its use of excessive force in dealing with peaceful citizens and end the systematic policy of impunity for abusers,
    • Allow AbdulAziz AlAbbar’s family access to his medical reports, and guarantee his access to the medical care required for his injury.
    • Immediately initiate an impartial and independent investigation into the shooting of AbdulAziz AlAbbar and all other victims of excessive force used by police, and hold all those involved accountable, especially those in high positions who gave the orders.
    • To respect people’s fundamental right to self-determination.
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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights publishes today a report on the "Protecting Society From Terrorism Acts" of 2006, which was modified in August 2013 to further restrict freedoms. The law, commonly known as the 'terrorism law', has been widely used to crack down on dissidents including human rights defenders, politicians, photographers, and even children.

    In 2013 alone, 328 defendants were tried for alleged terrorism crimes in 38 separate cases. According to a review by the BCHR, the majority of these cases lacked adequate evidence, and convictions were based mainly, or entirely, on the defendants’ confessions obtained under reported torture or secret sources that are never revealed. In a sample of twenty cases, the sentences handed down for the 231 defendants totaled more than 2500 years in prison. At the end of 2013, eighteen cases were still before court, in which more than 90 defendants were awaiting a final verdict. Throughout the whole year of 2013, there was an average of one terrorism case every ten days, which is an alarmingly high number for a country with a population as small as Bahrain’s.

     

     

    Read the full report here:

     

     http://www.bahrainrights.org/sites/default/files/Terrorism%20Laws%20in%20Bahrain%20-%20FINAL.pdf

     

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    March 10, 2014

    President Barack Obama
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
    Washington, D.C. 20502

    Dear President Obama,

    We are writing to encourage you to discuss the crisis in Bahrain with your counterparts in Saudi Arabia during your upcoming visit to the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia has significant influence in Bahrain through its strong political, economic, and social ties with the Bahrainis. Real and lasting stability in Bahrain can only be achieved through genuine reform, and we call on you to urge the Saudi leadership to play a more constructive role in this regard.

    As Deputy Secretary of State William Burns recently noted, when the United States and the Gulf “work in concert, we can help shape outcomes that not only advance reform, but also advance stability.” You have a key opportunity to achieve this goal in Bahrain.

    As the situation in Bahrain continues to deteriorate, addressing this issue must be an urgent priority. The State Department recently assessed the Bahraini government’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2011 Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), and found that only five of its 26 recommendations were fully implemented. The assessment also recognized the Government’s failure to investigate claims of torture and cases that resulted in death, to ensure that individuals are no longer charged or detained for exercising their right to free speech, or to foster an environment that promotes dialogue.

    Efforts last year to negotiate a political solution collapsed after the process failed to deliver any real progress, key opposition figures were arrested, and human rights violations continued. As you said in 2011, “The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail. The government must create the conditions for dialogue, and the opposition must participate to forge a just future for all Bahrainis.” That was true then, and remains true today.

    The Crown Prince and opposition political societies in Bahrain have recently announced the launch of a new phase in negotiations aimed at revitalizing a process to find a political solution to the country’s crisis. The people of Bahrain have made it clear that their legitimate, democratic demands for reform will not go away, and must be addressed with solutions. As two of Bahrain’s most influential allies, the United States and Saudi Arabia possess a special obligation to pursue stability in the country by promoting reform that meets these demands. The Bahraini ruling family would be greatly affected by hearing from the King and other Saudi royals that compromise, not repression, is the only path to stability.

    We urge you to discuss Bahrain during your upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia, and seek to enlist the Saudis in an approach that can end the political crisis and the violence that afflict Bahrain. Reform and stability can co-exist, and the United States must demonstrate the leadership needed to realize that model in the Gulf. Sincerely,

    Christophe Deloire Reporters without borders

    Stephen McInerney Project on Middle East Democracy

    Elliott Abrams Council on Foreign Relations

    Michele Dunne Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    Michael Rubin American Enterprise Institute

    Husain Abdulla Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain

    Matthew Duss Center for American Progress

    Stephen Grand The Brookings Institution

    Emile Nakhleh University of New Mexico

    Brian Dooley Human Rights First

    Shawna Bader-Blau Solidarity Center

    Jennifer L. Windsor Georgetown University

    Frederic Wehrey Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    Toby C. Jones Rutgers University

    Cathy Feingold AFL-CIO

    James T. Kolbe German Marshall Fund

    Donna McKay Physicians for Human Rights

    Anne Marlowe Hudson Institute

    Robert Naiman Just Foreign Policy

    David Andrew Weinberg Foundation for Defense of Democracies

    Sarah Chayes Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

    Jon Rainwater Peace Action West

    Larry Diamond Stanford University

    Joshua Muravchik Johns Hopkins University

    Christopher J. Griffin Foreign Policy Initiative

    Lisa Schirch Alliance for Peacebuilding

    Charles Dunne Freedom House

    *This letter reflects the views of the individual signatories; institutional affiliations are listed for the purpose of identification only. 

    http://en.rsf.org/bahrein-experts-call-on-obama-to-promote-10-03-2014,45973.html

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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concern for Bahrain and the neighbouring countries in the GCC resort to signing new security agreements and treaties while it is known that the cooperation between the security apparatuses already exists since 1994, namely since 20 years ago according to the security agreement to tackle crime. However, the new transnational security agreement for each country includes clauses that conflict the liberties stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and also contradicts the local legislations and constitutional provisions.

    On 13 November 2012, a security agreement was signed among the GCC countries in Riyadh and it was adopted during the 33rd summit held in the Kingdom of Bahrain from 24 to 25 December 2012.

    Since the signing of the agreement, the BCHR has documented a number of cases in which Bahraini citizens have fallen victims of human rights violations as a result of implementing this agreement. In January 2013, three Bahraini citizens living in Oman were subjected to arbitrary arrest by the Omani intelligence, they were then transferred to Bahrain where they became victims of torture according to the information received. They were convicted of terrorism, and were defamed on local media. Following the arrest that lasted for 10 months, they were released after being acquitted by court.[1]

    In January 2014, the Bahraini actor Sadiq Al-Shabani, who was living in Oman, faced arrest and enforced disappearance for an approximate period of 20 days, and he was being interrogated by Bahraini interrogators in Oman; this took place before he was transferred to the Criminal Investigations Department in Bahrain.[2]

    In February 2013, the Bahraini journalists Reem Khalifa and Mansoor Al-Jamri were banned from entering the UAE through Dubai airport without providing any reasons; this seems to be in relation to the black lists which the government is working on circulating to the Gulf authorities to ban or harass the activists at frontiers.[3]

    Following are the clauses that violate the international conventions:

    Article (2): State Parties cooperate to hunt down system outlaws, or wanted by State Parties, regardless of their nationality, and take necessary action against them.

    This article, and specifically in the use of the vague term ‘system outlaws’ without specifically defining it could be used in an arbitrary manner to restrict liberties and pursue political activists, opponents and human rights activists. This is a clear violation of the first clause of Article (9) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states, ‘1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law’. It also conflicts the first clause of Article (11) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, ‘Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence’. Also, it is inconsistent with the Bahraini Constitution and is considered a breach of the principle that the accused is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law that provides the necessary guarantees to exercise his right to self-defence.

    Article (3): Each State Party can take legal action in regards to a crime, according to their domestic legislation, against the intervention of citizens or residents in the internal affairs of any other State Party.

    It is not clear what is considered an ‘intervention’ in the internal affairs, yet this article is considered an apparent violation and breach of Article (19) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’. It also violates the first clause of Article (18) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states, ‘Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion’.

    Article (4): Each State Party shall cooperate to inform the other parties - upon request – about the information and personal data of the citizens of the requesting State or its residents, in the terms of reference of the Ministries of Interior.

    This article conflicts with the privacy rights and specifically Article (17) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states, ‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks’. As well, it conflicts with Article (12) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, ‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks’.

    One of the sources of concern is that this article permits the ministries of interior to request personal information without resorting to the judicial bodies and without requiring a court ruling according to the regular implemented procedures as is the case with international agreements where such measures are usually regulated through court when the prosecution of one country requests information from another country.

    Article (8): State Parties exchange the names of exiles and those with dangerous precedents and the data and information related to them, and report on their movement.

    This article contradicts the right to freedom of movement and travel according to Article (12) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states, ‘Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own. The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country’. It also contradicts Article (13) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state’. The BCHR had previously documented cases of arbitrary measures practiced against activists to restrict their freedom[4] and deprive them their right to practicing their peaceful activity.

    Article (10): States Parties collectively or bilaterally work on achieving effective integration of the security services and operational cooperation among themselves, and provide support and assistance – upon request – to any State Party, in accordance with the conditions of the state and the States Parties that are required to do so, in order to meet security disturbances and disasters.

    This article is considered a breach of national sovereignty, as this goes beyond security cooperation, it is operational cooperation on the ground by providing support and assistance. This legislation allows repeating the military intervention to confront people’s revolutions as had happened in March 2011 when the military forces entered Bahrain under the name of the ‘Peninsula Shield Forces’ to crush the public protests demanding freedom and democracy. Worth mentioning that this article is actually being implemented in Bahrain; information was received that the Emirati policeman killed in March 2014 is one of the security forces participating amid the lines of the Bahraini police.[5]

    Article (11): States Parties, according to each case, and at the request of a State Party works on allowing experts of the requesting State Party to be present during the stage of collecting evidence that takes place in the crimes occurred and are relevant to its security, or similar offenses occurred in its territory, or whose perpetrators hold its nationality, or have had partners who reside in it, or scheduled to ensue results in its territory.

    The ambiguous terms in Article 11 raise concerns in terms of being used arbitrarily against human rights defender or political opponents.

    Article (16): States Parties, as required by national legislations and agreements that the State Party commits to which is requested to extradite, to extradite persons within its territory that have been accused, or convicted by the concerned authorities of any of them.

    This article conflicts with Article 21 of the Bahraini Constitution which states, ‘Extradition of political refugees is prohibited’.

    The BCHR believes that the aim of the new security agreement is to monitor, follow and prevent human rights activists and politicians from exercising their peaceful demand activity and to restrict their movement in the GCC countries.

    While the security agreement was adopted in Bahrain without any public consent, and without it being earnestly discussed by the Council of Representatives which was quick to endorse it in June 2013[6], the Bahraini political forces considered it a blatant violation of the nature of development, as the agreement directly contradicts the constitutional articles that guarantee public and private freedoms.

    Based on the aforementioned, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and all the other close allies and relevant international institutes to exercise real pressure on the government of Bahrain in order to:

    1. annul all the agreements and laws that restrict public liberties
    2. fulfil its international commitment to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights it had endorsed, in order for all its laws and agreements to be inconsistent with its procedures and regulations
    3. hold accountable and question all those implicated in the violations whether by implementation, supervision or order, especially the ones with the higher ranking posts.
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    Further information on UA: 206/13 Index: MDE 11/011/2014 Bahrain Date: 14 March 2014

    URGENT ACTION

    VERDICT IN HUSSAIN HUBAIL’S TRIAL IMMINENT

    Photographer Hussain Hubail is about to receive his verdict. He is on trial together with eight other men on charges arising from their exercise of their right to freedom of expression. He has been denied adequate medical treatment.

    Hussain Hubail’s trial, which began on 28 November 2013, will have its fifth hearing on 16 March: the court will hear final pleas, and is expected to announce its verdict shortly afterwards. Hussain Hubail is on trial together with eight other men, including Mohammad Hassan Sudayf, on charges that include usingsocial media networks to incite hatred of the regime, calling on people to ignore the law and calling for illegal demonstrations.

    During one of the hearings, on 27 January, he is understood to have told the court he had been tortured and threatened with rape during his interrogation. He had told his family when they visited him in prison that he had been threatened and beaten while being interrogated at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). Hussain Hubail has a heart condition, and fears he is not receiving adequate medical treatment. He has to wait before he receives the medicine he needs. His family said his health had deteriorated: he suffers from shortness of breath and frequently loses consciousness. He was transferred to hospital on 13 March following severe breathing difficulties, but security officers prevented his family from staying with him as he received treatment.

    Please write immediately in English, Arabic or your own language:

    Calling on the authorities to release Hussain Hubail immediately and unconditionally if he is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression;

    Urging them to drop charges against the other defendants if they are being targeted solely for peacefully expressing their opinion;

    Urging them to ensure that Hussain Hubail receives adequate medical care, including any specialist treatment needed for his heart condition;

    Calling on them to order an independent investigation into Hussain Hubail's allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and bring those responsible to justice.

     

    PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 25 APRIL 2014 TO:�

    King

    Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa

    Office of His Majesty the King

    P.O. Box 555

    Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain

    Fax: +973 1766 4587 (keep trying)

    Salutation: Your Majesty

     

     

    Minister of Interior

    Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa

    Ministry of Interior

    P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain

    Fax: +973 1723 2661

    Twitter: @moi_Bahrain

    Salutation: Your Excellency

     

    And copies to:

    Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs

    Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa

    Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs

    P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain

    Fax: +973 1753 1284

    Email: minister@justice.gov.bh

    Twitter: @Khaled_Bin_Ali

    Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

    Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation

     

    Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the fourth update of UA 206/13. Further information: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/054/2013/en

     

    URGENT ACTION

    VERDICT IN HUSSAIN HUBAIL’S TRIAL IMMINENT

     

    Additional Information

    Hussain Hubail was arrested on 31 July 2013 ahead of anti-government protests that were organized in many of Bahrain’s Shi’a villages for 14 August. Protesters had been planning to march to Manama but the security forces prevented them by using teargas and, in some instances, erecting barbed wire around the villages. At least 18 people were arrested. The Tamarrud (Rebellion) movement, made up of youth groups, chose 14 August to organize anti-government protests to denounce government repression and call for genuine political reforms. Mainstream opposition associations were also planning a large anti-government rally, but it was cancelled due to the heavy presence of the security forces in Manama. One of the men facing trial with Hussain Hubail, Mohammad Hassan Sudayf, told his family that he had been given electric shocks, beaten, forced to strip naked and had his clothes taken away while detained at the CID. Mohammad Hassan Sudayf will be tried in his absence as he has since left Bahrain.

    Two-and-a-half years after the popular uprising in Bahrain, and beneath the fanfare of reform, prisoners of conscience, including some arrested during the protests, remain behind bars and the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly are still being suppressed. In recent months, not only have prisoners of conscience not been released, but more people have been jailed simply for daring to express their views, whether via Twitter or in marches. A number of women activists have been detained too. Bahraini courts have appeared more concerned with toeing the government line than offering effective remedy to Bahrainis and upholding the rule of law.

     

    Bahrain’s parliament held an extraordinary session on 28 July 2013 and then submitted 22 recommendations to the king. The recommendations toughened punishments laid out in the 2006 anti-terrorism law. A few days later the king issued several decrees curtailing the right to freedom of expression further, including banning all protests, sit-ins and public gatherings in Manama indefinitely and giving the security forces additional sweeping powers. On 9 September 2013 a joint statement by 47 countries at the UN Human Rights Council expressed serious concern about the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain.

     

    On 3 March 2014 a bomb blast in al-Daih village killed three police officers, including one from the United Arab Emirates. This is the second attack in less than a month: on 14 February, a police officer died following a bomb blast in the village of al-Dair. During a Cabinet meeting on 4 March, a decision was issued to consider as terrorist groups Saraya al-Ashtar (Al-Ashtar Brigades), which reportedly claimed responsibility for the 3 March attack, Saraya al-Muqawama (Resistance Brigades) as well as the 14 February Coalition and to arrest members of any other organization or association linked to them.

     

    Name: Hussain Hubail

    Gender m/f: m

    Further information on UA: 206/13 Index: MDE 11/011/2014 Issue Date: 14 March 2014

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE11/011/2014/en

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    Human Rights Council:  25th Session

    Oral Intervention- Item 4 General Debate

    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

    18 March, 2014

    Delivered by: Ms. Maryam Al Khawaja

     

     

    Thank you Mr. President,

     

    This statement is made on behalf of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.  My name is Mariam Al-Khawaja and I am the Acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights.

     

    Within the Gulf region human rights defenders are increasingly subject to harassment, imprisonment, torture, incarceration and reprisals.  In this context a new Gulf Cooperation Council Security Agreement was signed on the 13th of November 2013 which infringes on the basic rights and liberties of the citizens of these six countries and creates the framework for regional repression of rights defenders.

     

    For example, Article (2) of the agreement states:  “State Parties shall cooperate to pursue system outlaws, or those wanted by State Parties, regardless of their nationality, and take necessary action against them.”

     

     In most Gulf countries almost any form of dissent against official policy including human rights work has been criminalized thorough laws that fundamentally contradict with international human rights standards.   In this context the vague term ‘system outlaws’ is likely to be used in an arbitrary manner to restrict liberties and pursue political activists, dissidents and human rights activists throughout the region. In effect, we are witnessing the regionalization of totalitarian repression.  And yet here in this Council silence on these issues continues to be the norm.

     

    In several of these countries, notably Saudi Arabia, the mere act of sending information to the United Nations, in whatever form or for whatever purpose, has been criminalized and rights defenders have been systematically prosecuted for any and all interaction with international bodies.  And yet this Council on these matters remains silent.  The lack of action by this Council on these matters is a stain on the moral conscious of the international community, and mocks the dignity of this institution. 

     

    In Bahrain, the authorities have time and time again used “prevention of terrorism” as grounds to target and silence rights defenders and political dissent. In 2013 alone, 328 defendants were tried for alleged terrorism crimes in 38 separate cases. According to a report by the BCHR, the majority of these cases lacked adequate evidence, and convictions were based mainly, or entirely, on the defendants’ confessions obtained under reported torture or secret sources that were never revealed. In a sample of twenty cases, the sentences handed down for the 231 defendants totaled more than 2500 years in prison.   The government in Bahrain, like other governments in the region, is in the process of consolidating a system in which almost any form of dissent is classified as terrorism.   It is an approach that will only deepen social division and further entrench repression.

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    Labour MP, Katy Clark, today chaired and hosted the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy event at Portcullis House. The panel included Maryam Al-Khawaja, the acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Daniel Carey, a civil and human rights solicitor, and Nicholas McGeehan from Human Rights Watch.

    Katy Clark took the opportunity to introduce a Early Day Motion 1194 which calls on the UK government to oppose the 2014 Formula One race in Bahrain “due to ongoing human rights violations.” The EDM also recalls concerns over the sexual abuse in custody of Rihanna al-Mousawi who was detained at the Bahrain Formula One track in 2013. It also recalls concerns over the extrajudicial killing of protester Salah Abbas during the race in 2012 by security forces. 25 MPs have signed the EDM to date.

    http://youtu.be/l_Lw_WiQGj0

    Human Rights Violations in Bahrain

    Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Maryam al-Khawaja, began the discussion by highlighting the ongoing grave human rights violations in the country. She highlighted the dangers of the new Gulf Cooperation Council Security Agreement that “infringes upon the basic rights of all GCC citizens.” Ms. Khawaja furthermore highlighted the stringent environment and reprisals faced by human rights defenders in Bahrain and refuted the speech made by the Bahrain Foreign Minister in Geneva earlier this month noting:

    “Bahrain uses terrorism as an explanation to justify the crackdown against individuals in the country, whilst attempting to convince F1 that it is safe to race in the country. Why are they hosting the F1 if there is terrorism in Bahrain? F1 would not go to Bahrain if that was the case.”

    OECD Complaint Launched Against Formula One

    Daniel Carey, who headed a legal team to file an OECD complaint to stop a 3 million shipment of tear gas canisters to Bahrain, took the opportunity to announce that an OECD complaint has been filed by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain against Formula One Management, sponsors and teams in the UK.  The complaint alleges that the defendant organisations have not mitigated the human rights impact caused by their actions in the country. The complaint has been filed with the United Kingdom Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills in London, which is the UK’s National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines.

    According to the 2011 OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, organisations have a responsibility to “… avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts and address such impacts when they occur.” Organizations falling under OECD jurisdiction additionally must “seek ways to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their business operations…” and “carry out human rights due diligence…” as appropriate to their involvement with abuses.

    Mr. Carey also highlighted  ’irresponsible statements’ made by Bernie Ecclestone in the past regarding the staging of the race in Bahrain.

    Bernie Ecclestone has noted in previous years:

    “We don’t go anywhere to judge how a country is run. I keep asking people what human rights – I don’t know what they are. The government here are stupid to put this race on. It is a platform for people to use protesting.”

    Dorset Band Rejects Invitation to Perform During Bahrain Grand Prix

    http://youtu.be/RxUH1d0vPiQ

    Dorset band, Magic Drum Orchestra, used the event to announce that the have firmly rejected an invitation from Bahrain to perform at the Formula One over serious concerns about the human rights situation in the country.

    On receiving the booking enquiry from the Bahrain International Circuit, the band investigated the situation there and were concerned by reports from NGOs about the human rights abuses committed in the country. A member of the band visited Bahraini activists in London who were gathered to mark the anniversary of the uprising. On hearing about the violent crackdown on peaceful protests, including imprisonment, torture and teargas fired into people’s homes, the band unanimously decided not to pursue the offer. They dedicated a song to the people of Bahrain as part of a recent performance to a packed out Electric Palace in Bridport, during which a police riot van arrived on the scene to investigate the noise. The song was the bands own interpretation of Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’, thought to have been originally written about state violence. They added a new introduction, to the rhythm of ‘Down Down Hamad’ which Bahrainis often play during protests calling for democracy.

    Glyn Bush, of Magic Drum Orchestra, said “playing in Bahrain would have been our first international performance, but we felt that pursuing the offer to play would be taking the side of a repressive regime instead of supporting the people. We urge other musicians, drivers and racing fans to take a stand for democracy and human rights by boycotting the event”.

    Magic Drum Orchestra are the latest to support the campaign to suspend the Bahrain Grand Prix, which was initiated by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, Bahrain Centre for Human RightsBahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, The European Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights and UK-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and Bahrain Watch.

    Magic Drum Orchestra’s response to the organisers reads:

    “We have discussed your booking enquiry for the Bahrain Formula One. The Magic Drum Orchestra is a British percussion band made up of over 20 people from the county of Dorset ranging in age from 15 – 55 and including teachers, conservationists, sports instructors, gardeners, shop assistants and students. We recognise that Britain and Bahrain have had a close relationship for 200 years, including Britain supplying many millions of pounds worth of arms and sending a large delegation of representatives from arms companies, the government and royal family to celebrate this relationship during the GREAT British Week held in Bahrain earlier this year.

    However, we are extremely concerned about human rights violations in Bahrain and feel that performing at the Grand Prix would be taking the side of a repressive regime instead of supporting the people. We find it unacceptable to detain, torture and kill people, and strongly deplore the violent crackdown on peaceful protest that has led to thousands of Bahrain citizens being imprisoned.

    We therefore decline your offer. We also encourage performers, drivers, Formula One fans and British citizens to boycott the event”.

    UK Allegations of ‘ Undeniable Progress in Bahrain’ Denied

    Bahrain researcher at Human Rights Watch, Nicholas McGeehan, refuted a statement made by UK Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hugh Robertson, that there is ‘undeniable progress in Bahrain.’ Highlighting an upcoming Human Rights Watch report, Mr. McGeehan argued that human rights abuses including torture and arbitrary detention are ongoing in the country. He also shed light on the treatment of children in Bahrain arguing “young men are being dispensed through a justice system with no justice. Protesters are thrown in jail after being subjected to non-sensical judgements whilst the manner in which security personnel, accused of grave human rights violations, have been acquitted has created a culture of impunity.”

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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern for the Bahrain Authority’s persistence in adopting mental and physical torture as the only means to extract confessions from detainees. The BCHR received information that the detained actor Sadiq Jaffar Al-Shabani (31 years old) was subjected to torture in the Criminal Investigation building in Adliya. Al-Shabani had been arrested by the Omani Intelligence on Monday 27 January 2014 when he was in Oman. The Omani authorities had handed Sadiq over to the Bahraini authorities and he was in an enforced disappearance for more than 10 days.[1]

    Al-Shabani informed his family that he was able to identify one of the people who tortured him and he is the lieutenant Fawaz Al-Sameem, however he was unable to identify the rest. Al-Shabani had stated that the one interrogating him had asked him, ‘Do you want us to treat you as a human or as an animal?’ The questions then followed, in order to force him to confess to joining the ‘Tamarud’ (rebellion) movement – and which is a movement that runs peaceful anti-government activities – however Al-Shabani denied his relationship with the Movement, and by that they handcuffed him from behind and told him that they will treat him like an animal. Sadiq said that Al-Sameem and the rest of the interrogators stripped him fully off his clothes, and sexually assaulted him by inserting a rod in his anus, and then they showed him private photos of him with his wife which they had obtained when they raided their house during the ‘National Safety’ period and they threatened to rape her. Al-Sameem misled him to believe that his wife was in the next room, and they made Al-Shabani hear the voice of a girl screaming as if there was someone raping her. They also brought to Al-Shabani photos of girls from his family and they threatened to rape them all if he did not confess. His penis was pulled with a string and cold and hot water was poured on him. Al-Shabani added that he was electrocuted in his anus, and he was given a hard slap on his face and ears which caused his face to swell and his anus to bleed; this is in addition to the physical and mental pain he still suffers from. Amid the investigation, Al-Shabani was asked to determine the nature of his relationship with Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafda – Vice-president of the BCHR – and they threatened to arrest and rape him as well.

    Lieutenant Fawaz Al-Sameem

    This is not the first time that the BCHR receives statements from detainees about being subjected to torture by the lieutenant Fawaz Al-Sameem, among the activists who stated that are the media worker Jassim Al-Noaimi and the photographer Hussein Hubail[2]. The BCHR confirms documenting hundreds of cases that prove the existence of torture in the prisons of Bahrain[3] and which at times caused the death of 5 detainees which Mr Bassiouni had documented and mentioned in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report. However none of those who practiced torture have been held accountable until this day which confirms the BCHR’s belief that torture is a recognized system and the lack of accountability was and still is the means of impunity and thus the number of victims is escalating.

    While the Authority in Bahrain denies the existence of torture in Bahrain, it is still banning the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture – Juan Mendez – from entering Bahrain too look into the conditions of more than 3000 prisoners of conscience in the Bahraini prisons. Mendez stated before the Human Rights Council during the 25th session held on 10 March 2014 that he is worried about the torture complaints that are continuing to be received in Bahrain[4], noting that he is ready to carry out the postponed visit to Bahrain without any compelling reasons and that the government has to cooperate to schedule a date for the visit without any further delay. Mendez also stressed that the countries that practice torture have to be aware that not signing the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) means being pursued by international law.

    Based on the aforementioned, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations, European Union, and all the close allies and international institutes to lay pressure on the Bahraini Authorities in order to:

    1. Put an immediate end to the practice of torture as a means to extract confessions, and to provide guarantees regarding the safety and security of detainees;
    2. the immediate and unconditional release of Sadiq Al-Shabani and the rest of the detainees who have been arbitrarily arrested for politically motivated charges due to the current public movement for freedom and democracy;
    3. question and hold accountable all those who are implicated in torture specifically the ones in the higher ranks who order or supervise the practice of torture.
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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is seriously concerned over the recent arrest of four individuals in connection with an alleged bomb blast in Diah, Bahrain. A clear pattern has emerged, as documented by the BCHR, of detainees reporting that they are subjected to torture during the first hours and days of their arrest (for recent cases, see: http://bchr.hopto.org/en/node/6781 and http://bchr.hopto.org/en/node/6772 ). It is particularly important during this critical time that the BCHR insists that the detainees must be granted access to a lawyer, and that their whereabouts are clearly communicated to the family at all times.

    An arrest warrant was issued just hours after the authorities claim that the blast took place. Twenty-nine individuals were arrested including several from the Mushaima and Al Samea families (see, in Arabic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arabic/middleeast/2014/03/140309_bahrain_blast_trail.shtml). The individuals who have been charged in the case are: Abbas Jameel Taher Mohammed Al Samea, 25 years-old, who was previously sentenced to five years in prison on charges under the internationally criticized terrorism law; Ali Jameel Taher Mohammed Al Samea, 24 years-old, who was also previously tried in absentia and sentenced to five years in prison on charges of terrorism; Taher Yusuf Ahmed Mohammed Al Samea, 22, and Sami Mirza Ahmed Mushaima, 40.

     

    Translation of the news article presuming guilt in the case: Arrest of four people involved in Diah terrorist bombing

     

    Sami Mushaima previously reported to the BCHR that he was subjected to torture while in police custody in 2010 on terrorism charges. He was reportedly interrogated by Bader Ebrahim Ghaith, who is currently employed at the National Security Apparatus. Mushaima was reportedly severely tortured, and electric shocks marks were visible on his body according to eyewitnesses. Mushaima stated that he was placed in extremely cold water, and then made to stand in front of an air conditioner while blindfolded. The authorities also forced him to remain in handcuffs while he was in his prison cell. Bader reportedly took a personal role in torturing Mushaima, including beating him on his genitals. Mushaima was prevented from going out of his cell as other prisoners were, and prevented from going to the toilet freely. The authorities forced Mushaima to stand for prolonged periods of time. One of his fellow prisoners stated that Bader told him he was going to be sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, and that the judge reads the sentences they decide on. Mushaima was arrested hours following Daih explosion. His father’s house was raided and he was arrested along with three of his brothers; his mother and sister in law were reportedly beaten and the house was vandalized. According to his family, their house was raided again the following day, when security forces brought in large bags and went to the roof. The family witnessed weapons, bottles and other things being taken out of these bags and police were taking photos of them like they were there before. The house was attacked three more times at dawn after that. On 16 March, two more members of the family were arrested. Sami Mushaima is the main suspect in Daih explosion case, despite the fact that he is illiterate and that he was just released a few months ago from prison.

    Mushaima was subjected to enforced disappearance for several days after his arrest. On 23 March, the family saw Mushaima for the first time. His mother said that his teeth were either broken or pulled out. He was wearing a jacket even though the weather was hot, and the jacket may have been used to conceal signs of abuse; there were visible burn marks on his hands. Mushaima’s family has stated that they have lived in constant fear for years as their home has been raided by the police more than twenty times since 2011.


     

     

    Abbas Al Samea: left is the photo published by the Ministry of Interior

     

    Abbas Al Samea is another detainee in the case. He was arrested with at least three other members of his family whom were recently released; he was allegedly tortured in detention. Al Samea’s mother said about his photo that was published by the Ministry of Interior that she didn’t recognize him “Abbas’ face was swollen from torture. It is pale and there is a bruise on his eye.” His family stated that he called saying he was fine and not to worry about him. When he was asked about his whereabouts he didn’t answer. Like Sami, Abbas Al Samea, along with his brothers, were also detained in 2010 and said that he was subjected to severe torture. He was reportedly electrocuted in his genital area, striped naked and splashed with cold water, forced to stand naked in a cold room, whipped and beaten with plastic hose. Abbas is the only detainee in the case who has yet to be transferred to the Dry Dock detention center, which means he is most probably still being detained in the Criminal Investigation Directorate. He has not been allowed a visit from his family, and they are gravely concerned over his wellbeing.

     

    Based on the above information, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, the European Union, and all the close allies and international institutes to lay pressure on the authorities in Bahrain to:

    • immediately provide all detained individuals in this case with a lawyer, and allow them access to family visits;
    • end the practice of torture to extract false confessions, and end the practice of subjecting detainees to enforced disappearance;
    • investigate the news outlets that illegally presume guilt in alleged terrorism crimes, and hold the responsible individuals accountable;
    • immediately and unconditionally release all political detainees who have been arbitrarily arrested for politically motivated charges due to the current popular movement for freedom and democracy;

     

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    During the Arab League's summit, which is being held today and tomorrow in Kuwait, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights joined sixteen other institutions in calling for greater incusion in the talks surrounding drafting a statute for the Arab Court of Human Rights. The full text of the statement is below.

     

    March 20, 2014

    Ahead of the Arab League’s summit to be held in Kuwait on 25 and 26 March, national and global human rights organizations today called upon the Arab League’s member States to suspend efforts to adopt a draft statute of the Arab Court of Human Rights (the Arab Court) until broad discussions and consultations have taken place with all interested stakeholders, who must be permitted to participate meaningfully in all stages of the process of establishing the Arab Court.

    Our organizations have closely followed the initiatives of the League of Arab States (LAS) aimed at reforming the LAS system since popular uprisings erupted in several Middle East and North Africa countries in 2011. While our organizations welcome efforts to strengthen the LAS human rights system, including by establishing an Arab Court, we are concerned that the entire process of reform over the past three years has been conducted behind closed doors and through opaque procedures that contravene basic principles of inclusive participation and transparency. Consultations should include not only representatives from the LAS member States but also national and global civil society organizations, members of the bar and judiciary, academic and independent experts and other interested stakeholders.

    Our organizations are concerned that establishing the Arab Court in a rushed and non-inclusive manner would be detrimental to the efficacy of the Court. We are further concerned that the draft statute, elaborated by the expert legal committee and expected to be submitted for approval at the LAS’s summit, falls short of international, including regional, human rights standards. Areas of particular concern include the means of selection of judges, the independence of the Arab Court, the applicable law and jurisdiction of the Court, the admissibility of cases, and access to the Court.

    Our organizations call on the on the member States of the LAS, LAS Summit, and Secretariat to amend the draft statute in order to:

    • Ensure that the nomination of candidates and election of judges is based on transparent and non-discriminatory procedures that protect against undue, inappropriate and unwarranted interference, and that take full account of appropriate personal and legal qualifications, gender balance and a fair representation of different legal systems;

     

    • Ensure that judges sit in their individual capacity, not as representatives of their national State, and serve for a single, lengthy term;

     

    • Ensure that judges can only be suspended or removed from office for reasons of incapacity or behaviour that renders them unfit to discharge their duties, following an appropriate procedure, established in advance, that guarantees the rights of the concerned judge to a fair hearing incorporating all due process guarantees;

     

    • Provide that the jurisdiction of the Arab Court extends to violations arising out of breaches of the Arab Charter and that the Court must interpret the Charter in a manner consistent with the State’s other international human rights obligations;

     

    • Ensure that the requirement of exhaustion of local remedies does not have the effect of preventing rights holders from accessing the Arab Court, and that only claims brought by the same applicant on the same subject matter before another regional human rights court are precluded from the Arab Court’s jurisdiction;

     

    • Ensure that all individuals within the territory of a State party, or subject to its jurisdiction, can have access to the Arab Court when they claim to be a victim of a violation, by any of the State parties, that falls under the jurisdiction of the Court; and that States do not hinder access to the Court, in particular by providing for the effective protection of victims and other participants in the proceedings and by ensuring that they are not subjected to any form of pressure or reprisals as a result of their participation in proceedings before the court;

     

    • Remove any obstacles that may limit NGO access to the Arab Court, and ensure that any NGO, not only those accredited in a respondent State, can bring a complaint before the Court; accordingly, the statute should also provide for other avenues to access the Court, including for individuals or NGOs to join proceedings as interested parties or to submit information as amicus curiae or through expert opinions;

     

    • Provide for an independent and effective monitoring mechanism that supervises the execution of the Arab Court’s judgments, and provide that the Court is competent to prescribe specific measures to be adopted by member States in order to execute the Court’s judgements; and

     

    • Ensure that the Arab Court is competent to prescribe interim measures, which may be granted prior to the issuance of a final judgment, to enable the Arab Court to intervene in cases where the applicant might face an imminent risk of a serious, irreversible or irreparable harm.

     

    This statement is supported by:

    1. International Commission of Jurists
    2. International Federation for Human Rights
    3. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
    4. Al Haq
    5. Human Rights Watch
    6. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
    7. Human Rights Information Training Center
    8. Gulf Center for Human Rights
    9. Human Rights Organization for the Documentation of War Crimes in Libya
    10. Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies
    11. Mauritanian Association for Human Right
    12. Open Society Foundations - Arab Regional Office
    13. Arab Women Organization of Jordan
    14. African Center for Justice and Peace Studies
    15. Bahrain Center for Human Rights
    16. The Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Democratic Freedoms - Aden
    17. Legal Agenda- Lebanon

     

     

     

     

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    Said Yousif AlMuhafdha Vice President and the Head of the Monitoring and documentation Unit of Bahrain Center for Human Rights in an exclusive interview with Mark Ulyseas

    Why has BCHR been set up and what was has been achieved since its inception?

    BCHR was set up as a non-profit/non-governmental organisation in July 2002. It is registered with the Bahrain Ministry of Labor and Social Services. In November 2004 the authorities ordered it closed. In spite of this unilateral action by the government BCHR continues to operate. It supports/promotes the following: Civil, political and economic rights, combats racial and religious discrimination, is in the forefront of human rights education and provides support and protection to victims ofhuman rights abuses.

    We have setup committees to monitor and report on various issues: migrant workers, those who don’t have passports, the unemployed and more importantly on the rampant human rights abuses, which includes illegal arrests, detention, torture and murder of Bahrainis by the government in power. The subsequent documentation is also being used to influence international policies according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Our work has been widely acknowledged by the international community. The numerous awards that BCHR has received in recognition of our endeavours: The Rafto Prize 2013, The Stieg Larsson Prize 2012, Baldwin Medal of Liberty 2012, The Martin Ennals Award Final Nominee 2012, Advocacy Award 2012, The Silbury Prize 2011, Ion Ratiu Democracy Award 2011.

    Who are the people behind this organisation and does it receive mass support from the citizens of Bahrain?

    The co founder is Abdulhadi alkhawaja (imprisoned under life sentence), the current president is Nabeel Rajab (sentenced to 2 years), the acting president Maryam Alkhawaja, and the Said Yousif AlMuhafdha (me). And supporting the work of BCHR are thousands of Bahrainis who wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals from the authorities. We live and work with and among the ordinary people documenting the arrests, incarceration, beatings, shooting of innocent citizens by the authorities.

    Who rules Bahrain and which countries support this regime and why?

    The Al Khalifas, a Sunni family that controls the Shia-majority population since 1783. They are supported by the USA, UK andSaudi Arabia among other countries. Because the Al Khalifas are Sunni they are supported by Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have even sent troops into our country to quell the massive popular protests that seek to bring about a democratic state for fear that the agitation may spread to their own country. Bahrainis are subjected to inhumane treatment. The financial benefits from theoil industry do not percolate down to the masses. The Saudis are aware of the power of the people and are apprehensive that if Bahrain does become a democratic state it would only be a matter of time before it spreads to Saudi Arabia – a country that seriously lacks basic civil and human rights.

    What kind of support do you receive from other countries and organisations?

    What more needs to be done? We are working with human rights groups in various countries but we need support from foreign governments to put pressure on the Al Khalifas to stop arresting, torturing and killing Bahrainis. The bitter truth is that the Saudis and Americans must stop support for the government till it acknowledges the civil and human rights of its citizens.

    On March 18, 2014, acting president Maryam Alkhawaja delivered this address to the UN Human Rights Council.

    Human Rights Council: 25th Session
    Oral Intervention- Item 4 General Debate
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

    Thank you Mr. President,

    This statement is made on behalf of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. My name is Mariam Al-Khawaja and I am the Acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights.

    Within the Gulf region human rights defenders are increasingly subject to harassment, imprisonment, torture, incarceration and reprisals. In this context a new Gulf Cooperation Council Security Agreement was signed on the 13th of November 2013 which infringes on the basic rights and liberties of the citizens of these six countries and creates the framework for regional repression of rights defenders.

    For example, Article (2) of the agreement states: “State Parties shall cooperate to pursue system outlaws, or those wanted by State Parties, regardless of their nationality, and take necessary action against them.”

    In most Gulf countries almost any form of dissent against official policy including human rights work has been criminalized thorough laws that fundamentally contradict with international human rights standards. In this context the vague term ‘system outlaws’ is likely to be used in an arbitrary manner to restrict liberties and pursue political activists, dissidents and human rights activists throughout the region.

    In effect, we are witnessing the regionalization of totalitarian repression. And yet here in this Council silence on these issues continues to be the norm.

    In several of these countries, notably Saudi Arabia, the mere act of sending information to the United Nations, in whatever form or for whatever purpose, has been criminalized and rights defenders have been systematically prosecuted for any and all interaction with international bodies. And yet this Council on these matters remains silent. The lack of action by this Council on these matters is a stain on the moral conscious of the international community, and mocks the dignity of this institution.

    In Bahrain, the authorities have time and time again used “prevention of terrorism” as grounds to target and silence rights defenders and political dissent. In 2013 alone, 328 defendants were tried for alleged terrorism crimes in 38 separate cases. According to a report by the BCHR, the majority of these cases lacked adequate evidence, and convictions were based mainly, or entirely, on the defendants’ confessions obtained under reported torture or secret sources that were never revealed.

    In a sample of twenty cases, the sentences handed down for the 231 defendants totaled more than 2500 years in prison. The government in Bahrain, like other governments in the region, is in the process of consolidating a system in which almost any form of dissent is classified as terrorism. It is an approach that will only deepen social division and further entrench repression.

    Much has been reported about police brutalities and the use of tear gas that has injured a number of people. Please give us details of when this agitation commenced and how many people were tortured and/or jailed.

    Thirty people have died due to tear gas. Then there is the collective punishment meted out to Shia villages where security forces entered homes, beat people, arrested many. A number of those beaten and/or shot succumbed to their injuries. It is estimated that there are over 3500 people in jail who are presently subjected to the official treatment – torture. This has been going on since 2006.

    Under the present regime what are the rights of the citizens, if any?

    Bahrainis do not possess any rights. They are at the mercy of the Al Khalifa family.

    Your organisation talks of ‘democracy’ but how can this come about with the present regime in power? Please comment.

    Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa has been the Prime Minister of Bahrain from 1970, taking office nearly two years before Bahrain’s independence on 16 December 1971. He is the longest-serving current prime minister in the world! Therefore, we don’t have a democracy, no free and fair elections just a government ruled by one family. We have been fighting to change this system, to remove these dictators.

    The situation is grim and many Bahrainis have borne the brunt of the ruthlessness of the state. BCHR continues to pay a high cost for the promotion and support of human rights and the call for the formation of a democratic state. We will continue to fight for our freedom despite the violence perpetrated by the state.

    Have cases been filed against the regime in the International Crime Court?

    No

    It is claimed that the popular uprising comprises of a Shia led majority against the minority Sunni led regime. Is this true? And if so, how can a democracy function with this religious divide? Please comment

    Yes, Shias are a majority in Bahrain. However, there are many Sunnis who are fighting alongside us for justice and democracy. They too have been arrested and tortured.

    There is no religious divide in Bahrain. The fight is about money and power against civil and human rights.

    What is your message to the world?

    We ask you to support the rights of Bahrainis. And to the media we want you to cover our story like other countries in the Arab Spring, which unfortunately is not happening.

    http://liveencounters.net/?page_id=7030

     

     

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    A leading Bahraini dissident, whose father was imprisoned for life for his role in pro-democracy protests, has claimed that taking Formula One to the country increases the number of human-rights abuses.

    Maryam al-Khawaja has renewed calls for the Formula One chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, and the FIA president, Jean Todt, to remove the Bahrain race from the Formula One calendar, believing it legitimises a regime that has been heavily criticised by human-rights organisations and campaigners for press freedom.

    The race was added to the schedule in 2004 although it was cancelled in 2011 at the height of sometimes violent protests against the government by pro-democracy campaigners.

    "When we first started talking about this we would be told that you shouldn't mix sport and politics. In Bahrain, it's not just that the human-rights situation is bad and therefore Formula One shouldn't come to Bahrain. But having Formula One in Bahrain specifically causes human-rights violations," said al-Khawaja, who was raised in Denmark and returned to Bahrain in 2001 with her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja.

    "The amount of arrests that happen before, during and after Formula One definitely accelerates. We've had women arrested, we've had children arrested."

     

    Continue reading on http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/mar/27/formula-one-bahrain-grand-prix-human-rights-abuses 

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    An interview with Maryam al-Khawaja, a leading Bahraini human rights activist, on the continuing protests in Bahrain, the regime’s continued repression and the UK’s involvement in the ongoing situation.

    Maryam al-Khawaja is the Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Co-Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. She comes from a family of prominent human rights defenders in Bahrain, with her sister having served and her father continuing to serve time as political prisoners. 

    David Wearing: Let’s start by talking about the legal situation with your dad and your sister. Where do things stand with them at the moment?

    Maryam al-Khawaja: My father is sentenced to life imprisonment. He’s been through all the legal processes available in Bahrain. His sentence has been upheld at every level, right up to the end at the Court of Cassation. But of course, when we’re talking about the justice system in Bahrain, there isn’t really due process. Nor do you have any real insight into how the judiciary works because these are political decisions made outside of the courtroom. The courts are not independent, nor are they fair. 

    My sister Zainab got out of prison about a month ago after being in prison for approximately a year. She’s now facing three more court cases, so she could be arrested again at any point. 

    DW: Can you tell us something about the political demands they were making and the non-violent techniques they employed in their activism?

    MK: My father has been a human rights defender for a very long time now. He’s been working on the ground there since 2001. And his demands were very much to do with human rights; demanding civil and human rights for all people in Bahrain. And his way of doing this was to create an awareness in society of what civil and human rights are.

    So he would train the youth to work on their own chosen issues, helping to set up thematic committees that would work on a given issue and bring pressure on the government to deal with that issue. But of course, my father’s work wasn’t just limited within the borders of Bahrain. The amount of people he’s trained to work on human rights across the Middle East and North Africa is countless.

    And this created a real threat to the regime, the fact that not only was he working on human rights but that he was also sowing the seeds so in the future there would be hundreds of other people doing the same thing. That’s why he was one of their main targets and why he’s sentenced to prison today. 

    Zainab is very well known for her use of non-violent methodology in dealing with the situation that you face in Bahrain on a day-to-day basis. Which is, for example, when you’re attacked by the police you don’t run, you stand your ground, which is scary, of course, it’s difficult and not anyone can do it, but for her, non-violence is an active thing.

     

    Continue reading on http://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/david-wearing/britain-and-bahrain-still-allied-against-democracy-and-human-rights

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    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its concern for the continued practice of collective punishment in the residential areas by the members of the security apparatuses while suppressing the protests staged in the villages and towns of Bahrain demanding freedom, democracy and the right to self-determination which has been taking place for the last three years. Information was received by the BCHR regarding the youth Ahmed Ali Faraj (19 years) that he suffered a pellet bullet (shotgun); the shot caused him a severe injury in his neck and shoulder forcing his transfer to the Intensive Care Unit at Salmaniya Medical Complex.

    The family of the young Ahmed stated to the BCHR that on Friday morning 21 March 2014, their son was shot with a direct shotgun bullet while he was jogging in one of the streets of Samaheej village, close to Bahrain International Airport. According to the family’s statement, Ahmed’s injury had been described as critical as the splinters settled in the face, neck and right shoulder in addition to the chest and hands, which required transferring him to Intensive Care while he was unconscious. An eyewitness – who took him to the hospital – stated that he found Ahmed unconscious in one of the side streets and when he approached him he found that he was covered in blood and unable to breathe which urged him take him to the hospital.

    Ahmed’s family had been prevented from visiting their son and even from seeing him from far, and they were threatened with calling the women police for them in case they demanded visiting their son or seeing him, although there was no warrant for his arrest or detention until that moment. His situation remained unknown until Monday 24 March 2014 when the family attempted to visit him in the hospital; they were then required by the police to head to the Public Prosecution to get a visit permit. They deplored this procedure which was taken without questioning Ahmed or asking him about the manner in which he was injured. The family was surprised that Ahmed was taken to the Fort’s hospital and was kept in detention for 45 days without a specific charge.

    This is not the first time that members of security apparatuses practice random and excessive suppression amid the residential areas which causes the fall of many victims.Among those victims is the child Ahmed Mansoor Al-Naham (6 years) who was helping his father in a stall for selling fish in the village of Al-Der in Bahrain when they were subjected to an attack and fired at by the Riot Police. The father tried to save his son by protecting him with his body, however according to some of the BCHR members, who documented the case and met the witnesses, Ahmed and his father faced premeditated murder by firing twice at them with a rifle at close range[1]. Ahmed was injured with shotgun splinters in various areas of his body, including his eye, and he suffered blood loss. He was then taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Salmaniya Hospital. On Thursday 14 June 2012, he was taken to Bahrain Defence Force Hospital before being transferred again to a hospital in Saudi Arabia. The doctors’ attempts to save Ahmed’s eye failed.

    At an early age, 5 years old, Ahmed permanently lost sight in one of his eyes; the Ministry of Interior admitted the incident however it considered it to be accidental and it blamed the demonstrators who were protesting demanding democracy[2].

    On 14 February 2013, the members of the security apparatuses killed the child Hussein Ali Al-Jazeeri[3] (16 years) while he was practicing his legitimate right to peaceful protest in the area of Daih – near the Pearl Roundabout – when they directly fired at him which hit him in his stomach and caused his death. The video broadcasted by activists on social media networks attests that Al-Jazeeri did not pose any danger that required dealing with him with such excessive force. This proves that the members of the security apparatuses seek to kill protestors and deprive them of their life because they demonstrate against the regime’s policy.

     

    The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, United Kingdom, United Nations and all its allies and other international institutes to lay pressure on the government of Bahrain in order to:

    • stop using excessive force in response to the frequent peaceful protests;
    • stop supplying the government of Bahrain with arms which are used to killing peaceful protestors;
    • hold accountable the violators, whether they execute or order, and not excluding the ones in higher ranks;
    • reimburse the victims with a compensation that meets the extent of violation they were subjected to.
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    A large coalition of NGOs have been working in cooperation over the last several months to stop the F1 race from going forward in Bahrain. The events surrounding this event are considered to not only be an unacceptable show of support for the authorities from the international community, but the race has also proven to be a cause of further human rights violations. Over the course of the campaign, several NGOs helped contribute to the success of the activities listed below, including Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, Bahrain Watch, the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, and the European Bahraini Organization for Human Rights.

     

    The activities of the F1 campaign can be summarized by the following:

    • A complaint against UK-based Formula 1 management, teams and sponsors under the Guidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was filed by ADHRB.

    More information about the OECD complaint can be found via the link below:

    http://adhrb.org/2014/03/adhrb-files-oecd-complaint-against-formula-one-activities-in-bahrain/

     

    • An Early Day Motion (EDM 1194) was sponsored by MP Ms. Katy Clark. BIRD and Bahrain Watch coordinated meetings with Ms. Clark to lobby her support, and participated actively in the lobbying of other MPs to sign onto the motion. EDM 1194 which opposes the staging of the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix was also co-sponsored by 5 other MPs and currently has 29 signatories.

     

    Follow this link to read EDM 1194:

    http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/1194

     

    • A Thunderclap social media campaign was launched by the Committee to Protect Journalists in association with Reporters without Borders. This was supported and followed closely by all regulating bodies. Although the campaign still has 6 days remaining, it has a registered social reach of 2,457,217 people and 201 out of the 250 aimed supporters. In addition, the social media campaign was further endorsed by the IFEX network, advocating for free expression for all, particularly media workers, citizen journalists, activists, artists and scholars.

     

    Follow this link to support and review the Thunderclap initiative:

    https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/10068-bahrain-racing-in-circles

     

    Follow this link to see the IFEX endorsement of the Thunderclap:

    http://ifex.org/bahrain/2014/03/26/racing_f1/

     

    • A press conference  was hosted by BIRD on 20.03.2014, chaired by MP Ms. Katy Clark. Event speakers included Maryam Al-Khawaja (Acting President of BCHR), Daniel Carey (Human Rights and Civil Solicitor) and Nick McGeehan (Human Rights Watch). Two MP offices were also represented at the event.

     

    Follow this link to read more about the event:

    http://birdbh.org/2014/03/british-mp-chairs-formula-one-implications-in-bahrain-event-at-portcullis-house/

     

    • A campaign video highlighting the implications of the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain was created by Bahrain Watch and showcased at the BIRD hosted event on 20.03.2014. This video received 3,302 views and 49 likes on YouTube.

     

    Follow this link to view this campaign video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_Lw_WiQGj0

     

    • Dorset Band, Magic Drum Orchestra, used the BIRD hosted event on 20.03.2014 to announce their firm rejection to Bahrain in response to an invitation made by the Bahraini government, asking them to play at the Formula One event. They also took this opportunity to dedicate a song in solidarity to the Bahraini people, deploring the human rights violations in Bahrain. This song was followed by 8037 hits on YouTube and 285 likes.

     

    Follow this link to listen to Magic Drum Orchestra’s  Bahrain inspired song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxUH1d0vPiQ

     

    • With regards to press coverage, BCHR’s Maryam Al-Khawaja was successful in obtaining an interview with both The Guardian and Open Democracy. The Guardian published an article titled “Dissident says taking Formula One to Bahrain increases human rights abuses” and Open Democracy, an article titled “Britain and Bahrain: Still Allied Against Democracy and Human Rights”.

     

    Follow this link to read The Guardian article:

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/mar/27/formula-one-bahrain-grand-prix-human-rights-abuses

     

    Follow this link to read the Open Democracy article:

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/david-wearing/britain-and-bahrain-still-allied-against-democracy-and-human-rights

     

    • BIRD coordinated the sending of over 100 letters to F1 sponsors, teams and management urging them to withdraw from the Grand Prix in Bahrain due to human rights violations. This included a letter to Jean Todt, President of the FIA.

     

    Follow this link to see the letters that were sent:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5CDE4Zrm7UjOHBBX1laaWVLRXNYcHVSVWw1TVlhRHdrVHZv/edit

     

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    This piece is written by Said Yousif, a leading activist in Bahrain; he is now in exile. It documents some of the oppression experienced by him and by others at the hands of the ruling family, and the security forces. Said documents the human rights abuses in the country, and these words below are his.

    “As of today, 95 protesters have been killed in Bahrain, and 3200 made political prisoners; most of them have been tortured. Meanwhile the prime minster has held office for 44 years; the longest serving in the world, and little here seems to be changing.

    Working as a human rights activist in Bahrain is not an easy job, and you must be willing to pay a high price for your beliefs. When I started working in The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) in 2007 I quickly became a target for the government, along with other members of my organisation.

    Every day we know we might be beaten, arrested, banned from travel, tortured and even sentenced to life in prison.

    Abdulhadi al khawaja the co-founder of BCHR was arrested in 2011, tortured and sentenced to life.

    Nabeel rajab the current president of BCHR has been sentenced to 2 years, and has been beaten several times by the police.

    Naje fateel, another close friend was arrested in 2013, tortured and sentenced to 15 years.
     

    http://cf.cdn.vid.ly/8b1s8l/webm.webm

    I myself have been arrested seven times, and have often been beaten by police and banned from travelling. There is a non stop campaign against me in official newspapers but I will continue to speak out. It is my duty to report the number of people who have been killed, tortured or arrested in our country, where to do so is a crime for which you will be punished

    I will give you some examples of when and why I was arrested.

    In September 2012 I went to the human rights council and delivered a speech about targeting human rights defenders in Bahrain. My pictures were published around the world and in October I was arrested. I spent three weeks in prison, charged with “illegal gathering” a rule that prohibits a group of more than five people gathering in one place without notifying the government. But I was alone at the time, and so you must understand the reason for the arrest.

    In December 2012 I went to Brussels and met with EU MP’s. We discussed the human rights situation in Bahrain and on my return on the 17th I was arrested again; this time for one month. The charge was publishing false information on twitter, but again you must understand the reasons for the arrest.

    I was mistreated but was not beaten as they were aware of me being involved with the media and human rights groups. However as I write this I have just received information that Sami Mishaim, who is a citizen in Samabis Village (a Shia village) was tortured for peacefully protesting.

    On a daily basis I document human rights violation and report what I see. I talk to the media and observe protests. I support the rights of peaceful assembly, and many times have been targeted with tear gas or beaten while at demonstrations. It is because they know that I’m talking to the media, and publish what I see. I’m very active on twitter @saidyousif, and will continue to be so.

    Whenever a journalist or human rights group contacts me I will help them write reports. The security services knows about this and so I became a targeted person. 80% of the security forces here, and most of it’s army are not actually from Bahrain. They come from Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia to name a few. They are mercenaries. They come to carry out the dirty work like killing the protesters, stealing, burning houses of activists, torturing them, sexually harassing them. For this, as they arrive in Bahrain, they receive a good house, a healthy salary, citizenship and other benefits. They are changing the demographics of our country, trying to make the majority Shia a minority.

    In October 2013 I went to Dublin to talk about the targeting of human rights defenders at a conference organized by the frontline organization. BCHR then began a campaign called “Wanted for Justice” (http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/6445) where we publish the names and pictures of the officers responsible for the killings, and other human rights violations in Bahrain. This includes members of the royal family and even the King himself.

    The King, who is backed by Saudi and the UK, I believe to be legally responsible for all these crimes, he knows exactly what is happening and even promotes the use of police brutality and corruption. However these people are loyal to the royal family, and are therefore above the law and do not face any punishment. 

    Following that they published my picture in the newspapers as a wanted man, and since then I have received numerous death threats. I was hence forced into exile and today I can’t go back. I left Bahrain back in October and I am now at risk of torture or death in jail so I am now in Germany.

    Similar cases are Maryam Alkhawaja (head of BCHR) who is no longer allowed back into Bahrain and Hussain Jawad who has had so seek asylum in the UK. However being in Germany doesn’t stop me being scared for my family, and I am scared of my friends being targeted on revenge attacks for my actions. But this is the cost for change and the struggles for freedom. 

    This is just part of my story as a human rights defender in the police state of Bahrain. There are many other stories I can tell about other activists in Bahrain, and how they are suffering. I can mention the 200 children under the age of 18 who are wrongly held in jail, most of them are tortured and sexually harassed and others who are forced into working as a spy for the government. It is documented that 14 children have been killed in Bahrain from 2011 until now. 

    But the final point I want to make to whoever is reading my story, and to the brave people in Bahrain, is that myself and other activists both in and out of the country will continue the struggle for justice and will fight for human rights, and we won’t stop until we achieve our demands.”

    http://www.borderlinenews.tv/blog/inside-bahrain-a-view-from-the-opposition/

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