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    Jailed in 1849 for four years for discussing peaceful political reform by a tsarist elite fearful of change, Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevksy said “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”

    Jailed in 2011 for life for discussing peaceful political reform by a monarchist elite fearful of change, Bahraini dissident Abdul Al Khawaja is living the brutality of Bahrain’s Jau Prison.

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    Prisoner of conscience Nabeel Rajab has been held in solitary confinement for nine months, with growing concerns about the effect it is having on his health and well-being. On 22 March, his trial in the case regarding comments he posted on Twitter was once again postponed and re-scheduled for 17 May. He also remains on trial on separate charges in relation to TV interviews he gave in 2015 and 2016.

    Access Amnesty's statement and report here

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    On March 22, 2017, Manama’s Fifth High Criminal Court postponed again Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab’s trial in the Twitter case, in clear contempt of international human rights standards. His arbitrary detention and judicial harassment are only meant to silence one of Bahrain’s most vocal human rights defenders, say the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Front Line Defenders, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT).

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    27 March 2017 – Bahraini security forces attacked the funeral procession of Mustafa Hamdan with tear gas and shotgun bullets, injuring those gathered. We, the undersigned organizations, condemn this excessive use of force employed by security forces over the weekend during the procession. We call on the security forces to halt their excessive use of force against mourners and peaceful protestors and to allow freedom of movement during funeral proceedings without fear of being attacked.

    Mustafa Hamdan died on 24 March at Salmaniya Medical Complex, two months after masked, plainclothes security forces shot him in the head with live ammunition from close range, rendering him comatose. Hamdan was 18 years-old. Security forces shot Hamdan on 26 January as they attacked demonstrators at a peaceful sit-in in Diraz in the middle of the night. Though he was taken to the Bahrain International Hospital, the hospital refused to admit him. His brother took him to Salmaniya Hospital, where security forces awaited them. Because he did not receive the care he needed, he died after falling into a coma. The police’s actions amount to an extrajudicial killing due to their excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators without trial, judge, or jury. The Bahraini government has neither admitted responsibility, nor initiated an investigation to hold the perpetrators of his shooting accountable.

    Hamdan’s funeral was held over the weekend of 25 March and attended by thousands of people. Security forces attacked the funeral, firing tear gas and birdshot pellets at the mourners. Among those hit by the police’s excessive use of force was Mazen Mahdi, a photojournalist. He was targeted with tear gas despite wearing a press vest. Police shot Mahdi with a tear gas canister that hit him on his hand. Witnesses report that a security force-fired tear gas canister was shot into crowd of mourners and caused a woman to faint from excessive tear gas inhalation. Another mourner sustained an eye injury.

    The Bahraini government has previously attacked peaceful demonstrators and mourners with birdshot, teargas, and live ammunition. Indeed, Mustafa Hamdan was the victim of such excessive force. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), which regularly documents marches, reported that 68 marches took place around the country during the previous week. Riot police attacked 12 marches, injuring eight people with shotgun bullets. BCHR documented eight injuries from shotgun pellets.

    Sayed Ahmed Alwadei, Director of Advocacy, BIRD: “The fact that the security forces attacked the funeral march of a man they killed shows how deep the culture of impunity goes in Bahrain. Mustafa Hamdan’s death is a call to action for the international community, especially Bahrain’s allies in London and Washington, to hold Bahrain accountable.”

    Said Yousif Al-Muhafdha, Vice-President, BCHR: “The failure of the Bahraini authorities to open an investigation into the shooting of demonstrator Mustafa Hamdan and punish the culprit contributes greatly to the spread of impunity in Bahrain and protects the violators. We note the utter disregard for a crime of this magnitude, despite the fact that 50 days have passed since the shooting, and the authorities have taken no steps to punish the perpetrators.”

    Bahraini security forces have attacked funeral processions before. On 21 May 2014, security forces attacked the funeral procession of Ali Faisal al-Akrawi, killing 14-year-old Sayed Mahmood Mohsen Ahmed. BCHR documented that two officers shot Sayed Mahmood in the chest with shotguns from three meters away. Police officers surrounded him and continued to shoot him. A hospital pronounced him dead upon arrival. On 15 February 2011, police attacked the funeral of Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima, the first victim of the government’s violent suppression of the 2011 mass peaceful pro-democracy protests. During the attack, a police officer shot 32-year-old Fadhel Salman Matrook with a shotgun from several meters away, killing him.

    Husain Abdulla, Executive Director, ADHRB: "The violence against the mourners that we saw over the weekend is appalling. We've seen time and time again that the Bahraini government refuses to allow peaceful expression in the country, even during a funeral procession. The government must cease the continued perpetuation of state violence and excessive use of force utilized against mourners and protesters in Bahrain."

    We, the undersigned organizations, condemn the Bahraini government’s ongoing use of excessive force against peaceful protesters and funeral processions. We are seriously concerned that the recent re-empowerment of the National Security Agency will lead to an increase in the government’s already over-militarized response to peaceful gatherings. We call on the Bahraini government to immediately cease attacking peaceful gatherings, respect funeral processions, and conduct a serious investigation into the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters. We also call on the government to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to visit the country and allow her unfettered access to all areas.

    Signed,

    Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain

    Bahrain Center for Human Rights

    Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy

    European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights

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    In a consultation with the Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday 24. March members of the committee asked Anders Samuelsen, Minister for Foreign Affairs in Denmark questions about the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a Danish citizen who has been imprisoned in Bahrain since 2011 and whose health has deteriorated lately. The present members were MPs Lars Aslan Rasmussen, Christian Juhl, and Nikolaj Villumsen.

     

    Our Translation:

    Lars Aslan: Since 2011 Abdhulhadi has been in prison. Several attempts at dialogue with the authorities in Bahrain have failed. The situation has since worsened and prisoners are being executed. Al-Khawajas case is critical and his conditions in prison are getting worse. What will the minister do for Abdhulhadi and what is being done to help al-Khawaja?

    Minister: First of all, the possibilities for going into detail are limited here. The case has been treated behind closed doors. Overall, the government has followed two tracks to help al-Khawaja: a political and diplomatic track, and a consular track. We have worked actively for a humanitarian solution. The work political and diplomatic work has consisted of contact with Bahrain and other international partners. The dialogue with Bahrain is kept out of the public to increase the possibility of finding a solution. Denmark has voiced the case several times in UN’s Human Rights Council. On the consular track: the embassy offers regular visits to Abdhulhadi, we are regularly contact with his family. Sadly, I cannot promise a quick solution to the situation.

    Lars Aslan: The export to Bahrain has almost doubled since 2011 – does this increase influence the case?

    Minister: I can completely reject that. Danish export is a separate issue.

    Christian Juhl: It’s not very comforting that the Danish government cannot do anything for a Danish citizen who is prisoned under those conditions. We want Danish citizens in Denmark so they can receive a fair trial and punishment if at all. In other cases, the Danish government has done so without caring about the potential loss of export. Human rights principles should be a top priority. Is it not possible to take a harder stance with Bahrain, whether economically or diplomatic? Perhaps by working with other countries to sanction Bahrain?

    Minister: Denmark isn’t a big player in Bahrain. Based on the briefings I have had I don’t believe anything like that would make an impression on Bahrain.

    Lars Aslan: What about the increased export to Bahrain from 2011-2016? Can that be justified?

    Minister: It is not my opinion that that is relevant to the case.

    Christian Juhl: Has there been taken initiatives to do an international boycott or other methods of pressuring the Bahraini government into delivering al-Khawaja to Denmark?

    Minister: No, but initiatives on a EU level have been taken.

    Lars Aslan: Can the minister explain why the increase in export is not relevant to the case?

    Minister: Because there is an implication that the government is being reluctant for the sake of export, which is not the case.  

    Nikolaj Villumsen: We shouldn’t exclusively think about the relation between Denmark and Bahrain. The government of Bahrain is extremely dependent of Saudi Arabia’s support. Saudi Arabia is a close ally of the USA. Recently Denmark had a delegation to Saudi Arabia. The minister at the time wasn’t the one sitting here now, however it is still relevant to ask whether the ministry achieved anything in this case during the visit?

    Minister: I have no information.

    Lars Aslan: There are also Swedish citizens in prison in Bahrain. is there a Nordic approach to these cases?

    Minister: No, we are working on the case through the EU.

    Nikolaj Villumsen: It is too bad that there is no information on the achievements of the visit to Saudi Arabia. Yesterday we learned that the Danish Primeminsiter will be travelling to the USA. It seems as though Trump will continue the relationship with Saudi Arabia. Is that fact something that government has considered as an opportunity to get help to pressure Bahrain through Saudi Arabia?

    Minister: We attempt to use the channels at our disposal at the level we deem appropriate. We try at the level and with the approach we think appropriate to make improvements and avoid the opposite.

    Christian Juhl: How does the increased pressure form the EU take shape? What is concretely happening? How long does the minister think a Danish citizen should sit under such conditions before the minister will take independent actions?

    Minister: It is a misunderstanding that we are not doing anything. We have recently raised the case in UN.

    Christian Juhl: I asked about the EU. How long time is enough before we take further action?

    Minister: EU has a comprehensive dialogue with Bahrain regarding human rights questions. We do not accept the situation as it is today, which is why we are seeking a solution.

    Lars Aslan: I would like talk more about trade. What if Al-Khawaja dies? Will we continue the export? Is there not a point where the minister would find it problematic to continue trading with a country knowing they torture our citizen?

    Minister: That is an ongoing assessment by the government and parliament. No former government has wanted to stop the export. We want to get al-Khawaja out alive so I have not considered whether Denmark should stop the trade I case of his death.

    Lars Aslan: The minister must have an opinion – has the strategy of quiet diplomacy helped at all?

    Minister: There are very competent people on the case. Perhaps others have other theories about the best approach. Everybody is trying to do what they can to solve the case.

    Nikolaj Villumsen: We have criticized the former ministers for not doing enough. it’s not very comforting for Enhedslisten that you will not change the approach. The strategy that has been used since 2011 hasn’t brought about any significant results. Does that not give the minister reason to consider other strategies?

    Minister: Former ministers and I have worked and work actively and continuously on this case – including in the UN.

    Christian Juhl: It would be preferable if the ministry would use the most effective tools to deal with the case. It is worth considering whether there are other tools. Could the minister try and mention which tools could be used other than those already in use. Which of these tools are available for us? Besides those already mentioned.

    Minister: in my view it would be harmful to the case to answer your question publicly.

    Lars Aslan: What can possibly get any worse?

    Minister: You can choose to believe that we are not doing it well enough, that those methods used are not the right ones. We do everything with the best intentions. If we were to talk about concrete tools – such a discussion should take place in the Foreign Policy Committee.

    Christian Juhl: We are not here because we believe you are not doing a good job or that we can expose something. We have an idea that we together could find a solution so that a Danish citizen can come back. How can we move forward? It is important that the minister will enter into this dialogue – why is it that the minister cannot answer and be more specific? We have a common history when it comes to foreign policy, we have previously used other methods in different cases. That’s why I’m asking which tools we can use, either alone, with the EU, or other partners.

    Minister: Hypothetical discussions about other methods are not appropriate. We have a close dialogue with NGO’s, the family, the EU with the UN. It is in the Foreign Policy Committee, we must discuss this.

    Lars Aslan: Does Denmark have anything to do with the training of officers or other cooperation in Bahrain?

    Minister: We don’t have any bilateral cooperation with Bahrain other than trade.

    Nikolaj Villumsen: It is also a possibility that we make this consultation closed. Perhaps that would be beneficial if this is not the place to discuss it any further. If we can get closer to a solution behind closed doors, then we must do that. I have no doubt that the ministry is doing something – the question is whether there could be done more. A key is Saudi Arabia – the democratic revolt was crushed by Saudi Arabian militia. What is the price for Saudi Arabia is willing to pay to keep Bahrain in their power? Is that an aspect that you have taken into consideration?

    Minister: The relation to foreign countries is relevant to the Foreign Policy Committee. I can confirm that we have had dialogue with Saudi-Arabia.

    Lars Aslan: I’m not here to disclose anything. So if the minister prefers, we can close the meeting.

    Minister: No, further discussions should take place in the Foreign Policy Committee.

    Christian Juhl: Does that mean the minister won’t participate in a closed consultation with this committee?

    Minister: I cannot hinder a closed consultation, that is up to you. This is about a person-specific and sensitive case. I don’t want to say anything publicly that might jeopardize it.

    Lars Aslan: We are not interested in hurting the minister or the government. Why can this consultation not be made closed?

    Minister: Because I have prepared for an open consultation.

    President: Will you assess whether you got what you came for? Perhaps you have a few final questions before we round up.

    Lars Aslan: The ministry is working through the EU, why not start dialogue with the Nordic countries who also have prisoners in Bahrain?

    Minister: We assess that the EU is the optimal tool for solving this case, because they have a Human Rights Rapporteur. 

    The full video can be watched here

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    Mustafa Hamdan dies of head wound after police shooting by security forces trained and overseen by UK, according to human rights groups.

    UK FOREIGN OFFICE officials have failed to respond to claims by human rights groups that UK trained police were responsible for the gunning down of 18 year-old Mustafa Hamdan, who has died two months after being shot in the head.

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    29 March 2017 – Over the last three months, the Government of Bahrain has intensified restrictions on inmates at Jau Prison, the country’s largest long-term male detention facility. Authorities have particularly targeted political prisoners and prisoners of conscience for increased abuse, subjecting the remaining eleven members of the “Bahrain 13” to severe deprivation of medical care. We, the undersigned, call on the Government of Bahrain to uphold the principles of medical neutrality, protect all detainees from ill treatment, and immediately release all prisoners detained solely for exercising basic rights to free expression, assembly, or association, including the Bahrain 13.

    Since an escape from Jau Prison in January 2017, prison officials have escalated repressive control measures at the facility. Inmates report that the authorities have cancelled or severely limited family visits, including visitation between imprisoned relatives; ended sales from the prison shop; banned educational and Shia religious television channels; forced detainees to wear shackles when outside their cells; ignored detainee complaints; cancelled hospital appointments; and prevented detainees from accessing medical care unless they wore a uniform with shackles and consented to an invasive strip search. The authorities have also reportedly begun to lock the doors in the prison’s Building 6 for the majority of each day, preventing that building’s inmates from accessing the toilet for extended periods of time. Other prisoners have reported hearing screams from inside Building 6 since the institution of this new policy. Additionally, the authorities temporarily suspended prisoners’ access to communication during and after the 15 January execution of three torture victims by arbitrarily prohibiting visits and phone calls. The prison administration has also banned inmates from access to newspapers since those sentences were carried out. Members of the Bahrain 13, a group of human rights defenders and political activists who were tortured and imprisoned for their involvement in the 2011 pro-democracy movement, have been denied access to pencils and paper, as well as toilet tissue.

    These new restrictions have led to a further deterioration of Jau’s already poor living conditions, severely impacting the health of the inmate population. Several members of the Bahrain 13 have been particularly harmed by consistent medical neglect.

    Earlier this month, human rights defender and political activist Abduljalil al-Singace, who suffers from post-polio syndrome and is confined to a wheelchair, fainted and was transferred to the prison clinic before being rushed to the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) military hospital. Doctors informed al-Singace that he was severely dehydrated and that the condition had affected his brain and lungs; he was prescribed several medications and advised to drink fluids. However, since the diagnosis, prison authorities have refused to bring al-Singace to his scheduled appointments unless he wore a prison uniform and allowed himself to be shackled. Al-Singace did not consent to these new measures. The authorities continued to prevent him from accessing treatment until he vomited and again fainted, whereupon they transferred him to a hematologist. Al-Singace requires continued monitoring and testing. His family has been unable to see him. The authorities have consistently denied al-Singace, who is serving a life sentence, access to medical care, including equipment for his crutches.

    Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, human rights defender and cofounder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) who is sentenced to life in prison, has begun to suffer from a serious new condition in his right eye, including complete loss of vision after nightfall and significant vision impairment during the day. He also suffers from headaches and pain behind the affected eye. Medical experts suggest that this could be a symptom of blood clotting and a possible sign of more severe issues, such as an impending stroke. Despite his need for emergency treatment, the authorities have denied al-Khawaja’s requests to attend his appointments without undergoing an extensive strip search and wearing shackles. He submitted a letter to the authorities requesting a new appointment without these restrictive measures, but he has received no response. Al-Khawaja requires an immediate professional examination to prevent complications. Officials have also repeatedly denied him treatment for a separate medical condition that causes him chronic pain in his face.

    “Depriving political prisoners, such as Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, of medical care when it is urgently needed is a blatant illustration of the government's shameless disregard for basic human rights,” said Vice-President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) Said Yousif al-Muhafdha. “But this also pinpoints the lack of true international response to Bahrain's series of reprisals.”

    Hassan Mushaima, the nearly 70-year-old leader of the banned Haq opposition group, is also serving a life sentence in Jau and has suffered from routine deprivation of medical care by the authorities. Among a number of other medical conditions, Mushaima is in remission from cancer, which requires routine monitoring including tests every six months. However, it has been more than eight months since officials last allowed him to be tested. The new restrictions at Jau have additionally prevented Mushaima from receiving adequate medical care for his other ailments, such as a deviated septum.

    “The Bahraini government has taken a dizzying number of new repressive steps since the start of 2017, including executions and a de facto martial law,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), “This sudden slew of reprisals against inmates and particularly the Bahrain 13 serves no other purpose than to intimidate and collectively punish prisoners of conscience.”

    On 16 March 2017, Mohammad Sahwan, a victim of police abuse in 2012, died of sudden cardiac arrest while serving a 15-year sentence stemming from terror charges based on a forced confession. Sahwan is the first political detainee to die in Jau Prison since 2011, and his funeral was met with excessive force by security forces. Similarly, in 2016, detainee Hassan Al-Hayki died amid credible allegations of torture and deprivation of medical care at the Dry Dock Detention Center.

    “Prison conditions have long been abysmal in Bahrain, and now the government is barely even meeting its bare minimum obligation to provide detainees with life-saving medical care,” said Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB). “Be it from torture or medical neglect, not one more person should have to die in a jail cell due to government malfeasance.”

    The arbitrary intensification of restrictions on mobility and healthcare at Jau Prison – in addition to generally poor living conditions and regular physical abuse within the facility – violates the principle of medical neutrality and needlessly endangers the inmate population. We therefore call on the Government of Bahrain to ensure timely and easy access to medical treatment for all detainees, and to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, such as the remaining Bahrain 13. We call for an open invitation by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture.

    Signed,

    Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)

    Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)

    Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)

    European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)

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    The State Department notified Congress on Wednesday that it supports selling F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain without requiring that the tiny island monarchy in the Persian Gulf first improve its human rights record.

    The decision to proceed with the sale amounts to an abrupt reversal of an Obama administration decision. Last fall, the State Department informed Congress that it would pursue a $5 billion sale of 19 Lockheed Martin F-16s and related equipment to Bahrain. But it included the precondition that Bahrain curb human rights abuses, amid a crackdown on dissidents among the Shiite majority protesting the country’s Sunni rulers.

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    Bahraini student Ali Mohamed Hakeem al-Arab was arrested on 9 February and taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate where he alleges he was tortured and forced to “confess”. He has been denied access to a lawyer. Upon transfer to Dry Dock Prison on 7 March, he said he was repeatedly beaten on both legs. He remains at risk of further torture and other ill-treatment.

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    A court in Bahrain on Wednesday sentenced two people to death on terror charges and handed down lengthy sentences to 11 others, including a former lawmaker who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to a statement from the public prosecutor.

    Hassan Isa was a senior member of the main Shiite opposition Al-Wefaq group, which was dissolved last year. The other 10 received sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

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    As the UK triggered its divorce from the European Union on Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is already working to secure new trade partnerships and deals.

    Meanwhile International trade minister Liam Fox has said that the UK is already having informal talks with 12 countries around the world, many of which are in the Middle East. Free Trade Agreements, lucrative arms deals, human rights concerns: let’s look at what the post-Brexit vote government has done so far in the Middle East.

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    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will reportedly lift human rights conditions on an arms sale to Bahrain, despite that country’s record of oppression against dissidents and participation in a Saudi-led coalition that has bombed thousands of civilians in Yemen. Yemen is one of the six Muslim-majority countries included in Trump’s revised travel ban executive order.

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    After reports that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to lift human rights conditions on the multi-billion-dollar sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain despite Bahrain’s record of oppression against dissidents and participation in a Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has killed and injured thousands of civilians in Yemen, Sunjeev Bery, an Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA, said:

    “While getting weapons from the USA, Bahrain’s government is silencing critics at home and participating in a military coalition that is bombing civilians in Yemen."

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    Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today condemned the Trump Administration’s decision to move forward with the sale of 19 F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain, despite the Bahraini regime’s failure to meet human rights conditions attached to the deal. The move continues a series of concerning departures from maintaining the protection of human rights as a core purpose of U.S. foreign policy.

    Bahrain, which houses the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, has a storied history of repression of civil society and human rights abuses. Human Rights First calls on Congress to block the three-billion-dollar deal.

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), a senior House Democrat and the co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, released the following statement in response to media report that the Trump Administration plans to lift all human rights conditions on U.S. sales of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain. 

    "America has a responsibility to stand up for human rights in all countries and our allies must be no exception. Media reports indicate that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will soon lift all human rights conditions on the sale of F-16 fighter jets and other arms to Bahrain are deeply troubling. Such a move would be an extremely short-sighted and unprincipled choice that increases the risk of instability in Bahrain and puts America’s long-term security at risk."

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    The Trump administration has decided to remove any conditions regarding human rights from sales of F-16 fighter aircraft and other arms to Bahrain.  The rationale for doing so is the idea that hard power considerations ought to come before softer concerns for the rights of someone else’s citizens. 

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, in applauding the decision, said arms sales should be decided by American strategic needs and not commingled with any pressuring of “allies” to change domestic behavior.

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    The King of Bahrain ratified a constitutional amendment today that paves the way for military trials of civilians, in yet another example of Bahrain’s efforts to dismantle access to justice and fair trial, said Amnesty International.

    “This constitutional amendment is a disaster for the future of fair trials and justice in Bahrain. It is part of a broader pattern where the government uses the courts to crackdown on all forms of opposition at the expense of human rights,” said Lynn Maalouf, head of research at Amnesty International’s regional office in Beirut.

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    On 10 March, Dr Ali Esa Mansoor al-Ekri (Dr Ali al-Ekri), a Bahraini consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon was released from Jaw Prison, south of the capitol Manama. He had served a five-year jail sentence as a prisoner of conscience.

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    Bahrain's King Hamad on Monday approved a constitutional amendment granting military courts the right to try civilians accused of terrorism, state news agency BNA said.

    The amendment, approved unanimously by the upper house of parliament last month, drops a clause limiting military trials to members of the armed forces or other security branches.

    It does not specify what constitutes an act of terrorism. 

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    Bahrain’s king has approved a law passed by parliament that allows for military courts to try civilians amid a major crackdown on all dissent in the island kingdom.

    The state-run Bahrain News Agency reported King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa approved the constitutional amendment on Monday.

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