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Bahrain: 14-years old Mohammed al-Sawad risks losing his eye after being targeted for peaceful protest

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The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is gravely concerned about the Bahraini authorities’ use of disproportionate force against peaceful protesters. Mohammed al-Sawad, a 14-year-old boy, was seriously injured after security forces fired shotgun pellets at him which caused severe injuries. There is fear that Mohammed might lose his eye sight.

On 30 January 2015 at 1 PM, Mohammed participated in a peaceful protest in Duraz after Friday prayers calling for the release of Shaikh Ali Salman, the General-Secretary of Al-Wefaq’s Society, when security forces dispersed the protest using tear gas and shotgun pellets. Security forces fired shotgun pellets directly at Mohammed from an armored vehicle at a distance of approximately 3 meters. Mohammed tried to escape; however, he fell unconscious and was taken by some individuals at the scene to Bahrain International Hospital. The hospital refused to receive and treat him so he was transported by ambulance to Salmaniya hospital.

Mohammed was admitted to the ICU. He suffers from injuries in the face, mouth, head, chest, abdomen and lungs. His condition deteriorated, which worsened his internal bleeding in the lung. Currently, Mohammed’s health is stabilized; however, fear remains that he might lose his eye sight if he did not receive adequate treatment.

Recently, many cases were documented of severe injuries caused by extensive use of disproportionate force by security forces in Bahrain, which has resulted in severe injuries. Security forces shot another 14-year-old boy, Mohammed al-Hawi. Al-Hawi was leaving his house, when security forces shot him with a tear gas canister at the head. As a result, al-Hawi suffered concussion and brain bleeding for which he is being treated.

The Bahraini authorities have been forcefully suppressing protests and freedom of assembly. The number of peaceful protests staged recently has considerably increased and the use of force by the authorities has escalated.

Based on the above, BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, all other close allies and concerned international institutions to exercise real pressure on the government of Bahrain to:

> Put an end to the systematic repression on peaceful protesters and respect their protected freedom of expression and assembly;

> To respect its international obligations for the safeguarding of all rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the subsequent UN Conventions.

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