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BAHRAIN: Human rights official details abuses, fear and anger


Reports of human rights abuses following antigovernment protests in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain have increased in recent days, as 21 opposition leaders stand trial in a military court accused of, among other things, attempting to overthrown the monarchy. Brian Dooley of New York-based Human Rights First was denied entry to the trial in the capital of Manama on Thursday, and spoke afterward about conditions there and his interviews with victims of recent violence.

Q: Why did you want to be at the trial today?

A: The outcome of that trial is enormous -- the whole mood of the country hinges on that. It won't all just go away because the emergency laws are lifted.

Q: What is it like in Bahrain now?

A: We're in a strange, very tense lull at the moment where people are waiting very carefully to see what people's mood will be.

Q: The king has announced that the state of emergency will end two weeks early, on June 1, but it was announced today that Gulf Cooperation Council troops will remain in Bahrain afterward. What does that mean?

A: It's not going to be business as usual or a return to normal. And remember, people being detained now won't finish June 1. The military courts will continue.

Q: You have spoken with protesters and others detained by Bahraini security forces. What have they told you it was like?

A: They have been blindfolded for very long periods, handcuffed, beaten. They are often made to do some show of allegiance to Bahraini authorities, forced to chant government slogans or sing the national anthem. There are people who were taken from the hospital who have not been heard from since. I spoke with a woman last night whose husband has been detained for eight weeks and she has only been allowed to speak with him three times by phone. People have no idea where their relatives are being held.

Q: How many people are in detention now?

A: We're not sure how many, and the government says it doesn't know, either, which is possible because people are coming and going. Last week 300 were released, but there have been about 1,000 detained. I asked the government this morning how many and they said they didn't know.

Q: You said there was a lull in Bahrain now, but is that simply because people are too afraid to protest?

A: People are most afraid between 1 and 4 a.m., of being taken from their homes, because that's when the masked men, men in balaclavas, come in and take them from their houses. We also have reports of houses being ransacked, cars stolen. When people go and ask, they are told there is no record of them. People are very afraid.

Q: Are they more afraid or angry?

A: People are angry. June 1 may be taking on a significance now where people are trying to determine what to do next: protest or not.

Q: Some analysts have said the government crackdown on protesters further alienated and radicalized Shiite youth. Have you seen that?

A: Shiite youth are being provoked. Apart from being in custody and really severe torture, there's a lot of low-level intimidation. I talked to some young guys today who were detained for 12 hours, knocked around and forced to sing the anthem. There was no sense that they were trying to get any information from them. How the youth will react is a big deal here. A lot of young people are out of work. That is a dangerous, powerful combination -- young people are out of a job and have not much to lose.


Timeline: Repression in Bahrain

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Cairo

Photo: A Bahraini man passes a wall Thursday that has been repeatedly spray-painted with antigovernment graffiti and then painted over by authorities in the village of Malkiya, Bahrain, one of many Shiite Muslim villages nationwide affected by security crackdowns and checkpoints. Credit: Hasan Jamali/Associated Press.



Comments () | Archives (12)

I do agree with the last part, ppl and esp.youth will not be quiet anymore and literally they have nothing to lose

It seems that Bahrain's ruling family intends to punish any and everyone who criticizes the government. The aim of this vicious full-scale crackdown seems to be to intimidate everyone into silence.

There is 1,000 detained Bahraini citizen, tortured and sexually abuse.
We don't feel safe even to sleep in our own homes because Bahrain with help from Saudi regime bust our livelihood.. Break in to our houses, steal our money computers T.V laptops and every thing worth in the house.
We have injured people who can't go to hospital because they will get arrested if they go .

Please Help People in Bahrain

what happning in bahrain its a disaster , every day we face death , my Neighbors is just 17 years old the police take him without any reasone ! my colleague in the collge the police take him and Beat him strongly just because that his name " ali " !!!!!
A child of 6 years died from asphyxiation from EU-tears , they arrested women are and beaten , abused and harassed them without any mercy !
the gov killing pakistanis and indians ppl and then accused Shiites and say that shiites are killing them ! we have alot of death , Thousands of detainees , we cant sleep at night we are thinking if we will stay alive untill Tomorrow
we have more Suffering than other country like Syria, Yemen, Libya . but no one care , why ? coz we r Shiites ?
are we animals ? !

wooow what a great article thanx for who ever participate in this article.

actually the sitiuation in Bahrain is getting worser and worser. We do not know when it will End. just Ending the National an saftey law ( Martial law with different Name ) will not stop these things from happening.

here the people are very angery, yes there is secterian issue but Not from the protesters like the sis Jojo said its from the Gov. the people start demanding with simple things to compelete thier life with some dignity and fairness. the Gov killed, tortured and fired them from work !! then they blame other countries like iran and Iraq. they said they give the opposition money to give it to the protesters to go in rallies againest the Gov and weapons ?? how rediculous they did Not approve one single shot was used againest the police men.

if the issue is money issue the king before all this happening was order for each family with 1000 BD, but it's Not. the people seeks freedom, dignity and elected Gov that the people choose No matter of the religion or he is shitee or sunni we want an elected Gov and that's a right for the people to choose their Gov .

the protest in Bahrain will never end. yes they are in their homes Now, but in June we will see and the Whole world will see how these people never forget their case.

again thanx

Maryam Al Khawaja is the pride of bahrain men and women, whoever say shes racist is a goverment instrument, any one want to have a real view of whos racist and whose not just have a look through internet and look for bahrain events since 14 feb tell today, protesters chanted ( brothers we are sunna and shia'a- this country we will never sell) while goverments and its instruments through towns and villages are taking a very esctarian process against mosques and people of shia'a.
we said it once and we will always say it sunna is our brothers and sisters, they are our fellow citizens, our rights is thier rights, our pain is thier pain, there is only bahrain

we believe the mariam khuaja is one of the person whos is standing with the rights >> and removing the truth & exposing the bahrain & saudi armies crimes against the peacefull prostetors ....'

we wish for her a good luck & god less her ,,, we wish our peacefull protesting will containue till king & their family will get punishment from al high & the lahi court

Dear Ladies and gentlemen from the oppressed people of Bahrain

Since February 14th 2011, in Bahrain, and as in many countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, Bahraini people started peaceful demonstrations seeking for democracy, justice and dignity. They marched offering and raising only flowers and Bahraini flags from the first day till now.

However, the monarchy regime of Al Khalifa, like Mubarak, Algaddafi, Ali Abdallah Saleh and others have done, repressed those legal requests in every illegal way. They killed, kidnapped and tortured the protestors, the medical stuff and forbade the press from reporting the events and the truth.

They introduced the peninsula shield force in a conspiracy against the Bahraini people onto the territory of Bahrain terrorizing them and even violating this shield regulation.

Whereas other similar protests and populations were supported by the international community, the UN and the press. In Bahrain, genocide is going there, men, women, kids, injured people are being kidnapped and tortured from the hospital. There were even proofs that the Bahraini government steel body parts from death people before sending them back to their families. And there is no action taken that can save them and makes justice.

On the other hand, we put in the hands of the Court sufficient evidence documented :video, audio and thousands of witness’s testimonies the crimes that have been committed by this regime.We also present laws that have been violated and necessary materials for prosecuting the war criminals, and some extent crimes against humanity which are overlapping with genocide and war crimes. In fact, as mentioned the Genocide Convention of 1949, Crimes against humanity are distinguished from genocide; they does not require the intention to destroy in whole or partial way, but only target a particular group or wide Organization and implement a policy of violations. But It is characterized by crimes against humanity and war crimes. It’s also not applied only in the context of the war, but in peace time as well

Thus, as a general council who defends the human rights, and doesn’t approve in any way the crimes committed against Bahraini People, you represent our only hope to correct the situation and make justice a fact on Bahraini land.

We will highly appreciate your concerns regarding this filed, and the actions you will toward it.

PS : In the Annex you will find all proofs witnessing the violent acts and the violations of the human rights regulations.

thank you bahraini citizin

Thank you very much for this interview

Bahrain government is practicing extreme voilence against the pro-democracy protestors just because they demanded their legitimate rights , the protests were peaceful between 14th Feb till 13 March when 2 days later the GCC troops entered Bahrain and the crimes started

government is detaining protestors , sacking them from jobs, raiding hospitals and schools , demolishing mosques , sexual hurrasing women , humilation and torture in prison , and this is just a small part of the whole picture

in top of that , Bahrain officials are banning internatotional defenders or HR organisations to enter Bahrain and recently they just expelled reuters reporter from Bahrain because of his coverage to the situation in Bahrain

Maryam Alkhawaja and her father abdulhadi Alkhawaja "who is detained by the way " , Nabeel Rajab , Mohammed Almasqati are sample of Human rights activists who are being targeting in Bahrain and threatened by government because of their activities in delivering the truth to the world

SOS, Please Help People in Bahrain
The bloody regime in Bahrain with help from Saudi regime, they killing us, torturing us, arresting us, fighting our livelihood, prevented the wounded from treatment in hospital, Judge us in the military tribunals, this not enough!!!, to the all world to rise voice to stop this regime to do these things to peaceful people.

It seems that Bahrain's ruling family intends to punish any and everyone who criticizes the government. The aim of this vicious full-scale crackdown seems to be to intimidate everyone into silence.

I hope to rise your voice to stop this situation in Bahrain as soon as possible.

Thanks a lot
The people of Bahrain

What is this Jojo .. We left the sick media in BAhrain for you and you are following us here with your lies .. All the word knows who is Mariam Al-Khwaja and who is hear father, the Human Rights Activest, Abdul Hadi Al-Khwaja.

i know you are frustrated because she exposed your regime today in front of the congress .. But you must realize that itvit the reaction time for your crazy actions against annoucent honor people of Bahrain...

Maryam alkhawajah is known in bahrain as a racist and she encourages sectarianism. Her father is one of the 21 detainees and she speaks from a subjective view that lacks fairness to the real conditions in bahrain. She is never proud of being an arab. She is proiranian and calls the arabian gulf as the persian gulf. Human rights watch only represents shia in bahrain. They never write about sunnis and expats such as pakistanis and indians getting tortured and killed by shia in bahrain. Shia continue their terrorism cuz they know that they will get away with it.

These are big lies. The writer is known in bahrain as a racist and she encourages sectarianism. Her father is one of the 21 detainees and she speaks from a subjective view that lacks fairmess to the real conditions in bahrain.


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