- In April, 19 human rights organizations condemned Bahrain
as one of the world's leading terror states, the Al Khalifa monarchy having
lost all legitimacy.
- In a joint press release, they said:
- The undersigned "severely condemn the authorities'
crackdown on prominent human rights defenders Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and
Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain. We are gravely concerned for the safety and well-being
of both human rights defenders who are being targeted for their human rights
- Both were lawlessly arrested, beaten, detained, and brutally
tortured as were hundreds of others for supporting democracy, human rights
and equal justice.
- On June 6, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) denounced Bahraini
authorities for brutally repressing protesters, demanding an immediate
end to violence. So far, they said, international community silence reflects
complicity in horrendous crimes against humanity.
- As a result, both organizations called on UN Human Rights
Council members "to take immediate action by adopting a strong resolution
condemning" government attacks on civil society.
- Human Rights Watch (HRW) called Bahraini violence "no
- Since mid-March (actually since mid-February and earlier),
"state security forces (as well as Saudi ones) brutally quashed the
largely peaceful protests for democratic reforms that began a month earlier,
shooting to death a score of people. Since then, the government has conducted
(a reign of terror) to punish all manner of pro-democracy activism, a situation
(Washington) has yet to unequivocally condemn" publicly.
- Amnesty International (AI) condemned Bahrain's excessive
force, killings, mass arrests, detentions, and torture, including beatings,
electro-shocks, threatened rape, as well as other abuses to extract forced
confessions despite no crimes committed.
- Police state show trials are being held. Those affected
are guilty by accusation. On June 12, student/poet Ayat al-Qarmezi was
sentenced to one year in prison for publicly reading a poem criticizing
the regime. In detention, she was brutally tortured, AI's Malcolm Smart
- "By locking up a female poet merely for expressing
her views in public, Bahrain's authorities are demonstrating how free speech
and assembly are brutally denied to ordinary Bahrainis."
- Her message included:
- "We are the people who will kill humiliation and
assassinate misery. Don't you hear their cries, don't you hear their screams?"
- On March 30, she was forced to submit to arrest after
masked police raided her parents home repeatedly, threatening to kill her
brothers if she resisted. Brutalized ever since and now convicted, she,
like other prisoners of conscience, face hard time confinement very likely
including more torture and abuse.
- On June 12, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights said
at least two former Shia MPs (who resigned in protest against police state
lawlessness) went on trial Sunday. Matar Matar and Jawad Fairooz were charged
with "spreading malicious lies in an attempt to overthrow the government"
Information Affairs Authority official Sheikh Abdul-Aziz bin Murarak announced.
Both men, of course, pleaded not guilty.
- On June 12, the UK based Morning Star said:
- "Bahrain received over $200 million in military
equipment from US companies in the 12 months from October 2009....It was
more than double the $89 million approved over the previous US financial
- Washington actively supports Bahrain's repression. Weapons,
munitions and other military equipment have been used to murder nonviolent
Bahrainis protesting for their democratic rights. Information on this and
much more is omitted in the report below.
- So were recent comments by Rodney Shakespear, Chairman
of the Committee against Torture in Bahrain, saying:
- "I'm afraid that" Israel largely dictates US
Middle East policy "which demands that the situation be as it is in
respect of Bahrain....The facts on the ground are such that genocide is
actually being committed." It's gotten so bad that security forces
actually "beat up little girls."
- "Something has happened. They are out to destroy
a culture and yet apart from the torture and the physical effects and the
genocide, the world is not standing up against this. And this, of course,
it's because (Israel) controls all the media organizations," especially
in America and Britain.
- State Department Report on Bahrain
- Each year, the State Department publishes human rights
reports for over 190 countries, omitting a critical self-assessment of
the world's leading human rights abuser.
- Yet, in its recent "Report of the United States
of America Submitted to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights In Conjunction
with the Universal Periodic Review," it shamelessly said:
- "The story of the United States of America is one
guided by universal values shared the world over - that all are created
equal and endowed with inalienable rights. (These) values have grounded
our institutions and motivated the determination of our citizens to come
ever closer to realizing these ideals."
- We remain committed "to help build a world in which
universal rights give strength and direction to the nations, partnerships,
and institutions that can usher us toward a more perfect world (based on)
a just peace (and) inherent rights and dignity of every individual."
- In fact, America spurns human rights, civil liberties,
peace, justice, and democratic values as the world's leading rogue state,
lawlessly terrorizing millions, making the world safe for capital. Shameless
rhetoric changes nothing, including downplaying the worst of Bahrain's
human rights practices in its 2010 report.
- Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
- "There were no reports that the government or its
agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings," despite clear evidence
they occurred last year before the current uprisings began.
- Politically motivated disappearances were also ignored.
- Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment
- Prohibited by Bahrain's constitution, "there were
multiple allegations during the year (by human rights organizations and
victims) that security forces employed them."
- Authorities "asserted in December that" torture
claims were investigated. "At year's end, neither the court nor the
government had released the findings of any such investigation."
- Prison and Detention Center Conditions
- Authorities said "prison conditions met international
standards." A March UN report, however, described 'suboptimal health
conditions....' " Moreover, detainees "alleged" security
personnel physically abused them, including withholding medical care.
- "Authorities generally permitted inmates reasonable
access to visitors and religious observance." In fact, political prisoners
have no rights and face brutal torture and other abuse.
- Role of the Police and Security Apparatus
- Despite maintaining a hotline for citizens to report
police abuses, Shia community members "believed the government condoned
police misconduct and, therefore, did not report allegations of abuse.
In practice, (temporary) investigation committees" responded to public
complaints, but didn't issue reports on their findings, suggesting serious
abuses were whitewashed.
- Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention
- From August through December, authorities arrested about
200 men, including children. Human rights groups accused them of abuse
and torture in detention. Show trials followed. Attorneys prevented from
meeting with detainees withdrew in protest in December. New lawyers were
appointed. At year's end, cases were unresolved.
- "Human rights activists and attorneys alleged that
the detainees' right to a fair, public trial was undermined by (their clients')
limited access to legal counsel and the presiding judge's failure to rule
on the defense attorneys' requests."
- Political Prisoners and Detainees
- Human rights organizations "alleged that some of
those arrested on security changes....were targeted (for) their political
- Throughout the report, the State Department stressed
that Bahrain's constitution prohibits abusive practices authorities, in
fact, commit. At the same time, it summarized harsh conditions Bahrainis
- "Citizens did not have the right to change their
government. Trafficking in persons and restrictions on the rights of foreign
resident workers continued to be significant problems. There were numerous
reports of abuse against foreign workers, particularly female domestic
workers. There were many reports of domestic violence against women and
children. Discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, nationality,
and sect, especially against the Shia majority population, persisted."
- "There were multiple allegations of mistreatment
and torture, especially of Shia activists associated with rejectionist
and opposition groups. Authorities arbitrarily arrested activists, journalists,
and other citizens and detained some individuals incommunicado. Some detainees
did not always have adequate access to their attorneys. At least two of
the detainees were dismissed from their public sector jobs prior to the
commencement of judicial proceedings."
- "The government restricted civil liberties, including
freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and some religious practices.
There were instances of the government imposing and enforcing official
and unofficial travel bans on political activists. The Shia are underrepresented
in positions of leadership in the civil service, police, and security forces."
- Despite constitutionally affirming freedom of speech
and the press, national security laws limit or suppress them. "Both
censorship and self-censorship took place."
- The Information Authority reviews all books and publications
prior to issuing printing licenses. While nominally respecting Internet
freedom, draconian restrictions apply, including prohibiting information
critical of the government as well as banning opposition web sites.
- In addition, online activities are monitored and blocked
in cases considered to be anti-government or anti-Islamic. Academic freedom,
peaceful assembly and association are also compromised in violation of
constitutional provisions. In fact, Bahraini freedom and basic rights are
nonstarters except for the privileged few.
- Those speaking out against repression face severe recrimination,
arrest, detention, torture, and show trial justice automatically convicting
those charged by accusation.
- Anyone may be detained indefinitely, denied access to
legal counsel and family members, and tortured to sign forced confessions
used to convict.
- Moreover, King Hamad appoints judges. Jury trials are
denied. Authorities control the major media. Opposition publications and
web sites are threatened. Print and online journalists face stiff fines
and imprisonment for criticizing official policies. Public demonstrations
are prohibited without official permission. Human rights organizations
- Workers have few rights. No minimum wage exists. Rights
to form unions, collectively bargain, and strike are severely limited,
majority foreign workers denied them entirely. Some, in fact, face forced
labor, their passbooks and wages withheld, as well as their movements restricted.
Instances of child trafficking for domestic service and sexual exploitation
have also been reported.
- Sunnis dominate Bahraini politics. Majority Shias face
widespread discrimination. Women overall are marginalized in a male dominated
culture. Spousal and child abuse are common.
- While detailing widespread lawless abuses, especially
against majority Shias, the State Department's report stresses rights included
in Bahrain's constitution without condemning authorities for systematically
denying them or explaining severe repression against anyone challenging
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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