- On August 8, London Guardian writer Ian Black headlined,
"Bahrain protests: 'The repression is getting worse,' " saying:
- Bahraini police grabbed Hassan Ali Salman. One "forc(ed)
his T-shirt roughly up over his head as three or four others laid in with
wooden batons, dragging and pushing him to a line of waiting Land Cruisers
and more helmeted cops."
- He's one of many victims in an "ugly....cat-and-mouse
routine of protest and repression in this Gulf island state." Secretly
filmed, "it exposes what Bahrain's western-backed government prefers
foreigners not to see."
- Numerous other examples highlight it, including Zainab
al-Juma, a disabled woman killed by inhaling tear gas, Ahmed Farhan, shot
in cold blood, "his brains spilling out of his shattered head live
on camera as horrified screams sounded all around."
- Former political prisoner Abu Ali said, "(T)he repression
is getting worse." A man called Haydar "described a savage beating,
curses and threats of rape as he was forced to kiss the boots of the police
officers who tormented him on 26 June."
- They kept kicking and hitting me, he said. Conditions
throughout the country are tense. Continuing protests against the Bahraini
dictatorship face severe violence and repression. A taxi driver named Jassim
said, "I am very pessimistic. Things are much worse than before."
- An identified woman said, "We sank very low. If
we go any further, people will start to leave. We are tearing ourselves
apart." People believe that repression without reform won't resolve
- It's indeed severe when an establishment publication
like the Guardian highlights it through firsthand observations on the ground.
- So does the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, saying over
1,400 have been arrested (including doctors, lawyers and human rights activists),
more than 180 sentenced by military courts, 35 killed, 68 journalists either
suspended or arrested, and around two dozen activists arrested, tortured
and subjected to other abuses, along with many others for wanting democratic
- Law Professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni chairs a Bahrain
Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). In a letter to Nabeel Rajab,
Bahrain Center for Human Rights President, he said:
- "There is no doubt that there have been a large
number of reported human rights violations which include: deaths, torture
and physical mistreatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions, wrongful dismissal
of public and private sector employees, suspension of students and termination
of scholarships, destruction of mosques, and destruction of private property."
- Bassiouni added that once BICI completes its investigation,
a full report will follow, covering all documented state crimes. "We
are here for the truth and nothing but the truth," he said. Let's
hope he, in fact, presents it fully and accurately as promised.
- Israeli Torture, Other Forms of Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading
Treatment Against Gazans
- On July 28, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Adalah
Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, and Physicians for Human Rights
(Israel) documented it in their latest report on the occasion of the International
Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26).
- Covering the period May 1, 2009 - April 30, 2010, they
presented a disturbing account of how Israel systematically violates international
law with impunity.
- Gazans continue to be arrested, tortured, abused, and
denied protections while undergoing interrogations. Afterwards they're
"placed in cells which are unfit for humans to live in and many have
been left in solitary confinement for extended periods of time."
- Administrative detentions are commonly used, holding
Palestinians without charge. At the same time, many Gazans are called "unlawful
combatants," treating them more harshly for prolonged periods. In
addition, under siege conditions, millions of Gazans experience extreme
- "These actions are in complete violation of international
human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL), both
of which are applicable in the occupied Palestinian territory."
- On September 6, 1999, Israel's High Court of Justice
ruled certain abusive interrogation techniques illegal. However, it authorized
"ticking bomb" exceptions and let interrogators resort to what's
called "the necessity defense" to protect themselves when using
- In other words, the High Court left a giant loophole
to practice torture with impunity. Israeli Security Agency (ISA) interrogators
take full advantage.
- Israel's judicial system also permits unfair trial standards,
"under which most torture and ill treatment-related practices occur,"
including those related to abusive administrative detentions.
- As a result, administrative detainees can't challenge
evidence considered classified, so are denied fair trials. Nor may they
contest detentions for "inordinately lengthy periods" or be able
to dispute reasons why they're held.
- Under the Unlawful Combatants Law No. 5762-2202 and its
2008 amendment, authorities may detain Palestinians believed to have taken
part in hostile activity (aka lawful self-defense) against Israel directly
- Without judicial review, men, women and children may
be help up to 14 days under detention orders permitting indefinite renewals.
In addition, they and their lawyers are denied access to alleged incriminating
- Moreover, access to counsel may be denied up to 21 days,
and dozens of Palestinians are held abusively in solitary confinement for
- Nadedh Ali Abed-Rabbo's case is commonplace. Arrested
during an Israeli incursion, he was tortured and abused "from the
moment he was in custody." Soldiers handcuffed, blindfolded, and beat
him. He was put in a small cell cuffed and blindfolded for 24 hours, then
transferred to Ashkelon prison, put in a tiny filthy (1.5 x 2 meter) cell.
- During 42 days of interrogation, he was painfully restrained,
denied access to counsel, and only allowed to sleep an hour or two at a
time while bound to a chair. If too long, he was doused with cold water
to wake him. He also experienced severe pain and constant headaches.
- Complaining to interrogators, he was told "confess
and you will rest." Due to extreme exhaustion, he passed out four
times. In addition, interrogators cursed and spat in his face, splashed
water on him to keep him awake, and played very loud music intermittently.
The interrogation room was also kept dark and isolated.
- As a result, he was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment
based on "evidence" extracted under torture. When released on
July 21, 2010, he experienced nerve spasms in his hand, lost hearing in
his left ear, needs and ear implant, and suffers from ongoing headaches.
- Numerous other Palestinians undergo similar abuse, amounting
to torture and ill-treatment, taking a terrible physical and emotional
toll as on Abed-Rabbo.
- Gazans are especially mistreated in detention and under
siege, including often denied access to medical treatment elsewhere, even
for serious illnesses.
- Despite international law prohibitions against torture
and other forms of abuse and ill-treatment, Israel practices it with impunity.
Moreover, isolating Gaza under siege constitutes illegal torture and collective
punishment. In fact, the Convention against Torture (CAT) calls "severe
pain or suffering, whether physical or mental," forms of torture.
- Israel's blockade is described as causing a "protracted
human dignity crisis," characterized particularly by "degradation
in the living conditions of the population." As such, it constitutes
collective cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, a prima facie CAT violation.
- In fact, the independent UN Committee against Torture
acknowledges that blockading Gaza falls within CAT's purview because of
its collective harm in violation of other human rights laws. Nonetheless,
Israel continues abusing Gazans and other Palestinians with impunity.
- Palestinians Politically Detained
- The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
presented its latest quarterly report, covering the period from April 15
- July 15.
- Based on Israeli Prison Service statistics (very possibly
inaccurate), it documented 5,554 political prisoners, including:
- -- 229 administrative detainees, including four women
and 14 Palestinian Legislative Council (the Palestinian Authority's parliament)
- -- 35 women;
- -- 211 children, including dozens under age 16;
- -- 19 PLC members;
- -- 136 prisoners for over 20 years;
- -- 178 Palestinians from the 1948 territories;
- -- 647 from Gaza, including two current "unlawful
- -- 188 from East Jerusalem; and
- -- 845 arrested from April 1 - June 30.
- During the period, it noted "harsh violence and
waves of mass arrests," including against Hamas leaders. On April
17, to commemorate Palestinian Prisoners Day, Addameer launched a new campaign
called "Prisoners at Risk," focusing on those subjected to "serious
human rights violations, including long-term administrative detention,
isolation, medical neglect and torture."
- Many Palestinians experience it, out of sight and mind
to most world leaders, supporting Israeli lawlessness by complicity or
silence. As a result, abusive practices continue in violation of international
laws, norms and standards, ones Israel repeatedly spurns with impunity.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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