- Since early 2011, Washington, Western governments, and
major media scoundrels largely ignored outrageous Al Khalifa monarchy abuses.
They include crackdowns on nonviolent protesters, mass arrests, torture,
intimidation, and cold-blooded murder.
- The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and other
- 46 killings;
- 1,500 arbitrary arrest cases;
- 1,866 torture and abuse cases;
- 500 prisoners of conscience;
- destruction of over 40 mosques and other places of worship;
- 4.000 summary firings of workers suspected of having
unsympathetic regime views;
- 500 individuals forced into exile for their safety;
- three innocent men on death row;
- 477 students expelled for supporting democratic change;
and 96 targeted journalists.
- Ruthless repression continues. In September, special
military tribunals lawlessly sentenced 208 civilians to a combined 2,500
years in prison. Twenty doctors got up to 15 years for treating injured
- Arrests continue daily. Violence is extreme. Victims
of state atrocities seek help getting redress.
- On December 22, BCHR reported receiving "appalling
information about (conditions) at Bahrain Central (Jaw) Prison, and infringing
the standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners by the United
- Human rights activists accuse Bahraini authorities, and
Saudis helping them, of crimes against humanity. A European Center for
Constitutional and Human Rights submitted a report saying:
- "We believe that there are sufficient grounds (on
two cases they addressed to accuse authorities of a) pattern of crimes
that might amount to crimes against humanity.
- Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies director Eldin-Hassan
told the UN Human Rights Council's 18th Session that "crimes against
humanity....in Bahrain and Yemen (have) been swept under the rug."
- Clear evidence proves it. BCHR's report documented violations
of the "right to life, freedom from torture, arbitrary arrest and
forced disappearance, freedom of opinion and expression, assembly and association,
freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to a fair trial."
- A Bahrain Central Prison detainee said the following:
- "Reforming and Rehabilitation Department (Jaw prison)
is the central prison in Bahrain, where prisoners (criminal and politicians
alike) suffer from the most extreme conditions."
- "They are neglected and tortured as revenge, especially
the prisoners from the Shia Sect. (They) have no one to turn to and raise
their complaints or grievances, due to the officers' domination of everything."
- "Moreover, telling their relatives does not make
any difference because the situation in the country cannot be resorted
to in newspapers or anyone who could bring the offenders to justice."
- He also said extreme summer heat and winter cold affect
their health. Ventilation is lacking. Warm clothes aren't provided. Families
are prohibited from sending them. Personal hygiene items aren't allowed.
Religious rights are denied.
- Anyone complaining is beaten and detained in isolation.
The prison clinic has one general doctor, dentist and psychiatrist for
over 1,000 prisoners. Neglect is extreme. So is human suffering. BCHR has
information about shot and wounded prisoners denied medical care.
- They spend over 20 hours in filthy cells. Lack of enough
beds forces some to sleep on the floor. Health deterioration follows.
- Building 2 has two Wards for about 250 prisoners and
no bathrooms. Most prisoners say nothing about oppressive treatment because
beatings, denial of minimal rights, and isolation follow.
- Worst of all, prisoners face torture and other forms
of mistreatment, including severe beatings, electric shocks, and other
- Prisoners are routinely beaten all over their bodies,
electoshocked, and hung by their hands for days. They're prevented from
sleeping. Threats about family members arrested and raped in front of them
are made. As many as 17 prisoners occupy one cell 20 or more hours daily
with four beds and one facility for showers, toilet, and washing.
- Family members complain loved ones are physically and
psychologically tortured and abused constantly. Complaining makes it worse.
Punishment for breaching prison rules is isolation. At times, it continues
for months or longer. Instances of beating prisoners to death occur.
- Independent monitors can't assess conditions firsthand.
Bahrain never ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against
Torture because doing so requires a standing committee be allowed unannounced
- Bahrain authorities systematically ignore fundamental
international human rights law that stipulates:
- "All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment
shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity
of the human person."
- The UN's "standard minimum rules for the treatment
of prisoners" stipulates that:
- "Corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a
dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely
prohibited as punishments for disciplining offenses."
- Moreover, abolishing "solitary confinement as punishment,
(and restricting) its use should be undertaken and encouraged."
- "No prisoner shall be punished unless he has been
informed of the offense alleged against him and given a proper opportunity
of presenting his defense."
- "Instruments of restraint, such as handcuffs, chains,
irons and straitjackets, shall never be applied as a punishment."
- "All accommodations provided for the use of prisoners
and in particular all sleeping accommodations shall meet all requirements
of health....and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space,
lighting, heating and ventilation."
- These and other provisions are to insure prisoners are
treated humanely. Like America, Israel and elsewhere, Bahraini authorities
- Despite generous State Department and USAID funding,
even pro-Western Freedom House said the international community abandoned
- "(T)here have been no UN resolutions or sanctions
on Bahrain, where protesters' calls for political reform have been met
with excessive force, torture, extrajudicial killings, and the targeting
of medical professionals who treat injured demonstrators."
- Only Saudi Arabia intervened. It sent in troops guns
blazing. They continue violent crackdowns. "The United States, one
of Bahrain's closest allies, has shown tepid opposition to the more egregious
violations, but mostly looked the other way, even announcing a $53 million
arms sale to the country."
- On December 21, Reporters Without Borders called Bahrain
one of the world's 10 most dangerous places for journalists. Bahraini authorities,
especially photographers, were threatened, arrested, beaten, detained,
and tried before military tribunals for doing their job.
- "Bahrain is an example of news censorship that succeeded
with the complicity of the international community, which said nothing."
- Appalling human rights violations continue daily, including
at Jaw prison.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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