Bahrain regime police, violent and sectarian


From the France24 site about this video:

14/11/2014

Video depicts Bahrain police abuse – but will inquiry lead anywhere?

A video recently emerged showing a Bahraini police officer mistreating a prisoner and showering him with insults, while making references to the man’s Shiite faith. The video, posted on Monday to YouTube, quickly went viral – to the extent that the Bahraini authorities were forced to respond. The day after its release, the Interior Ministry announced the suspension of the police officers involved and the opening of an investigation. According to our Observer, it’s all a smokescreen.

The images were posted by activists of the February 14 movement, the group behind the protests against the Sunni monarchy headed by King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa. The movement is now regarded by Bahraini authorities as a terrorist organisation.

The video takes place in a police car, with a prisoner sitting on the back seat between two police officers in uniform, his hands tied behind his back and his head covered by his shirt. It is clear he is Shiite due to the police’s mention of “zawaj al-mut’a”, literally meaning “pleasure marriage”, the name given by Shiite Muslims to “temporary marriage”. The marriage is agreed between potential spouses for a limited period of time and generally sealed by a religious authority. This form of union, which is still practiced by a number of Shiites, is rejected by a large majority of Sunnis.

The policeman sitting in the seat next to the driver (whose face is hidden) asks the prisoner if he can make a “pleasure marriage” with his sister. “Do you agree?” yells the police officer. The prisoner nods his head as the officer continues: “And a Sunni, can she have a zawaj al-mut’a?”. The prisoner remains silent, so the police officer gets angry: “Do not even say ‘Sunni’, you son of a b***!”. The officer proceeds to punch the prisoner on the head and back while the other policemen try to calm him down.

The Interior Ministry said on Tuesday via its Twitter account that an investigation had been launched and that the police officers involved in the video had been suspended from their duties.

However, Said Yousif Al-muhafdah, vice-president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, believes it is certain there will be no legal consequences for the police officers.

“Investigations of police brutality rarely lead to punishment”

“Unfortunately, the police officers who commit abuse or even acts of torture are spared due to a culture of impunity. Since 2011, there have been 7 or 8 proven cases of abuse, which came to light thanks to leaked videos.

Each time, it’s the same scenario: the authorities announce the opening of an investigation, but the investigations go nowhere and very rarely result in sanctions. The ministry’s announcements are only intended to calm public opinion and sell a semblance of democracy abroad.

In the rare cases where there is a conviction, the sentences are eventually reduced. In May 2013, a police officer sentenced to 7 years of prison for shooting an unarmed demonstrator dead saw his sentence reduced to 6 months.

That same year, the court acquitted two police officers who killed a demonstrator by shooting him with buckshot pellets. The court found that the two officers had not fired with the intent to kill, and were therefore free to go [Editor’s Note: In May 2014, an unarmed 14-year-old protestor was also killed by buckshot pellets during a demonstration].

In April 2012, police officers were involved in a case involving thugs damaging a grocery store owned by Shiites. The scene was recorded by the store’s security camera, but it did not lead to an investigation, even though the faces of the police officers were clearly identifiable in the video.

This situation will not change until Bahrain has effective institutions and most notably an independent judicial system. To achieve that would require genuine democratic reform, and that is still a far-off dream.”

The organisation Human Rights Watch issued a report last May denouncing impunity and judicial bias in the kingdom. “In Bahrain, a police officer who kills a protester in cold blood or beats a detainee to death might face a sentence of six months or maybe two years, while peacefully calling for the country to become a republic will get you life in prison,” the report states.

Bahrain is a Shiite-majority country (about 75 percent of the population), ruled by an exclusively Sunni monarchy and government. Since February 2011, members of the Shiite community who feel discriminated against regularly go into the streets in protest. In May, the International Federation for Human Rights estimated that at least 89 people had been killed since the start of the protests.

Bahrain arrests female activists demanding ‘anti-regime’ vote: here.

Bahrain: Regime Forces ‘Rape, Brutalise’ Jailed Female Protestors: here.

Bahraini torture prince in London, British government does nothing


This video is called Bahrain, capital of torture.

From the Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy:

NGOs Call on Home Secretary to Remove Prince Nasser of Bahrain from the UK

London,  27 October 2014 –  The Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy (BIRD), Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and Redress UK expressed their disappointment to the UK Home Secretary last Friday 24 October, upon receiving information of Bahrain Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa’s arrival in London for an appearance at the 2014 British Invention Show. In a letter to the Home Secretary Theresa May, the rights groups pointed to a decision made by the UK High Court earlier this month, which ruled to quash the Prince’s functional immunity in the UK due to impending accusations of torture against him.

The rights groups expressed further disappointment in the UK’s recent engagements with the Prince, referencing the Prince’s recent visit to a Royal British Navy transport dock last week and a meeting with the British Ambassador to Bahrain only two days after the Court’s decision was announced. Sayed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at BIRD expressed his concern over the recent UK attitude, asserting, “the UK government should not undermine the decision by the High Court which quashed the Prince’s immunity on serious torture allegations”.

The letter urges Ms. May to act in coordination with the recent decision by the UK High Court, claiming Prince Nasser’s presence in the UK in spite of these accusations, to be in contradiction with UK policy, specified by the HMG’s Human Rights and Democracy Report of 2012 that “where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses they will not normally be permitted to enter the UK”. The rights groups called on May to arrange the removal of the Prince from UK territory and to impose a ban on his future travel to the UK. Husain Abdulla, Executive Director at ADHRB, echoed the call: “Due to impending accusations of torture, we urge UK Home Secretary Theresa May to advise an appropriate course of action for Prince Nasser’s expulsion from the UK.”

As Britain’s longest historical ally in the Middle East, UK policy towards Bahrain in spite of persistent violations of human rights in the country, has been a topic of ongoing criticism in past months. NGOs hope that a strong decision by the Home Secretary will relay an appropriate message to the government of Bahrain on Britain’s policy towards torture and torture perpetrators. Carla Ferstman, Director of Redress UK argues that “instead of allowing leaders of a regime notorious for torture to enter Britain at will, the UK Government ought to be putting maximum pressure on the Bahraini Government to stop torturing peaceful protestors, and to end impunity for torture. Britain should send a strong signal to the regime and exclude people like Prince Nasser from coming here”.

BIRD, ADHRB and Redress thus call together on the UK government to respect the decision made by the UK High Court and to act in accordance with this decision by demanding Prince Nasser’s immediate removal from UK territory.

See the letter below:

Rt Hon Theresa May
Secretary of State for the Home Department
Home Office
Direct communications unit
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

Dear Ms. May,

We write to you regarding the current visit of the Bahraini Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa to the United Kingdom amidst serious allegations of torture and ill treatment. His visit coincides with the 2014 British Invention Show of which he is a patron.

On 7 October 2014, the UK High Court quashed a decision1 by the Crown Prosecution Service that the Prince had immunity from prosecution on torture allegations under Section 20 of the State Immunity Act 1978. Prince Nasser has been accused of taking part in individual acts of torture during the 2011 uprising in Bahrain. In 2012, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights sent a detailed dossier of evidence regarding alleged practices of torture committed by the Prince. This included witness statements by members of Bahrain’s opposition who alleged that the Prince had personally engaged in acts of torture against them. Lord Justice Laws and Mr. Justice Cranston confirmed that “based on the evidence provided” in the hearing, the Prince would no longer be immune to investigation or prosecution for the alleged acts as required by UK and Bahraini commitments to the Convention against Torture.

Two days after this decision, the British ambassador met with Prince Nasser2 expressing a “keenness to strengthen ties with Bahrain.”

Similarly, the UK government invited the Prince to visit the Royal British navy transport dock in Bahrain last week.

These actions have shown the government’s disregard for the decision made by the UK High Court earlier this month, which considered evidence of torture claims against the Prince sufficient to strip him of his functional immunity in the United Kingdom.

The Prince’s undisturbed arrival in the UK reflects a compromising position of the UK government towards Bahrain. While the order of the High Court on Prince Nasser recalls the UK obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture, an unchanged attitude towards the Prince amidst serious allegations of torture puts to question the UK’s commitment to its international human rights engagements.

We express our disappointment with the decision to grant the Prince access to British territory whilst there are ongoing accusations against him. We call on the government to make it clear to the Prince that as a person accused of some of the most serious crimes, he is not welcome in the United Kingdom. I remind you of HMG’s Human Rights and Democracy Report 2012 which clearly states: “Where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses they will not normally be permitted to enter the UK.” We further call on the government to refrain from inviting the Prince onto public property, including for the inspection of sensitive military installations and urge you to take immediate steps to advise of an appropriate course of action for his dismissal from the UK.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
Redress

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) express their concern over the Bahraini government’s ongoing campaign of targeting photographers, journalists and artists for documenting abuses and human rights violations committed by the government and security forces. The government arrested 17-year-old photographer Hussam Mahdi Suroor on 4 September 2014. His 26-years-old brother, artist Mahmood Suroor, was arrested and detained on 10 October 2014: here.

40 NGOs call on ’s allies to take action to free human rights defenders: here.

Bahrain: Halt deportation of individuals arbitrarily stripped of nationality: here.

Bahrain’s Ban on Main Opposition Prompts U.S. Policy Dilemma: here.

Bahrain, CNN and censorship


This video from the USA says about itself:

1 October 2014

Amber Lyon recounts her time spent covering the Bahrain conflict and how CNN censored her story about the events taking place there.

Bahrain: Free Activists Facing Free-Speech Charges: here.

Bahraini government-ISIS connection


This video is called Freed Bahrain activist Maryam al-Khawaja on arrest, prison and Nabeel Rajab.

From the Bahrain Mirror:

Inside Nabeel Rajab’s mind… “Bahrain Mirror” presents a defense and evidences concerning the involvement of the Bahraini security bodies in embracing “ISIS”

22/10/2014

(Exclusive): The re-arresting of Nabeel Rajab, Director of Bahrain Center for Human Rights, for his tweet, in which he described the Bahrain security institutions as an “ideological incubator” of ISIS, brought to light the dominant combat doctrine in this institution that forms “a passage” for several Bahraini fighters found within “ISIS” in the conflict areas in Syria and Iraq.

The Bahraini Ministry of Interior had already confessed on 5th September that one of its officers, Mohamed Isa Al-Binali, known as Abu Issa Al Salami, had joined ISIS.

The Ministry of Interior declared “it had already dismissed him for failing to attend work”. Meanwhile, this was considered the first official confession about the affiliation of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria to the security institutions.

Question marks raised about Bahrain’s participation in the international coalition against terrorism, led by the United States to fight ISIS, led to the acknowledgment of the Bahrain‘s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, on 29th September, that there is at least 100 Bahraini fighters fighting alongside ISIS.

However, the government spokeswoman, Samira Rajab, stated on 30th September “this is all the information we have until now. There is no more precise information.”

In this context, the video, of the lieutenant “Al Binali” with 3 of his friends, posted last week came to disclose a new era of the Bahraini Jihadi phenomena. Al Binali called his fellows in the Bahraini Ministry of Interior to follow him, join ISIS and leave their jobs in the Ministry. The officers in the Ministry know that “they are wrong” and they are still in their jobs for financial motives, added the defected lieutenant.

It is worth mentioning that the “Al Binali” tribe, which Issa Al Binali belongs to, is of the few Arab tribes which is allied to the Bahraini ruling family and whose members are allowed to take leading position in the Bahraini security bodies. The Al Binali tribe occupies the first place among the tribes and the Bahraini families in terms of providing the Jihadi organizations with a number of Bahraini fighters.

There are at least 6 fighters from this tribe who are actually involved in the battles in Syria and Iraqi alongside “ISIS“. The tweets of these 6 fighters reveal that they are publically involved in the battles. However, until 2013, Turki Al Binali, who studied the Islamic law, had been visiting Bahrain as one of the prominent leaders in ISIS. Turki is responsible for mobilizing a number of Sunni youth from Busaiteen region and encouraging them to fight in Iraq and Syria.

At least two Bahrainis from the Bahrain Defence Force, Abdul Aziz Al Othman and his brother Abdul Rahman Al Othman, were killed in 2013 while fighting for Al Nusra front in Syria. Social media published their photos in (May 2013) in different regions in Syria wearing the Bahraini army uniform.

The Extremist “indoctrination” in the army institution

These evidences opened the door to a debate about the doctrine of the army institutions and the indoctrination of those working in it. In an attempt to answer this question, a group of books issued from the Religious Guidance directorate in the Bahraini Defence Force was unveiled in June this year. In the context of sectarianism practiced by the Bahraini army, these books degrade Shiites, who represent the majority of the Bahrainis, ideology and present it as Takfiri.

“The light of Sunnah and darkness of heresy in the book and Sunnah” book by the author Saeed Al Qahtani presented Shiites as Takfiris with reference to their religious beliefs in visiting the tombs and shrines of the Prophet Mohammad and the Imams in Medina in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. In his book, Al Qahtani discusses that “going around the tombs to devour those buried inside” is among the acts of infidelity.

In his book, Al Qahtani describes the “Raafidis”; a degradation name used by the extremists to refer to the “Shiites”, as heresiarchs and classifies them among the “misguided groups” with respect to their beliefs; including “Druzes, Ismaili, Alawites and others.”

The book, which is being distributed to the officers in the Bahrain Defence Force, describes the Raafidi and other religious groups’ celebrations of the Birth of the Prophet as “considering it a festival in imitation of Jews and Christians”, noting that Muslims should be forbidden from imitating them.” The writer also referred to the celebration of Isra and Mi’raj and that of 15th Shaaban.

The Religious Guidance directorate in the Ministry of Defence also printed another book on its own account for the same author, Al Qahtani, under the title of “The light of monotheism and the darkness of polytheism in the light of the book and the Sunnah”. This book includes the same Takfiri implications and is one of the books being distributed to the officers in the Bahrain Defence Force.

Applied Models of the “Takfiri” indoctrination

The opinions of the Bahraini military spokesman, Khalid Al Buainain, on his twitter account @Al_Bu3inain provide “a clear sample for the military doctrine that is full of extremism acquired from this kind of indoctrination.” These opinions also reveal the usage of the Salafist “Takfiri” lexicon in its stance towards the West, USA, Shiites, Christians, Jews and Alawites.

Al Buainain (who has been recently banned from tweeting and asked to delete all his tweets pursuant to an internal investigation) objected to the granting of a government license (in August 2012) to establish a Catholic Church. He said, “How will God grant us victory when we build temples for Shirk and pagans. How will God grant us victory when polytheism is being supported by the government fearing from saying that we are against the human rights?”

However, the comments of the Minister of the royal court, Nasser bin Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who is an officer in the Bahraini Army and the chairman of East Riffa club, give another sample that shows the Salafi incursion inside the ruling family. His twitter account @nasser_khalid is full of clear indications that reveal a fundamentalist configuration of the same national ideology adopted by “the Salafia Jihadia”.

Nasser bin Khalid Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa says in one of the comments, “Bahrain is not for all, it is an Arab Muslim country pursuant to the Constitution” adding that, “We don’t force the Magi (the Shiites) to monotheism, yet refusing their shirk is a duty and helping them to shirk in Allah is a great injustice”. He continues in this context, “Not calling Sunnis and Shiites, but only Bahrainis is a Jahiliyyah naming set by those calling for shirk.”

His twitter account has regularly been an announcing port in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to the “Equipping Ghazi (militant)” campaign that aims at preparing fighters to fight in Syria. Nasser also stated that “the door of equipping the fighters in Syria is still opened. Don’t withhold yourselves.” He also considered that “There is no good in Muslims’ wealth and fortunes unless they assist their brothers in religion in the eastern and western wings of earth.”

Until the middle of 2012, “Equipping Ghazi (militant)” campaigns, designed to finance and prepare the fighters, were done in public in the Bahraini mosques such as “Shikhan Al-Farsi Mosque” in Riffa, “Abu Hanifa Mosque” in Busaiteen, “Nadi Al-Sahel Mosque” in Al Hidd, “Sheikh Isa bin Ali Mosque” in Muharraq, “Al Esmah mosque” in Hamad town, “Galali Al Garbi Mosque”, in Galali, in addition to other mosques in Isa town and Manama. These campaigns were launched under the supervision of Salafist leaders known for their deep relations with the leader of the Bahrain Defence Force, the field Marshal Khalifa bin Hamad, who announced in a talk on 16th June 2013 that “The Syrian revolution is the only one that can be referred to as people’s revolution.” Adding, “What happened in other Arab countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain is not but a western conspiracy.”

According to this information, the human rights defender, Nabeel Rajab’s tweets came to shed light on what he called “the ideological incubator” for the Bahraini fighters. He, nonetheless, stated that “many of the Bahrainis who joined the ISIS militia came from the country’s security institutions; these institutions were the first ideological incubator.”

Perhaps this information opened the door for an official investigation that might have ended up with a big scandal regarding the involvement of the military institutions in broadcasting the extremist ideology and forming a starting ground to the extremist jihadists. However, because all of these happened in Bahrain, the government will only arrest Nabeel Rajab!

This video is about passports of ISIS fighters in Kobani, which turned out to be from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Now that the United States is forming another military coalition to combat evil in the Middle East, maybe we should pause to take a closer look at the members of this coalition.  Sure, the Islamic State is terrible and does awful things like behead people, but they’ve got nothing on Saudi Arabia, which beheads people as a matter of policy: here.

Youth unemployment within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries can no longer be overlooked. The recently released Rethinking Arab Employment report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) exposes some facts and challenges relating to this burning issue. At 8.1 per cent, 7.4 per cent and 5.6 per cent, unemployment rates are a concern in Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia: here.

There is a pattern of economic interests, political allegiances and military parameters that come into play when it comes to Bahrain. We know that, but yet a people cannot be made to live in slavery because it is politically and economically convenient to foreign powers: here.

A complaint by activists that human rights regulations were breached when the Formula 1 Grand Prix was staged in Bahrain “merits further examination”, a UK government panel has said: here.

ISTANBUL (AP) — Militant leaders from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a high-level Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander have told The Associated Press: here.

Queen Rania of Jordan has admitted that the establishment in the Middle East is complicit in the rise of ISIS. She mentioned a lack of ‘quality education for everyone, boys and girls’ and of jobs.

Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab interviewed


This video says about itself:

Jailed for a Tweet: Interview with Nabeel Rajab

21 October 2014

Nabeel Rajab is a human rights activist awaiting trial in Bahrain, one of the West’s favorite dictatorships. Three years after the Arab Spring, protests there are still being violently repressed, and Rajab now faces up to three years in jail — for a tweet. VICE News spoke to him a few weeks before his latest arrest.

Read More: Bahrain’s Human Rights Activist Faces Jail Time — for a Tweet.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has called on the United States government to publicly request the release of newly-arrested Bahraini human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab. Citing a Huffington Post article, the Center describes how Rajab was arrested on September 30th after tweeting “that Bahrain’s security forces act as an ideological incubator for ISIS.” The Center contends that the United States government has ignored Bahrain’s sectarian past, and that the United States’ military priorities have overtaken its desire to call out Bahrain on its human rights abuses. According to the Center, the Bahraini government has no reason to alter its behavior and stop persecuting activists if the United States does not condemn these actions: here.

Bahrain election to deepen dispute between govt and opposition – activist Nabeel Rajab (EXCLUSIVE interview): here.

Bahrain elections must not be used to cover up human rights violations: here.

Update: Bahrain: Another case brought against jailed human rights defender Zainab Al-Khawaja: here.

Zainab Al-Khawaja, eight months pregnant, has been arrested for peacefully protesting against Bahrain’s King. If convicted she faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. Write to the authorities and call on them to release Zainab Al-Khawaja immediately and unconditionally: here.

Bahrain human rights activist Zainab Al-Khawaja was released from prison on Wednesday after spending five weeks imprisoned. Al-Khawaja, who is more than eight months pregnant, must return to court on 4 and 9 December for her sentencing: here.

On 16 October 2014, the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom publicly released its bi-yearly update to its country report on the Kingdom of Bahrain. The update specifically addresses the Human Rights and Democracy section of the country report by detailing the most recent developments on the ground. While the report highlights public engagement with Bahrain regarding the deterioration of its human rights situation, it mostly expends its efforts towards praising the government on what the report sees as a nearly unqualified improvement, and even distorts international commentary on Bahrain’s obstinate behavior in implementing human rights reform to reframe the international community’s opinion to better align with the UK’s more positive take. The report’s assessment of the human rights status in Bahrain does not align with the current situation in the country or the opinion of the international community, and.it will be important for London to accurately address the changing environment in Bahrain to conform to the reality of the human rights situation on the ground: here.

MANAMA, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Bahraini authorities released pro-democracy activist Zainab al-Khawaja from detention on Wednesday, her lawyer and sister said, as she awaits trial over a charge of insulting Bahrain’s king by tearing up his picture: here.