Bahrain kangaroo court trials

This video is called Bahraini medics recount hospital horror.

By Niall Green:

Bahrain: Show trial sentences critics of regime

23 June 2011

A military court in the US-allied monarchy of Bahrain has handed down lengthy prison sentences to 21 people involved in anti-government protests earlier this year.

Eight people were given life sentences and others sentenced to prison terms of up to 15 years. All those convicted by the specially convened military tribunal are from the Shiite Muslim faith, the religious majority in the small Persian Gulf nation. The Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa royal family rules Bahrain, while Shiites face discrimination in employment, the provision of housing and other services.

The regime in Bahrain faced weeks of mass anti-government protests in February and March. Following a military intervention by troops from the neighboring monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Bahraini government declared martial law on March 15 and launched a vicious crackdown on all signs of dissent.

Security forces killed at least 30 demonstrators, and hundreds have been arrested. Many of those detained by the authorities have been held incommunicado and suffered torture. The state has taken further punitive action against its critics, firing thousands of public sector workers accused of participating in protest marches.

Those sentenced on Wednesday include human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, and two opposition politicians, Abd al-Jalil Singace and Hassan Mushaima. Seven of those convicted were tried in absentia, including one Internet blogger who received a 15-year sentence.

Faraz Sanei of Human Rights Watch described the manner in which one of those convicted, Jaafer al-Hasabi, was brought into custody: “Like others, he was picked up by masked gunmen, in the middle of the night, held incommunicado … He was part of an organization [the Bahrain Freedom Movement] which wasn’t even outlawed.”

One of those tried in absentia, Ali Mushaima, escaped to Britain in March. In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Mushaima, a 28-year old pro-democracy activist, said he was not surprised at the outcome of the trial. “We know this court very well, and we know that the regime is targeting leaders of this movement,” he claimed.

Amnesty International condemned the trial and the sentences, stating its belief that, “some of the defendants may be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully expressing their political beliefs and organizing pro-reform rallies.”

“These sentences are extremely harsh, and they appear to be politically motivated, since we have not seen any evidence that the activists used or advocated violence,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty’s Middle East director. “Civilians should not be tried in a military court, and these trials were patently unfair.”

Amnesty, as well as other groups and family members of those convicted have accused the Bahraini government of torturing the prisoners and forcing them to sign false confessions. Those convicted were given very limited access to legal counsel.

Bahrain trials bear marks of ‘political persecution,’ says UN human rights office: here.

UN: Disconnecting people from the Internet is a violation of human rights: here.

Arab Spring: Power not giving up without bloody fight: here.

Bloomberg : One Killed, Six Injured as Yemeni Security Open Fire at Funeral: here.

7 thoughts on “Bahrain kangaroo court trials

  1. Bahraini authorities deport construction workers for striking

    On June 21, 40 construction workers had their contracts terminated for taking part in an unofficial strike and are to be deported.

    The Trade Arabia News Service (TANS) said the workers “were among 300 Asian workers who took part in the strike that started Saturday to demand pay rises.

    “The other workers are expected to go back to their countries within this week.”

    TANS’ sister paper, the Gulf Daily News, reported that “disciplinary action would be taken against the workers for going on an illegal strike.”

    “The workers from India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh claimed they received salaries ranging between BD65 ($172.40) to BD85, which they said was not enough to survive. They also claimed they don’t save enough to send to their families back home,” reported TANS.

    One of the workers, who was due to leave the country that night, said, “We went to the ministry, but no one from the company or embassies came. We waited for a long time and a ministry official said they would take action against us if we didn’t leave the offices.

    “He also said our demands are illegal and we could face prosecution and be jailed if we didn’t agree to what the company is telling us. We agreed and returned to the accommodation to pack our luggage to go home. We didn’t do anything, except ask for our rights. Now 20 workers are leaving and the rest will go within this week, based on availability of flights.”

    The ruling elite recently enacted a wave of repression against workers across Bahrain for their part in the protests and demonstrations inspired by the uprisings in the region.


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