Bahrain pro-democracy movement keeps fighting

Demonstration in Washington against the occupation by Saudi Arabia in Bahrain from Awamia.Com on Vimeo.

From The Angry Arab News Service:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bahrain update

Angry Arab chief correspondent in Bahrain sent me this (her identity can’t be revealed for the obvious GCC reasons): “The February 14 Youth Movement have declared today as Youm Haq taqrir alma9eer (I guess the translation would be, the day of the right to self determination). There are protests everywhere, much bigger than usual. So far, I have heard of the following villages being attacked: AlDaih, AlDair, AlBurhama, Bani Jamra, AlNuaam, and Salmabad. AlDair, next to the airport and on the island of Muharraq was aggressively attacked. I am unclear as to whether they were attacked by the royal guard, the army the riot police or a combination of all three.

The slogans were directed at the King himself instead of the Prime Minister (as the slogans of the legal opposition are). The rest of the villages went out in larger numbers to distract the regime and to remove their focus from AlDair. They are resisting bravely though they are not armed. They did manage to cause some disruption. Flights from the airport have been delayed/cancelled. From what I am understanding, these are the biggest protests yet after the crackdown or at least during this month. The protests are still dispersed and of course incomparable to the large protests that existed in february. But they are still extremely well coordinated. They are all happening and the same time and it seems like they are all in contact with one another.

Another interesting thing that happened is the re-opening of Waad‘s headquarters (remember it was destroyed during the crackdown). All the legal opposition groups were there and for a first time in a long time they all gave speeches stressing the unity of the opposition and the fact that they will not be backing away from their goals. They seemed much stronger, more unified and more confident than they have been the past few months. They are going back to the february days where they are speaking in a united strong voice. Of course they reiterated their demands: A constitutional monarchy, an elected PM and parliament, the release of all prisoners, the reinstatement of the workers etc. Ebrahim Sharif even managed to smuggle out a message to everyone from prison which the head of Waad read. Their latest move is of course to boycott the elections which is driving the regime crazy. I told you in my previous email that half of the districts have no candidates.

From AllGov in the USA:

Nokia and Siemens Helping Torture in Bahrain

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Being known as a facilitator of secret police and torturers is not ideal branding for any company. But that is the reputation that Germany’s Siemens and Finland’s Nokia are developing, as a result of their partnership that’s provided spy technology to authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.

The latest sordid news comes out of Bahrain, where the government used voice- and data-recording technology sold by a Nokia Siemens Networks’ business (Trovicor) to gather incriminating text and voice messages of dissidents. According to Bloomberg, government interrogators not only used the software to track down activists, but also to show those being tortured the information that’s been gathered on them.

Trovicor’s equipment reportedly is used in at least 12 Middle Eastern and North African nations, and the company’s monitoring centers have been sold to Bahrain, Egypt, Syria and Yemen, reports Bloomberg.

Ali al-Mashima’, the son of Bahrain’s renowned opposition leader Hassan al-Mashima’, said various torturing techniques are used in the al-Khalifa prisons to extract information and punish the revolutionary forces, and revealed that Bahrain’s prince has a direct role in the torturing and interrogation of the detainees: here.

From GMA News in the Philippines:

22 distressed OFWs from Bahrain repatriated

08/28/2011 | 08:01 AM

At least 22 distressed overseas Filipino workers from Bahrain were repatriated over the weekend, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Sunday.

The DFA said an infant was with the OFWs who returned home last Friday, adding this was the second mass repatriation of OFWs from Bahrain since January.

“Eighteen of the 22 Filipino repatriates were undocumented workers, who were illegally recruited and deployed for work in Bahrain. Prior to their repatriation, these OFWs had been staying at the Embassy’s shelter,” the DFA said in a news release.

It added that most of the repatriates ran away from their employers for reasons ranging from reduced, delayed or non-payment of salaries to long working hours, heavy workload, inadequate food and physical and verbal abuse.

The Philippine Embassy negotiated with the OFWs’ employers for their visa cancellation; with police and immigration authorities for clearances; and with courts for the speedy resolution of their cases.

The University of Bahrain has reinstated 389 students who were suspended for alleged security-related incidents in March, the university president has said: here.

Bahrain’s Military Trial of Doctors a Travesty: here.

14 thoughts on “Bahrain pro-democracy movement keeps fighting

  1. Bahrain court adjourns medical personnel trials


    Published: Aug 28, 2011 16:08 Updated: Aug 28, 2011 16:08

    MANAMA: A special security court holding the trials of 20 doctors and nurses accused of links to anti-government protests is giving defense attorneys more time to prepare their cases.

    The court on Sunday adjourned until Sept. 7 to begin hearing defense witnesses. The doctors and nurses are among more than 45 medical personnel facing charges from the Shiite-led protests for greater rights in the Gulf island kingdom.

    Bahrain’s use of the security court, which includes military and civilian judges, has been strongly criticized by rights groups.

    Hundreds of people have been detained since protests began in February. Bahrain’s majority Shiites are demanding Sunni rulers ease their grip on power.


  2. Bahrain telecom Batelco names royal as new CEO

    by Associated Press | Aug 28, 2011 6:00 AM ET

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bahraini phone company Batelco has replaced its chief executive with a member of the Gulf island nation’s royal family.

    The company on Sunday named Sheik Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa as its group CEO.

    He replaces Peter Kaliaropoulos, who was appointed to the new position of chief executive for strategic assignments. That will make him responsible for the firm’s joint ventures.

    Batelco’s board is already chaired by another member of the king’s family, Sheik Hamad Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa.

    The reshuffle follows months of anti-government protests challenging the Al Khalifa family’s more than 200-year rule.


  3. The trial of 20 Bahraini health workers was due to resume on 28 August before a military court, despite assurances from the king of Bahrain that future hearings would be before a civilian court (Bahrain’s underclass plays out cat-and-mouse routine of protest and repression, 9 August). A further 28 health professionals are also facing criminal charges. All are charged with felonies or misdemeanours and appear to have been brought to trial solely because they have fulfilled their fundamental ethical undertaking to treat patients according to medical need without discrimination of any kind.

    Political or judicial interference in this central duty of the medical profession is totally unacceptable. The BMA is also deeply concerned by reports indicating that the proceedings of the military National Safety Court of First Instance do not meet international standards for a fair trial. Events in the Middle East are a reminder that healthcare workers will always be needed in situations of civil unrest, whatever the political background to the conflict. Healthcare professionals are committed to the deepest humanitarian values that transcend factional interests and political differences. A respect for mediçcal neutrality in times of conflict is of the most profound importance.

    Professor Vivienne Nathanson

    Director of professional activities, British Medical Association


  4. 23 OFWs repatriated from Bahrain

    Posted at 08/30/2011 2:58 PM | Updated as of 08/30/2011 3:30 PM

    BAHRAIN – Twenty-three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were finally repatriated to Manila after 3 months of waiting at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) shelter in Bahrain.
    The 23 repatriates were composed of 18 undocumented workers and 5 OFWs who were detained on various charges.

    The group was temporarily housed at the OWWA shelter at the Philippine Embassy.

    OFW Ramla Akan’s 3-month-old baby also joined them in their journey back to the Philippines.

    Akan gave birth to her baby while staying at the OWWA shelter. Her boyfriend had already gone back to the Philippines. She did not know that she was pregnant until she ended up at the embassy, where she sought refuge after encountering problems with her employer.

    According to Ambassador Maria Corazon Yap-Bahjin, the government of Bahrain played a big role in the repatriation of OFWs, as it waived fines for those who lack the proper documents to stay in the country.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) shouldered the cost of the plane tickets of the 20 workers while the remaining 3 were paid for by the workers’ agencies and employers.

    Naga City native Gina Mallo, who had been staying at the OWWA shelter for about 4 months, said she was happy to be among the group of repatriates.

    Mallo said her employer did not pay her salary for 3 months. Because of her undocumented status, her employer did not bring her to a hospital after she suffered injuries when a window she was cleaning accidentally shattered. Worse, her employer even charged her the cost of the broken window.

    With this bad experience, she urged Filipinos to seriously think about working abroad to prevent them from going through a similar ordeal. – Gregg Esquievel, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau


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