6 thoughts on “Bahrain dictatorship, oppression and public relations

  1. Bahraini princess accused of torturing hospital medical staff

    by: Hugh Tomlinson, Dubai
    From: The Australian
    October 04, 2011 12:00AM

    A BAHRAINI princess has been accused of involvement in the torture of detainees during the country’s suppression of anti-government protesters this year.

    Some of the doctors who have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms for supporting the Shia-led protests against the ruling al-Khalifa family have alleged that Sheikha Noora bint Ibrahim al-Khalifa beat prisoners with sticks and a rubber hose, and gave electric shocks to the face with a cable.

    The case against the doctors has provoked international condemnation of the Bahrain government. The medical staff allege they were tortured in custody and forced to sign false confessions.

    The princess works as an undercover police detective in counter-narcotics. Born into the third tier of the royal family, she is believed to be a cousin of Queen Sabika bint Ibrahim al-Khalifa.

    A spokesman for Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority declined to comment on the doctors’ specific allegations, but said all claims of abuse by security forces during the unrest were under investigation by an independent human rights commission appointed in June by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Attempts to contact the princess for comment have not been successful.

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    Ms Khalifa is accused of torturing several doctors, male and female. Nada Dhaif, 36, who received a 15-year sentence last week, alleged the princess had been involved in her interrogation in March. Dhaif claimed: “She slapped me, beat me and called me a Shia pig. She put a cable in my ears and gave me electric shocks.”

    Dhaif has alleged she was blindfolded during her torture, but said that there was only one other woman in the room, who was addressed as “sheikha” by the male guards.

    “At the end of the interrogation, she took the blindfold off me and I recognised her,” she said.

    Fatima Haji, 32, another detainee, has claimed that Ms Khalifa searched through her BlackBerry mobile phone and found an e-mail sent to Human Rights Watch about her suspension from work.

    “She shouted, ‘How dare you destroy the image of my country?’ Then she gave me electric shocks to my face,” claimed Haji, who received a five-year sentence for her alleged role in the anti-government protests.

    Haji claimed she briefly lost her sight after repeated electric shocks and was sexually assaulted by other guards. All the female doctors say they were threatened with rape by male guards during their interrogation.

    Bahraini rights groups have alleged that Ms -Khalifa tortured a young woman who had been jailed for reciting a poem criticising the king during the protests. Ayat al-Qurmuzi, 20, a poet and student, was sentenced to a year in jail by a military court for inciting hatred against the royal family by reading her work at a pro-democracy rally. She was released in July during an effort at reconciliation by King Hamad.

    Most of the convicted medical staff worked at Salmaniya Hospital in the centre of the Bahraini capital, Manama. The hospital was where most of the casualties were treated when security forces crushed the anti-government protests at the nearby Pearl roundabout, the focal point of the unrest. At least 35 people died.

    A UN commission investigating alleged human rights abuses is headed by Cherif Bassiouni, a UN war crimes expert. His team will issue a final report at the end of the month.

  2. Bahrain, F1 of insensitivity

    Gulf State shows contempt for medical profession

    Frankie D’Cruz

    Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 00:49:00

    The move to hold the Bahrain Grand Prix next April, after its cancellation following antigovernment protests in March this year, is the Formula 1 of arrogance.

    Bahrain is out of place in an event that brings the world together.

    The world disapproves of Bahrain’s jailing last week of 20 doctors who dared to treat protesters injured in those pro-democracy riots.

    Thirteen doctors were jailed for 15 years for crimes against the State while seven other medical professionals received sentences of between five and 10 years.

    A special tribunal, set up during the emergency rule that followed the protests, imprisoned the medics and it sparked worldwide condemnation.

    Their crime: treating the victims of the vicious attacks by the Saudi and Al Khalifa forces in March; and “forcibly” occupying a hospital.

    Formula 1 relies on the brilliance of medics across the world and race teams should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these professionals and snub Bahrain.

    One should be mortified of joining the motoring circus in a State that shows appalling contempt for the medical profession.

    Sadly, there are no howls of anger among Formula 1 drivers and teams over the imprisonment of the medics.

    Regrettably, there are no impassioned debates over the grotesque failures of an influential sport to boycott a vicious regime.

    Rather, the main talking point in the sport now is the worry that Formula 1 teams have to pay tax when they go to India for the first time next year.

    Truth is, countries need Formula 1 more than Formula 1 needs them and cancelling the event would be a huge blow to the Bahraini authorities.

    The Grand Prix matters to this Gulf State as the nation attempts to establish its importance and voice on the international stage. It’s part of foreign policy as well.

    Promoter Bernie Ecclestone (pic) is skilful at persuading people to dance at the click of a finger.

    Disappointingly, he appears unmoved. But that’s to be expected from a man who has been quick to exploit the desire for nations such as Bahrain to use sport to promote their international credentials.

    This year’s season-opener on March 13 in Bahrain was cancelled because the streets were bursting with thousands of pro-democracy protesters, 30 dead bodies, hundreds of wounded and 1,000 troops from Saudi Arabia drafted in to crush the rebellion.

    For Ecclestone, that was an easy decision to make. Now’s the real test.

    Personally, I feel Formula 1 should not go to Bahrain. The teams need to be audacious, show some courage — and say NO.


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  4. Pingback: Bahrain dictatorship news update | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Bahrain dictatorship, public relations and resistance | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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