Canadian persecuted in dictatorial Bahrain

This video from Canada is called Irwin Cotler Question About Canadian Naser Al Rass (Bahrain).

From the Vancouver Sun in Canada:

Kuwaiti-Canadian facing prison in Bahrain over demonstration

Postmedia News January 25, 2012 8:07 PM

A Kuwait-born Canadian citizen has lost his appeal in Bahrain for breaking that nation’s illegal assembly laws and now faces a prison term.

Naser Al Raas was the only one of 13 defendants previously convicted on charges of illegal assembly, rioting and incitement who was not acquitted by Bahrain’s Third Superior Court, fiancee Zainab Ahmed told Postmedia News.

“Naser should be innocent too. He has to be free by now,” she wrote in an email. “I can’t let them take him.

“The Canadian government has to do something right NOW!!”

Al Raas, a former Ottawa resident, was sentenced in late October 2011 for breaking Bahrain’s illegal-assembly laws. He and 12 others were sentenced for having links to antigovernment demonstrations.

Al Raas told Postmedia News last year he was kidnapped and beaten for a month in an underground prison.

“The main thing that was going through my head was, ‘How will I survive?'” Al Raas said in October, calling via Skype from Bahrain because he believed his phone was being tapped. “I saw death many times.”

On March 20, 2011, Al Raas was leaving Bahrain after a three-week visit to check up on his five sisters and ensure they were safe amid the political unrest enveloping the tiny Persian Gulf country.

Pro-democracy protests that broke out in February amid the fervour of the Arab Spring were crushed by Bahraini security forces, backed by Saudi troops.

Al Raas was returning to Kuwait where he worked as an IT specialist.

At Bahrain International Airport, four policemen in civilian clothes ambushed and forced him into a tiny office where he was beaten and held at gunpoint, Al Raas said.

He said they blindfolded him, took him to an undisclosed location, and subjected him to a mock execution where bullets were repeatedly fired around him.

For a month, he said, he was held hostage, taken to an underground prison cell where he endured the screams of others. He said he witnessed one man being tortured until he was dead.

When it was his turn, he said, his torturers took him to a wooden room, blindfolded him, tied him to a chair, beat him with a rubber hose, kicked him with military boots and electrocuted him. Sometimes they would spit into his mouth and force him to swallow, he said.

Other times, he would be forced to stand up for hours at a time without rest and was beaten when he tried to sleep, said Al Raas.

“I could not sit, I could not sleep. Whenever I moved, I was beaten by many officers,” said Al Raas.

Often the blows were targeted at his chest, where he has scars from two open-heart surgeries, he said.

Al Raas has pulmonary hypertension, a heart and lung disease that requires careful medical attention and anti-clotting medication.

When he asked for his medicine, his requests were denied and the torture intensified, said Al Raas.

A month after he was arrested, Al Raas said he was forced to make an on-camera confession, warned to not speak to the media and not to tell anybody about the torture. Finally, he was released.

Once free, Al Raas pleaded for the return of his Canadian passport, which was seized during his arrest. On June 7, 2011, he said, when security officials told him he could come get his passport, he was arrested and beaten again, and charged with kidnapping a Bahraini police officer.

He denied the accusations and was taken to military court earlier this month, where he was acquitted of all charges.

But in late October, he was found guilty in civilian court on other charges, for participating in protests and publicly inciting hatred and contempt against the regime.

From the National Post in Canada:

Canadian in hiding after being charged, sentenced for ‘hatred’ against Bahraini regime

Tristin Hopper Jan 25, 2012 – 10:12 PM ET

Stripped of his Canadian passport and pursued by security forces, Naser al-Raas remains a fugitive in Bahrain 10 months after he became caught up in the country’s crackdown on the Arab Spring.

“It is because I am foreign and they tried to link the demonstrations with foreign influence,” said the 29-year-old IT specialist by Skype from an undisclosed location in the tiny Persian Gulf nation. “Not even [my fiancée] knows where I am,” he said.

See also here.

5 thoughts on “Canadian persecuted in dictatorial Bahrain

  1. January 25, 2012 9:11 AM

    Protester in Bahrain dies after arrest

    (AP) MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain authorities say a detainee has died after being taken into custody during clashes between security forces and Shiite-led protesters.

    Thursday’s statement by the Interior Ministry says public prosecutors are investigating the death. About 40 people have died in nearly a year of nonstop unrest between Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy and the island kingdom’s majority Shiites seeking a greater voice in government and security affairs.

    The brief statement gave no further details on the death, but said the detainee was hospitalized and accused of “vandalism” during widespread demonstrations on Wednesday.

    Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.


  2. Pingback: Bahrain’s own Geert Wilders | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Tortured Canadian stuck in Bahrain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Bahrain regime thugs attack critical Sunni MP | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Anti-worker apartheid in Bahrain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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