This video is called Bahrain Desert Birds – BBC Planet Earth.
A news item about Bahrain, this time not about babies suffering from police teargas … a five-year-old child shot … an eleven-year old child jailed for playing on a street … pro-democracy activists and athletes tortured by a prince … a poetess tortured by a princess …
From Gulf Daily News:
New botanical garden on way
By Bushra Al Sayegh
Thursday, June 21, 2012
BAHRAIN‘s oldest theme park could soon be transformed into a natural reserve that will feature a major bird sanctuary.
The BD4 million project will overhaul the 45-year-old Salmaniya Water Garden into a habitat for rare bird species with artificial water ponds and green zones, which include botanical gardens.
The new Botanics Water Garden will also feature tiny islands that would host migrating birds and an educational centre, which aims to educate the public and children on the importance of preserving the environment and its wildlife.
The Manama Municipal Council yesterday agreed on initial plans to revamp the existing facility, which has been neglected for years and turned into a swamp with only a few amusement rides.
According to initial plans, the project could be completed in around three years and it would cover 65,689sqm with a state-of-the-art entertainment area, public facilities and children’s corner.
“Around BD4m will be spent to renovate the old water garden and make it look like a real one,” said council services and public utilities committee chairman Fadhel Al Qaidoom.
“It will be developed into a garden that reflects botanical water garden with green walkways, bird sanctuary, green fields and a food court.
“There will also be a small artificial island that will function as a habitat for migrating birds and we will try our best to preserve old trees in the old park by making it part of the new project.”
11-year-old Bahraini child Ali Hasan faces up to three years in jail if convicted as authorities refuse to believe he was merely playing in the street: here.
I met Abdullah Fadlain (fictional name) in a Bahraini village. He was detained from April 24, 2011 until July 3, 2011 and says he was tortured multiple times. Fadlain has previously published his testimony online, but he agreed to share his shocking story in person. After finishing, our translator, human rights activist Zainab Al Khawaja, told me that she hadn’t translated everything. Some parts were just too humiliating for him to repeat in our presence: here.
The Bahraini court received torture allegation against son of the king from activist Mohamed Almoqdad on 19 June 2012: here.
U.S. Hypocrisy on Parade: Washington Arms Bahrain, Denounces Russia For Arming Syria: here.
- Bahraini blogger escapes from dictatorship (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Bahrain, torture kingdom (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Bahraini human rights violated again (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Prominent Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab goes missing (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Bahraini security forces raid sheikh’s house: opposition (dailystar.com.lb)
- Gardens and The Need to Plan (jessielilac.blogspot.com)
- Bahraini Arab food. (hungerstationbahrain.wordpress.com)
- Bahraini blogger Ali Abdulemam flees to UK (arunbabyveranakunnel.wordpress.com)
- Indian man, daughter in Bahrain forced to live out in the open (ndtv.com)
Bahrain draws fire for charging a child for protesting
21 Jun 2012 16:52 – Saeed Kamali
At a time when most 11-year-old boys are looking forward to the school holidays, Ali Hasan is preparing for his trial in Bahrain.
On Wednesday morning, the primary school pupil from suburban Manama stood in court and listened as the case against him was spelled out: Hasan had helped protesters to block a street with rubbish containers and wood during demonstrations last month. His defence: that he is a child who was just playing with friends in the street.
“On the day before I was arrested, there was some fighting in the streets near my house between the demonstrators and the police,” Hasan told the Guardian by phone from his home in the Bilad al-Qadeem suburb of Manama. “The demonstrators had blocked the street by setting fire to tyres and using containers which people dispose of their rubbish.
“The day after this, I went to the street with two of my friends to play. It was around 3pm. While we were playing there some police forces came towards us, which made us panic. My friends managed to run away … but I was so scared by the guns they were carrying that I couldn’t move and I was arrested.”
Bahrain’s rulers have been ruthless in the cases they have pursued against those accused of involvement in 15 months of protest against the Khalifa dynasty. Doctors, nurses and rights activists have been prosecuted. But Hasan’s case marks a new precedent in the legal crackdown against civil society. He is believed to be the youngest Bahraini to stand trial in connection with the uprising.
Anything to go back home
In fact, Hasan spent weeks in jail before he was granted bail last week – he even took his exams in prison.
After his arrest, he was taken to several police stations where, he said, he was forced to confess to participating in anti-government demonstrations.
“I was crying all the time. I told them I’d confess to anything to go back home,” he said.
Hasan’s father, Jasem Hasan, a car parts dealer, said his son was taken back to the detention centre the day after his arrest.
“I was abroad at the time and when I called, Ali’s mother was only crying. She was crying for all the time Ali was in prison,” he said.
In jail, Hasan spent a month in a room with three other children and was made to clean the centre. “We would wake up early in the morning for breakfast, usually around 6.30, and then I had to do some job,” he said.
“The first day in jail was horrible. I cried all the time but I became friends with the other boys there and we could play for four hours every day, but had to spend all our other time in a locked room.”
Describing the centre, he said: “It’s like putting a bear in a box, I felt just like that. I never want to go back to that place again.”
Bahrain’s chief prosecutor for those under the age of 18, Noura al-Khalifa, has said that Hasan was detained while blocking the street and Bahraini information officials have said that he was participating in an “illegal gathering”.
But his father said the allegations were lies. “They claimed that my son had accepted money in exchange for setting fire to tyres and blocking the road.
“I don’t say I’m a rich person, but I make enough money and my son doesn’t need to go in streets looking for money. I always give enough money to him.”
Hasan’s lawyer, Mohsen al-Alawi, said the boy had nothing to do with the demonstrations. “Ali was not a political activist or a demonstrator. He was only playing games like all other children of his age.”
Human Rights Watch has expressed concerns about Hasan’s case. “He was not accompanied by a lawyer during his questioning,” said Mariwan Hama-Saeed. “It seems the only evidence used against him is his own confession and the testimony of a police officer.”
The British and United States governments have been criticised for maintaining close relations with the Bahraini leadership and failing to address human rights abuses in an uprising that has left scores dead.
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa programme at Amnesty International, said: “Arresting an 11-year-old boy and interrogating him for hours without a lawyer before trying him on spurious charges shows a jaw-dropping lack of respect for his rights.”
On Wednesday, the court adjourned Hasan’s case and said it would hand down judgment on July 5. – © Guardian News & Media 2012
Bahrain’s $63m park project faces axe
Manama: 4 hours and 53 minutes ago
A BD24 million ($63.6 million) project to create a state-of-the-art public park in Bahrain could be at risk of being scrapped following fears it could be commercialized, said a top official.
The Muharraq Municipal Council has threatened to revoke the Bahraini investor’s initial contract if he does not agree to its terms.
It has also given the investor a deadline of September 1 before issuing a construction permit to overhaul the designs for the Muharraq Grand Garden that were presented to the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry.
The project, near Bahrain International Airport, will include Bahrain’s first full-size ice arena, which will cost BD4 million, an aquarium and aquamarine centre, a major karting track and spectacular amusement rides.
The garden has an area of 93,000 sq m, but buildings will be constructed on 111,000 sq m, which will also include large green areas, restaurants, a fitness club and gym, an elderly centre and family resting areas.
It will feature a commercial complex on the side of the airport which will be leased to airlines, car rental companies and cargo providers, and will include a business centre, banks and insurance offices.
“Any sane human being can understand that the garden will be turned into a shopping complex rather than be developed as a theme park,” said council chairman Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed.
“We have nothing against the ice arena, the aquarium and karting track, but the rest are all commercial facilities that shouldn’t be found in a park.
“The garden will see a shopping complex hosting airlines and cargo companies offices and honestly and I don’t see them having any relevance to family entertainment.
“Yes, the garden is close to the airport, but it is not there as an investment for the aviation industry. It is there to provide people with recreational facilities.”
Plans for a hotel and furnished apartments at the site were earlier cancelled based on orders from Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka’abi and the council.
The garden was initially going to be turned into a “miniature Disneyland”, but was scrapped two years ago.
Councillors tried to revive the plan but the Kuwaiti investor, chosen then, faced financial difficulties and had the project withdrawn from him.
Al Mahmeed said the investor has added several facilities to the designs, despite objection from councillors.
“We had a huge problem with the hotel and furnished apartments, which were cancelled and replaced with a fitness club and gym,” he added. “However, that was just a small area of the facility and the investor added a shopping complex to the rest of it.”
“The investor has to change his plans and instead come up with something that follows the same pattern as Adhari park or else we will reject giving him a building permit, revoke his initial contract and have the project tendered again.
“A deadline until September 1 has been given to allow the investor time to think things over and that’s either to comply or get axed.” – TradeArabia News Service
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