5 thoughts on “Irish solidarity with persecuted Bahraini doctors

  1. Humanity’s reward: In Bahrain, medical aid warrants imprisonment

    October 3, 2012 12:13 am

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    America’s relationship with the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain stretches the outer limits of U.S. tolerance of despotic, repressive regimes in the name of U.S. strategic interests in the region.

    The island nation’s latest assault on normal human rights practices occurred Monday when a higher court upheld the convictions of nine medical personnel, found guilty in June by the Court of National Safety of what it considered to be various crimes surrounding their having provided care to demonstrators in last year’s anti-government protests. One got five years in prison; a second, three years; and seven more, one month to a year.

    Demonstrations have continued for 20 months, including rioting surrounding the funeral Saturday in the capital Manama of a 17-year-old boy killed by security forces in a protest the day before.

    The civil disorder is a reaction to the monopoly on political and economic power in Bahrain, a state of about 1.3 million inhabitants, held by its 30 percent Sunni Muslim minority and monarchy, in the face of a 70 percent Shiite majority. Power-sharing does not seem to be in the vocabulary of King Hamad al-Khalifa’s family and religious group, although obviously continued denial of it makes prospects for dialogue even more slim. Saudi Arabia, also a Sunni-ruled monarchy, sits across a 16-mile causeway from Bahrain and sent security forces, including armored cars, to the island when the government’s rule appeared to be threatened last year.

    U.S. interests in Bahrain turn primarily on the presence of the headquarters of the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet. The United States is also very sensitive to the concerns of oil-producer Saudi Arabia and its Sunni monarchy. The American response to Saudi Arabia’s sending forces into Bahrain in 2011 was, of course, entirely unlike its response to Iraq’s sending forces in 1990 into Kuwait, another Persian Gulf state, which set off the first Gulf War.

    It is perhaps unreasonable for Americans to demand consistency from its government in its policy approach to states like Bahrain. At the same time, how much do a naval base and close relations with an important neighboring oil state count for in the face of human rights violations such as sentencing medical personnel to prison for having treated injured demonstrators?

    First Published October 3, 2012 12:00 am


  2. Bahrain frees Shiite female activist from jail: lawyer

    (AFP) – 28 minutes ago

    DUBAI — Bahraini authorities released Shiite rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja from prison Wednesday after she served a two-month jail term for destroying government property, her lawyer told AFP.

    “Zainab is free and she is home with her family,” Mohammed al-Jishi said adding that she was supposed to be released yesterday, when her two month sentence came to an end.

    He said she was released “after orders from the attorney general.”

    Zainab, daughter of prominent Shiite activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja who is serving a life sentence for plotting against the state, was arrested while protesting on August 2.

    She was sentenced to two months in prison for destroying property belonging to the ministry of interior, said Jishi.

    According to Amnesty International, the government property referred to in the conviction was a “picture of Bahrain’s king” which she “allegedly tore” while in detention.

    Zainab has been arrested on several occasions by Bahraini police and now faces some 13 separate charges, according to the London-based watchdog.

    In May she was released after serving a one month jail term for attacking a policewoman at a demonstration.

    She has also paid a 200 dinars ($530) fine for having insulted a police officer.

    According to Jishi, Zainab will have to return to court on Thursday, just one day after her release, to face charges of “illegal assembly” that date back to February when she participated in protests commemorating the one-year anniversary of the 2011 Shiite-led uprising against the ruling Sunni dynasty.

    Zainab has been active in holding anti-government protests since Bahraini security forces brutally crushed the uprising in March of last year.

    The kingdom has continued to witness sporadic Shiite-led demonstrations, mostly outside the capital. In total, Amnesty estimates that some 60 people have been killed in protest related unrest since last February.

    Copyright © 2012 AFP

  3. Pingback: Bahrain regime’s killing, resistance, continue | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Bahraini doctors, journalists tortured | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Irish doctor resigns in dictatorial Bahrain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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