Bahraini monarchy keeps violating human rights

This video is called Royal Torture: Bahrain princess charged with activist abuse.

From Human Rights First:

Bahrain No More Stable as Nabeel Rajab Marks One Year in Custody


By Brian Dooley
Human Rights Defenders Program

Exactly a year ago tomorrow leading Bahraini human rights defender Nabeel Rajab was arrested in his home by masked men.

He has been in custody ever since and has another year to go before completing his sentence on charges of Tweeting information about protests. Nabeel’s jailing was a shock to those of us who follow Bahrain closely. For the year before his arrest, Bahraini authorities had harshly cracked down on protesters calling for democracy. Thousands of people had been arrested and many of them were tortured.

But many people thought that Nabeel’s international prominence and reputation would protect him from a long prison sentence; he’s the President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and had won several international human rights prizes, including the Ion Ratiu award from the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Silbury Prize from UK parliamentarians in 2011. He’s one of the most prominent human rights activists in the Middle East, if not the world.

Many also believed that the international outcry over Nabeel’s arrest might result in a quick release. Instead it turned out that his jailing was part of a renewed wave of attacks on Bahraini civil society by the dictatorship.

In the past year, 31 Bahrainis have been stripped of their citizenship, almost a dozen have been prosecuted for criticizing the king on Twitter, the appeal courts have confirmed verdicts and sentences given to political prisoners in military show trials, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture has been denied access to the country, and many other prominent human rights defenders have been targeted and jailed, including Zainab al Khawaja.

During that time, some protestors have grown increasingly angry and violent, and the regime has still failed to hold any senior official accountable for the systematic torture that took place since February 2011.

It’s hard to see what jailing Nabeel has achieved except that it is yet another blow to the public opinion of Bahrain in the eyes of the international community. Putting Nabeel in prison has only increased his profile. He has always been a strong force for peaceful protest –constantly urging demonstrators to stay nonviolent. With his arrest, the government has inflamed an already volatile situation by trying to silence one of the voices that broke through to frustrated young protestors.

Instead of allowing Nabeel and the other human rights activists to help shape a new Bahrain with real political stability, these voices of dissent are biding their time while behind bars. Nabeel called me from prison a while ago. “I’m just bored,” he said. “We’re not allowed newspapers or books we want to read. I spend most days just sitting between the four walls.”

If the U.S. wants to protect its strategic interests in the region, which include the Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, it needs to support real political stability. The best way to achieve that is not by propping up the dictatorship (we’ve seen how fragile other repressive U.S. allies in the region have turned out) but by encouraging the country to respect the rule of law and make fundamental human rights reforms.

Jailing Nabeel and others like him only makes instability in Bahrain more likely.

If the U.S. government wants to do what’s best for the U.S. government, it should put the release of Nabeel and the other human rights activists on the agenda of every meeting it has with Bahraini officials.

The country can really only start to recover when its civil society leaders are free to play a full part in designing its future. By keeping Nabeel is prison Bahrain is wasting a brilliant mind, angering much of its population and making real stability a more distant prospect.

From Gulf Daily News, a mouthpiece of the Bahraini absolute monarchy:

Police to enforce Ramadan rules

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

POLICE will be on high alert from tomorrow to ensure people do not breach a ban on eating, drinking or smoking in public during the fasting hours of Ramadan.

Patrols will be stepped up across the country to catch violators, who could be jailed for up to a year or fined BD100.

“Security forces have the power to arrest Muslims and non-Muslims who are found eating in public during the fasting hours,” said an Interior Ministry spokesman.

Smoking, eating and drinking in public is not allowed from sunrise to sunset.

The spokesman explained police have the power to arrest offenders, who will be fined and referred to the Public Prosecution.

This enforcement of religious rules by the police may please local Al-Qaedaish salafists. While the royal police will crack down on commoners breaking Ramadan rules, they, being royal police, will certainly not lift one little finger against royals breaking Ramadan rules. Like the Bahraini royal prince who was drunk and disorderly aboard an airplane during Ramadan.

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