Bahrain government, stop repression, Amnesty says

This video is called Bahrain, capital of torture.

From Amnesty International:

13 August 2013

Bahrain: End crackdown on peaceful demonstrations

The Bahraini authorities must not crack down on mass anti-government protests scheduled for tomorrow said Amnesty International. The organization fears that new legislation introduced last week will be used to legitimize the use of force to quash peaceful protests.

“The people of Bahrain have the right to express their views freely and to protest peacefully without the threat of violence,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

“For years the authorities in Bahrain have shamelessly sought to stifle freedom of expression, taking increasingly drastic steps to stamp out dissent with complete disregard for international law.”

Demonstrators plan to hold major rallies across Bahrain on Wednesday calling for an end to repression and for genuine political reforms.

On Monday, Bahrain’s Prime Minister, Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, warned that any attempts to destabilize the country will be dealt with harshly. He accused anti-government protesters of seeking to topple the government.

In the past two weeks a series of draconian decrees ordered by the King of Bahrain have been introduced, tightening the 2006 counter-terrorism law in a bid to suppress dissent.

These measures included a ban on all public gatherings and demonstrations in the capital city of Manama. Parents of anyone under 16 years of age who takes part in a demonstration will receive a written warning from the Ministry of Interior. They could face a prison term or be fined for a repeat offence.

“These draconian new measures are disgraceful. National security must not be used as an excuse to sanction the repression of peaceful protests,” said Philip Luther.

Sporadic opposition protests have continued in Bahrain in recent weeks. Security forces have used live ammunition and tear gas to deter demonstrators and conducted mass arrests of activists.

In a move to silence critics, Bahrain’s authorities have arrested journalists, photographers, bloggers and others active on social media networks in recent days.

Hussain Hubail, a 20-year-old cameraman, and Mohammad Hassan Sudayf, a 26-year-old blogger and translator, were arrested separately on 31 July. They were reportedly tortured when they were held incommunicado in the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID). Mohammad Hassan Sudayf’s lawyer, ‘Abdul-‘Aziz Moussa, later tweeted that he had seen signs of torture on his client and revealed the charges against both detainees. Because of that, he too has been detained.

The organization also fears that international journalists could be barred from accessing the country to cover the demonstrations. A journalist working for Al-Jazeera was prevented from entering Bahrain from Qatar on 7 August.

Since February 2011 when mass anti-government protests began in Bahrain the human rights situation in the country has deteriorated sharply. Security forces have repeatedly used excessive force against protesters. Scores of opposition activists have been arrested and tried before military courts. Many have been tortured in detention. Human rights activists have also been jailed for their work.

Bahrain: Implementation of even more draconian measures against fundamental freedoms: further risks for human rights defenders: here.

Bahraini forces on Tuesday used barbed wire to cage in entire villages one day ahead of a banned anti-government rally scheduled to take place outside the US embassy, activists said: here.

Journalists arrested in Bahrain as Shia population protests its Sunni monarchy. Authorities in bid to prevent reporting of mass protests demanding democratic rights in the island kingdom: here.

In Bahrain today, authorities used barbed wire to surround villages ahead of a mass protest planned near the US embassy tomorrow. According to local media and witnesses on the ground posting to social media, security forces are fencing off the villages and residents will be forced to cross through police checkpoints, risking possible arrest. Wednesday’s protest is organized by Bahrain’s Tamarod campaign, which takes its name from the movement in Egypt. The protest has been banned by the government. During the nearly two and a half years of protests in the country, human rights groups have raised concern about access to medical attention, as hospitals have become militarized and some hospital staff have been arrested and jailed. For more we’re joined by Maryam Al-Khawaja, acting president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights: here.

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