Bahrain regime bans US observer from witch trial

This video says abouty itself:

Julian Assange‘s The World Tomorrow: Nabeel Rajab & Alaa Abd El-Fattah

8 May 2012

In the fourth episode of The World Tomorrow, Julian Assange speaks with two leading Arab revolutionaries in the middle of conflict, Alaa Abd El-Fattah from Egypt and Nabeel Rajab from Bahrain.

Alaa Abd El-Fattah is a long time Egyptian blogger, programmer and political activist. His parents were human rights campaigners under Anwar Sadat; his sister Mona Seif became a Twitter star during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, and is a founder of the No Military Trials for Civilians group formed under the post-Mubarak military junta.

El-Fattah was imprisoned for 45 days in 2006 for protesting under the Mubarak regime, and released after “Free Alaa” solidarity protests in Egypt and around the world. In 2011, from abroad, El-Fattah helped route around Mubarak’s internet blockade.

Nabeel Rajab is a lifelong Bahraini activist and critic of the Al Khalifa regime. … Rajab has agitated for reform in Bahrain since his return from university in 1988.

Along with the Bahraini-Danish human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, he helped establish the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights in 2002.

Rajab is reasonably new to the limelight — becoming a face for the Bahrain uprising of February 14 2011, after the sit-in at Pearl Roundabout. Since then, he has been a public face for the revolution, waging a social media war on Twitter with PR companies working for the regime.

After al-Khawaja was imprisoned, he led protests for his release. He has endured beatings, arrests and legal harrassment for engaging in pro-democracy demonstrations. On Saturday 5th of May, he was arrested at Manama airport, and charged the next day with encouraging and engaging in “illegal protests.” Nabeel Rajab remains in detention at the time of broadcast.

From AFP news agency today:

Bahrain Court Bars U.S. Observer from Activist’s Tria

The United States was Tuesday seeking an explanation from Bahraini authorities after a US embassy observer was expelled from the trial of a prominent rights activist.

A representative of the U.S. embassy was asked to leave Monday’s court hearing for Shiite activist Nabeel Rajab, a State Department official confirmed.

“We are seeking additional clarification from the Bahraini government as to why she was not allowed to observe the proceedings,” deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

“We believe that an essential element of promoting national reconciliation is ensuring the confidence of all Bahrain’s citizens and our government’s commitment to due process and the rule of law.”

The U.S. has already expressed concern that the Bahraini court refused to free Rajab even though he was eligible for early release after serving two-thirds of a two-year sentence.

Rajab was arrested in the wake of the Sunni monarchy’s crackdown on a month of Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding political reforms and jailed for taking part in “unauthorized” protests.

His sentence was later reduced on appeal to two years from an initial three and according lawyers and right groups he had been eligible for early release late last month.

Bahrain Spotlight: Leading Activist Said Yousif “I’ve Been Forced Into Exile”: here. And here.

Bahrain’s violent repression of its people confirms that authoritarian regimes are more than capable of dealing with political unrest. But don’t be fooled, says Quinn Mecham. The Kingdom’s tenuous ‘ruling bargain’ has been rocked like never before: here.

19 thoughts on “Bahrain regime bans US observer from witch trial

  1. NATO Deputy Secretary General to visit Bahrain

    05/12/2013 | 04:21 PM | Gulf News

    تصغير الخطتكبير الخط

    BRUSSELS, Dec 5 (KUNA) — NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow will visit the Kingdom of Bahrain from Friday till Sunday to participate in the 9th IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) Regional Security Summit, “The Manama Dialogue.” During his visit, Vershbow will meet with several high level officials, said NATO in a brief statement on Thursday.

    Bahrain is a member of NATOs Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) which includes Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.

    The ICI is an initiative launched during NATO’s 2004 Istanbul summit. During this summit, NATO leaders decided to elevate the Alliances Mediterranean Dialogue to a genuine partnership and to launch the ICI with selected countries in the broader region of the Middle East.
    The initiative is an offer to engage in practical security cooperation activities with states throughout the Middle East. (end) nk.rk KUNA 051621 Dec 13NNNN


  2. Activist urges US to press ‘ruthless’ Bahrain

    By Jo Biddle (AFP) – 14 hours ago

    Washington — In 2011 Reda al-Fardan watched in horror as Bahraini troops plowed down protestors camped at a Manama roundabout. Now he is among Shiite activists urging greater pressure on the monarchy to implement long-promised reforms.

    “It’s a moral choice,” Fardan said, after meeting in Washington with top Obama aide Susan Rice to urge the United States to throw its weight behind activists.

    His NGO, Bahrain Watch, is calling for a transparent, accountable government in the nation ruled by the Sunni Khalifa dynasty since the late 18th century, amid fears of a dangerous and growing sectarian divide.

    Fardan, 29, grew up in the western Shiite coastal village of Karzakan, and witnessed how the tumult caused by the Arab spring unleashed decades of anger against failure to introduce democratic reforms.

    Protests launched on February 14, 2011 led to the Manama sit-in, where Fardan saw Bahraini troops first unleash rubber bullets and tear gas, and followed a few weeks later by Saudi tanks.

    “We all know that the government is ruthless and brutal, but seeing it first hand, just each day you see this again and again… things become emotional.”

    Around 90 people have died in the protests which have now simmered for almost three years, and about 2,500 people are believed to remain in jail.

    Bahrain Watch is leading a campaign called “Stop the Shipment” amid fears a South Korean company, DaeKwang Chemical, is considering supplying some 1.6 million rounds of tear gas to Bahrain — more than the island’s entire 1.2 million population.

    Fardan and other rights activists allege tear gas is used indiscriminately in Shiite villages, with soldiers coming at night and firing into the windows of homes to punish any sign of protest on the streets.

    This has been denied by the authorities in Manama.

    Last year, the New York-based rights group Physicians for Human Rights documented reports of women miscarrying after frequently being exposed to tear gas, as well as cases of deaths from respiratory illnesses.

    The US has stopped shipments of tear gas to Bahrain, but Fardan said he appealed to US national security advisor Rice on Wednesday to “put pressure on their allies not to cooperate with the Bahraini government.”

    It does have an effect if the US tells South Korea not to ship the supplies, he said.

    “That would give a message to the government,” insisted the Cambridge University-educated chemical engineer, who since 2012 has lived in France with his Sunni Algerian-Pakistani wife.

    “What they need to do is to take the moral stance, there is no other way about it. I know there are US interests, but they need to understand the longer this conflict within the country happens… it is a breeding ground for extremism.”

    The United States has leased a naval base from Bahrain since the former British protectorate won independence in 1971 which today is the strategic headquarters for the US Fifth Fleet.

    In a speech to a conference organized by Human Rights First in Washington, Rice said: “We serve both our principles and our security by pressing for national reconciliation between the government and the opposition.

    “Through concrete actions, including withholding portions of our military assistance, we’re urging the government to lift restrictions on civil society.”

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visits Bahrain later this week, and watchdog Reporters Without Borders also called on him to raise the issue of freedom of information.

    In a letter to Hagel, the group highlighted the cases of seven photographers and bloggers detained for publishing images and information on blogs and websites criticizing the government crackdown.

    Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved.


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