Bahrain absolute monarchy news update

This video is called Jailed for a Tweet: Interview with Nabeel Rajab. It says about itself:

21 October 2014

Nabeel Rajab is a human rights activist awaiting trial in Bahrain, one of the West’s favorite dictatorships. Three years after the Arab Spring, protests there are still being violently repressed, and Rajab now faces up to three years in jail — for a tweet. VICE News spoke to him a few weeks before his latest arrest.

Read More: Bahrain’s Human Rights Activist Faces Jail Time — for a Tweet.

From the FIDH human rights organisation:

2 March 2015

Bahrain: Summoning of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR)

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the summoning of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and FIDH Deputy Secretary General, to Hamad Town police station.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Bahrain.

Bahrain: Ruling on Nabeel Rajab appeal set for March 15. Index on Censorship calls on the Bahraini authorities to halt the harassment of Nabeel Rajab and drop all charges: here.

Tell US ally Bahrain to release my husband. Hussain Jawad, human rights activist and loving father, should not be arrested and tortured for his work: here.

This video is called Bahrain: A System of Injustice.

From Techdirt:

Surveillance Software Company Gamma Found To Have Violated Human Rights; Receives Unprecedented Slap On The Wrist

from the critical-decisions dept

As Techdirt has reported on the increasingly active world of commercial spyware, one name in particular has cropped up several times: Gamma, with its FinFisher suite of spyware products. In October last year, we reported that Privacy International had filed a criminal complaint against the company with the National Cyber Crime Unit of the UK’s National Crime Agency. There’s no update on that move, but it seems that a parallel action has had more success (pdf):

British-German surveillance company Gamma has been condemned by a human rights watchdog for its failure to adhere to human rights and due diligence standards, after a two year investigation into the company’s sale of surveillance technology to Bahrain.

Here’s what Privacy International says was happening in Bahrain:

The complaint alleged that Gamma sold its notorious FinFisher intrusion software product to Bahrain as early as 2009, after which time it was used by the Bahraini government to violate the human rights of three Bahraini nationals and human rights activists, Ala’a Shehabi, Husain Abdulla and Shehab Hashem.

You’re probably wondering what the penalty is if you are found in breach of human rights in this way — clearly a serious matter. Well, here it is:

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s UK National Contact Point (“”CP”) concluded today that Gamma International should make changes to its business practices in order to ensure that in the future it respects the human rights of those affected by the surveillance technologies it sells.

Yes, you are told to do better next time. However, looking at things more positively, Privacy International points out:

Today’s decision is the first time that the OECD has found a companies selling surveillance technologies to be in violation of human rights guidelines, and one of the most critical decisions ever issued by the OECD. In it, the NCP sets out in strong terms that Gamma has no human rights policies and due diligence processes that would protect against the abusive use of its products.

In other words, just as with the recent court victories against the UK government over its surveillance activities, what’s important here is not so much the punishment — or lack of it — as the fact that for the first time a company selling invasive surveillance tools was condemned in this way. At the very least, it puts such companies on notice that they are being watched and will be hauled up before these kind of bodies for public shaming. Well, it’s a start.

This music video from the USA is called John Legend – Glory; featuring Common lyrics.

From Associated Press:

Singer John Legend talks about justice at Bahrain concert


11:12 a.m.

March 2, 2015

MANAMA, Bahrain — Award-winning American singer and songwriter John Legend took to the stage in Bahrain on Monday night, performing to a sold-out crowd of more than 2,000 people despite calls by some activists to cancel the concert due to concerns over human rights abuses in the Gulf Arab nation.

“When you look at me you might see international superstar John Legend, but I’m also the descendant of slaves… but we fought for change,” he told the concert-goers before singing his Oscar-winning song “Glory,” the anthem for the film “Selma,” which is based on the historic 1965 march in Alabama led by Martin Luther King Jr.

While not addressing the turmoil in Bahrain directly, Legend explained he was at the festival “to celebrate art and its power to bring us together and help us see each other’s humanity.”

“I feel like it’s part of my job to express myself freely and passionately about the issues that I care about,” he said, as the crowd cheered in support.

“A just society is not one built on fear or repression or vengeance or exclusion, but one built on love,” added Legend, who has spoken out in support of freedom of expression and civil rights issues in the United States.

Bahrain, a close U.S. ally that hosts Navy’s 5th fleet, has seen nearly daily protests by members of the Shiite majority demanding a greater say in the Sunni-led monarchy. Several thousand protesters have been jailed and dozens killed in the tiny-island nation over the last four years.

The concert was guarded by anti-riot police vehicles outside the entrance to the historic open-air Arad Fort in Bahrain’s capital.

Several Bahraini activists took to Twitter to urge Legend to boycott the 10th annual Spring of Culture festival, organized by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities.

In a statement to The Independent newspaper before the concert, Legend addressed calls for him to back out of the Bahrain show, and said he has “spent quite a bit of time thinking about human rights, civil rights and other issues of justice.” He said that he felt participating in the conversation was the best way to drive progress.

Bahrain’s leading human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, took a softer stance toward Legend’s visit than others. He told The Associated Press that he is a fan and welcomes Legend to the country, but would also like to introduce him to relatives of political prisoners.

“I am not against any kind of cultural event and I see that the U.S. civil-rights movement is an inspiration to many Bahraini human rights figures“, Rajab said.


John Legend risked the wrath of authorities in Bahrain by calling for change during his controversial gig in the country on Monday (02Mar15).

The All of Me hitmaker performed to a sold-out crowd of around 2,000 on Monday night (02Mar15) as part of the Spring of Culture festival in Arad Fort.

Legend previously came under fire from campaigners who insisted the star should boycott the government-backed event over alleged human rights abuses in the Middle Eastern nation, but he refused to cancel the show.

During the concert, the singer performed Oscar-winning track Glory from civil rights movie Selma, and he compared the current struggle in Bahrain to the fight for rights in the U.S. led by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1950s and 1960s.

He told the audience, “When you look at me, you may see the international superstar John Legend, but I am also the descendant of slaves… But we fought for change.

“I wrote this song (Glory) for a film called Selma that… depicts the epic struggle for civil rights, justice and equality led by Dr. Martin Luther King 50 years ago… We believe that change is possible because we have seen it happen before… A just society is one built not on fear or repression or vengeance or exclusion, but one built on love… We continue to fight in America to move toward this just society and we pray the same for the people of Bahrain. And for those who stand for justice, accountability, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom to organise without fear of retribution, please know that I stand with you.

“The struggle may not be easy. Some have already paid the ultimate sacrifice to make this vision a reality. But I believe there is a brighter future ahead. And, one day when the glory comes, it will be ours.”

While no incidents were reported at Legend’s concert, there was a heavy police presence at the event and anti-riot vehicles were posted at the entrance to the open-air venue.

Hussain Jawad’s detainment and torture highlights Britain’s shameless stance on Bahraini rights. The UK has not only failed to issue meaningful condemnation of the Gulf state’s abuse, it has significantly deepened its alliance with Manama: here.

9 thoughts on “Bahrain absolute monarchy news update

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