Bahraini minor shot, jailed without charges and medical care


This video says about itself:

Maryam Al Khawaja on Bahrain‘s “inconvenient revolution”

22 Feb 2014

On the anniversary of the third year of protests in Bahrain, Maryam Al Khawaja, a Bahraini human rights activist, discusses the continuing stalemate with the pro-democracy movement, the conditions of a purported 3,000 political prisoners, including her own family members, and the geopolitical realities of the what she calls the inconvenient revolution. Video and interview by Multimedia Journalist Preethi Nallu with The Atlantic Post.

From the Bahrain Center for Human Rights:

9 March, 2014

Bahrain: Urgent Appeal: Minor Shot by Police detained without Charges and Without Access to Adequate Medical Care

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is seriously concerned about the health and well being of Sadeq Jaffar AlAsfoor, 17 year-old, who has been in detention since the 8th of January 2014. AlAsfoor, who was shot at time of arrest, reported that he is experiencing pain in his stomach to the extent that he is unable to eat, but his condition is being ignored by the authorities.

On Wednesday, 08 January 2014, AlAsfoor was visiting a released prisoner in the village of Markh, Bahrain with three others. Witnesses reported that they heard the authorities open fire with live ammunition on the four young men as they left. All four of them were subjected to enforced disappearance, with one of the victims, Fadhel Abbas, reported dead 18 days after the incident (read BCHR report on http://bahrainrights.org/en/node/6727).

Following this incident, AlAsfoor was subjected to enforced disappearance for over 15 days, and his family were not certain if their son was alive, despite making inquiries at the public prosecution and the police station. His father was told that there are no criminal cases lodged against Sadiq in the police electronic system.

His family was finally allowed to briefly see him at the prisoner’s clinic of the Ministry of the Interior, on Friday January 24, 2014. The visit took place with security presence and with restrictions on their talk limited to his medical condition. Sadeq AlAsfoor’s family was made aware that he was injured in his kidneys, stomach, and back. It was not clear how many bullets were removed from his body.

On 20 February 2014, AlAsfoor received detention order of 37 days in custody pending investigation. He was moved on the same day to the Dry Docks prison despite his injury and need for proper medical care. The lawyer appointed by the family in this case has not been able to contact Alasfoor to date or to get concurrent information on his charges.

AlAsfoor’s family visited him on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, at the Dry Docks prison and they reported that he appeared fatigued. He complained to his family about bad prison conditions.

On the 05th of March 2014, AlAsfoor contacted his family via telephone and informed them that he is experiencing severe stomach pain. AlAsfoor stated that he requested to be transferred to the hospital, but was informed that he was put on a wait list. He reported that the pain was so intense that he is unable to eat. He added that he was having difficulty walking because of problems with his leg, and that on a previous visit to the prison clinic, the doctor ignored AlAsfoor’s reports of stomach pain.

The BCHR is seriously concerned about the health and well being of Sadeq Jafar AlAsfoor, who is detained without any clear charges, particularly considering the reports of lack of medical care in prisons that has led to deaths in custody the last being Jaffar AlDurazi who passed away last month.

Based on the above, the BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other close allies and relevant institutions to apply pressure on the Government of Bahrain to:

Immediately and unconditionally release Sadiq AlAsfoor along with all other prisoners who are held on politically motivated charges because of the ongoing popular protests for freedom and democracy.

Immediately allow access to adequate medical treatment for all prisoners, political and not political, as stated in Article (22) of the “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: “Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.”

As the world celebrates the International Women’s Day on March 8th, the Bahraini women are subjected to various forms of persecution and oppression and that has not stopped since February 14, 2011. Early 2014, Asma Hussein passed away after witnessing a terrifying home raid by the security forces, making the number of female martyrs to around 31 since 2011: here.

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Bahrain people keep fighting for democracy


This video is called ‘Night raids, torture, sham trials a daily reality in Bahrain‘ – human rights activist.

From Amnesty International:

13 February 2014

Bahrain: Fears of violent crackdown ahead of third anniversary protests

There are fears that the Bahraini authorities may use violence to quash planned demonstrations on 14 February, said Amnesty International, when thousands are expected to take to the streets to mark the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising.

“The authorities’ relentless repression of dissent continues unabated – with security forces repeatedly using excessive force to quash anti-government protests,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Scores of people, including dozens of children have been detained for participating in peaceful protests over the last year. Many of them alleged that they were tortured in detention. Protesters must be allowed to take part in peaceful demonstrations without the fear of reprisal or attack”.

In July 2013 Bahrain’s King issued a draconian decree banning demonstrations, sit-ins and public gatherings in the capital, Manama, indefinitely.

In the three years since the authorities crushed the mass demonstrations of 2011, the human rights situation in Bahrain has continued to deteriorate. Prominent human rights defenders and opposition activists have been rounded up, in many cases merely for calling for peaceful anti-government protests.

Bahrain has witnessed a continuous downward spiral of repression over the past three years, with the space for freedom of expression and assembly rapidly reducing,” said Said Boumedouha.

“The authorities are losing credibility. Repeated promises of reform have been broken. Until concrete steps are taken to show they are serious about respecting its international obligations, it is unlikely Bahrain will make genuine progress on human rights”.

As yet, the authorities have failed to implement key recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in 2011.

Among several children who have been detained for participating in demonstrations in the past year are 10-year-old Jehad Nabeel al-Samee’ and 13-year-old ‘Abdullah Yousif al-Bahrani, who were arrested by riot police on 16 December 2013 during a rally outside Manama. They were charged with “illegal gathering and rioting” and “attacking a police patrol with stones”.

‘Abdullah said that he was beaten, threatened with electric shocks and forced to sign a “confession”. He denied taking part in the march or throwing stones at the police. The boys have been released but will remain under supervision until a verdict is issued in their case.

Many others including journalists and human rights activists have also been targeted.

Ahmad Fardan, a Bahraini photojournalist, was arrested during a raid on his home west of Manama on 26 December 2013. He has been charged with “participating in a public gathering” after attempting to cover a demonstration in the village of Abu Saiba’ as a photographer. He was slapped on the face, and beaten including on his genitals while in custody. Medical examinations revealed he also sustained two broken ribs.

Last week, a two year prison sentenced was upheld against Nabeel Rajab, a prominent human rights defender, for his participation in “illegal gatherings” and for “disturbing public order” between February and March 2012. Another activist Zainab Al-Khawaja was sentenced to four months in prison last month for “destroying government property” after she ripped a picture of the King of Bahrain. She has been in prison serving different sentences for different court cases since February 2013.

Amnesty International believes that both Nabeel Rajab and Zainab Al-Khawaja are prisoners of conscience who have been targeted for their human rights work and is calling for them to be immediately and unconditionally released.

Amnesty International continues to receive reports of torture in detention centres in Bahrain.

“The anniversary’s protests are a test for the authorities to demonstrate internationally that they are committed to protecting human rights. They must allow the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression, association and assembly and release all prisoners of conscience,” said Said Boumedouha.

Failed Promises in Bahrain: Human Rights Violations Linger On: here.

Clashes with police have marked the third anniversary of the Bahrain uprising that had seen numerous human rights violations by the government and wide social discontent of the majority Shia population with the minority ruling Sunni monarchy: here.

Bahrain’s PR sheen can’t hide abuse allegations: here.

Three years after Bahrain joined the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East, human rights defenders are left wondering when the Obama Administration will put action behind its flamboyant 2011 rhetoric about rights, freedom and the rule of law: here.

Bahrainis mark the third anniversary of the pro-reform protest movement which came to be known as the 14 February Coalition, human rights violations continue unabated in the country. While many countries have been quite vocal in condemning atrocities committed against protesters in some countries in the Middle East, when it comes to Bahrain, calls from the West for an end to human rights abuses perpetrated by the Bahraini authorities have been rather muted. The irony is that when similar atrocities were committed in Libya, Egypt and most recently Syria, Western countries and especially the US and UK, heavily criticised the regimes in those countries for using brute force to counter peaceful protests, and for reigning in citizens for expressing their views. Some 122 Bahrainis have since died from torture, lung infections caused by tear gas, and from live ammunition used by the Bahraini security forces. 1,300 Bahrainis have been arrested in connection with their role in the protests and those still in detention have been tortured and denied access to medical care. Hospital doctors and nurses are harassed for treating victims of the protests. Thousands of workers have been dismissed or suspended from their jobs for taking part in the demonstrations: here.

The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) express their deep concern for the on-going targeting of the detained activist and human rights defender Zaynab Al-Khawaja by the Bahraini authorities who continue their efforts to fabricate new charges and issuing new sentences that aim at extending her detention period in prison and preventing her from exercising her peaceful work in the field of human rights: here.

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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.

Qatar dictatorship’s ‘free’ press


This video says about itself:

Qatar Human Rights Official Defends Life Sentence For Poet Who Praised Arab Spring Uprisings

7 Dec 2012

Visit http://www.democracynow.org for the complete transcript, additional reports on this topic, and more information. Watch the independent, global news hour live weekdays 8-9am ET.

Three days after the United Nations climate change conference began here in Doha, a Qatari court sentenced a local poet to life in prison, a move that shocked many activists in the Gulf region and human rights observers. The sentencing of Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami came nearly two years after he wrote a poem titled, “Tunisian Jasmine,” supporting the uprisings in the Arab world. “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites!” al-Ajami wrote. “The Arab governments and who rules them are without exception thieves, thieves!” We speak to his attorney and a member of Qatar‘s National Human Rights Committee.

Qatar. Where thousands of workers die because of slavery-like labour conditions. Where the government jails poets for “insulting the emir” in poems not even mentioning the emir.

Qatar. Where the government has its own “Centre for Press Freedom”.

Translated from ANP news agency in the Netherlands:

Dutchman sacked prematurely at Freedom of the Press Centre Doha

12/03/13, 08:22

Dutchman Jan Cologne was dismissed as head of the Doha Centre for Press Freedom in Qatar, an officially independent institution for promoting press freedom in the Gulf state. Cologne is the second European boss of the media center departing early, local media reported.

His predecessor, the Frenchman Robert Menard, left in 2009, complaining that “he was suffocated by the lack of freedom and independence.”

Qatar is an absolute monarchy in the Gulf of Persia, which is ruled by the al-Thani family. Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Masnad, the mother of the current emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, founded the Centre for Press Freedom in 2007.

This reminds me of George Orwell’s novel 1984. Where there is a Ministry of Love administering torture. And a Ministry of Truth, producing lies in the “Newspeak” language. And a Ministry of Plenty presiding over poverty for most people. And a Ministry of Peace, presiding over perpetual war.

Most real governments today are not as blatantly hypocritical as Orwell’s fictional government of Oceania. They have renamed their Departments of War; not to Department of Peace, too obvious to fool people, but to Department of “Defense”. In the USA; in the UK; in the Netherlands; in Qatar. Qatar‘s Ministry of “Defense” “defends” the Qatari monarchy and supposedly “brings democracy” by bloody wars in Libya and in Syria.

In order to compare the government of Qatar‘s absolute monarchy, we don’t even have to go back in time from 2013 to 1948, when Orwell wrote his novel. We don’t have to go from Qatar all the way to England. Now, today, not far from Qatar, there is the absolute kingdom of Bahrain. This dictatorship which keeps violating human rights, has its own Ministry of Human Rights.

Maybe, the Qatar dynasty wil now make Rupert Murdoch its boss of the Centre for Press Freedom. Murdoch considers Bahrain a model of “freedom”. Murdoch practices absolute freedom for burglary, hacking phones, computers, etc. of the British royal family, murdered English girls, rival journalists, etc. etc. for big corporate media, especially Murdoch’s media, and for Big Government spying agencies.

However, I should warn the Qatari princely family about one thing. Rupert Murdoch tends to quarrel sooner or later with his friends. Like with Silvio Berlusconi. And with Tony Blair.

Egyptian anti-dictatorship poet dies


This is a video about Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm, at a demonstration against the Mubarak dictatorship in 2007.

From Al Jazeera:

Egypt’s veteran poet Ahmed Negm passes away

Negm, whose songs were iconic of the 2011 revolution, was an outspoken critic of Egypt’s former regimes.

Last updated: 03 Dec 2013 08:41

Ahmed Fouad Negm, Egypt’s famous poet, died early on Tuesday in Cairo at the age of 84 after a long battle with illness, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported, citing publisher Mohamed Hashem.

Hashem said Negm’s funeral ceremony will take place at Old Cairo’s famous mosque Al-Hussien, after noon prayers.

Known for his sarcasm and sharp tongue, Negm was a vocal critic of deposed president Hosni Mubarak‘s regime.

His poems had also gotten him jailed by Egypt‘s late president Anwar Sadat, and were banned off state-owned media.

However, the songs he wrote were prevalent in the 2011 uprising.

Revolutionary Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm died yesterday at the age of 84. Netizens from across the Arab world mourn his death: here.

Roque Dalton was the major literary figure and an important political architect of the revolutionary movement in El Salvador and a new film on his life pays due tribute to his creative inspiration, says JOHN GREEN: here.