Bahrain dictatorship jails human rights defender Nabeel Rajab


This video says about itself:

Bahrain re-arrests top human rights activist Nabeel Rajab

13 June 2016

A prominent human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, has been arrested, his family members said on social media. Rajab led numerous protests during the Arab Spring and repeatedly criticized the Bahraini government on Twitter.

From Human Rights First in the USA:

Time for Washington to Act as U.S. Ally Bahrain Targets Human Rights Defenders

By Brian Dooley

June 13, 2016

Over the last few days the Bahraini government eliminated any remaining doubt about the direction it is moving on human rights.

After forcing prominent dissident Zainab Al Khawaja into exile last week, on Saturday it prevented a group of human rights activists from attending the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, and today took leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab from his home in an early morning raid.

This latest attack on civil society comes just as the State Department is about to release its long-overdue report on how well the Bahraini regime is doing on implementing human rights reform. It’s hard to see why administration officials missed the February 1 deadline and still haven’t sent the report Congress asked for. The situation isn’t that complicated—the Bahraini authorities have carried out only a small handful of the 26 recommendations they promised to fulfill in 2011, and in recent weeks have intensified their attacks on human rights activists.

Rajab was arrested a few hours ago and is said to be held at Riffa police station. It’s unclear if he will be released, if fresh charges are to be brought against him, or old ones resurrected to put him back in prison. He has been prevented from leaving the country since he was released from jail a year ago.

Over the weekend, half a dozen other activists were also prevented from attending the U.N. Human Rights Council. One of them, Ebtisam Alseagh, told me: “I went to the airport on Saturday the passport officer prevented me from traveling and said I should ask at the Ministry of the Interior. So I went the next day but they said there was no note in their security files preventing me from traveling,” she said. “So a few hours later I tried to leave Bahrain by road via Saudi Arabia but again I was stopped at the border without any explanation.”

Another, Hussain Radhi, told me a similar story: “I went to the airport Saturday night to go to Geneva for the human rights council. The passport officer said I couldn’t travel—he said he couldn’t tell me why. Then Sunday I tried to leave via the causeway to Saudi Arabia and was stopped again. It’s clear the authorities don’t want activists going to Geneva.”

Today the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra’ad Al-Hussain, again criticized Bahrain’s regime for its human rights record, rightly noting that “Repression will not eliminate people’s grievances; it will increase them.”

But Bahrain’s ruling family is clearly past caring what the international community, including its allies in Washington and London, say in statements of concern.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa, a senior royal, dismissed the U.N. High Commissioner’s comments in a tweet that said “We won’t waste our time answering a powerless commissioner.”

Bahrain’s impunity continues also because there are too many American and British officials who are willing to believe evidence of fake reform.

A year ago the State Department even thought it was a good idea to lift holds on arms sales to Bahrain’s military, citing “meaningful progress on human rights.” Such a hopelessly naive analysis does nothing to deter the dictatorship, which earlier this month increased the jail sentence for peaceful opposition leader Shiekh Ali Salman from four to nine years.

What’s clearly needed now are consequences for these repressive acts.

Congress is considering bipartisan legislation which would ban the sale of small arms to Bahrain’s security forces until real human rights reform has been achieved. It won’t solve all Bahrain’s problems but it’s one tangible way for Washington to show it’s finally prepared to stand with Bahrain’s civil society.

Bahrain’s interior ministry announced last week that the ruling Sunni monarchy had decided to strip top Shiite Muslim cleric Ayatollah Isa Qassim of his citizenship. It is part of a broader crackdown on all opposition: here.

A BAHRAIN court issued an order yesterday for the dissolution of the Al-Wefaq opposition group that led 2011’s anti-monarchy protests: here.

Bahrain dictatorship kills teenager again


This video shows the 5 April 2016 funeral of Bahraini teenager Ali Abdul Ghani, killed by the dictatorial regime.

From Global Voices:

Bahrain’s Formula 1 Grand Prix Ends in Tragedy: Teen Killed in Police Arrest

Posted 5 April 2016 18:48 GMT

Behind the fireworks, shiny racing cars and celebrations of the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain, 17-year-old Ali Abdul Ghani was gasping for his last breath. As Nico Rosberg, the race’s winner, celebrated his victory, the young man, who was on the run, and sentenced to five years in prison, was probably already dead.

The teenager had sustained serious injuries as he was running away from security forces and masked men who attempted to arrest him. This all took place in a neighboring village to the Bahrain International Circuit just as the massive event was launched there on the March 31. ..

Yesterday, Abdul Ghani’s death was announced and today thousands marched in the village of Shahrakan, where he was buried.

From Cambridge News in England:

UK Government criticised over human rights stance following death of Cambridge student Giulio Regeni

April 05, 2016

Ministers are giving a clear impression that the UK is increasingly putting trade and security above human rights concerns, MPs warned, citing the murder of Cambridge student Giulio Regeni as a key example.

There was “plainly a perception” that the issue had been downgraded in the Government’s dealings with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee said.

The omission of Egypt and Bahrain from a Foreign Office list of countries requiring special attention helped foster the idea it “has become more hesitant in promoting and defending international human rights openly and robustly”, it said.

Last year, the FCO’s most senior civil servant made a frank admission to MPs that human rights “is not one of our top priorities” and that the “prosperity agenda is further up the list”.

From politics.co.uk:

Tuesday, 5 April 2016 1:33 PM

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, is delighted at the news that a Bahraini teachers’ trade union leader has finally been released from prison.

Mahdi Abu Dheeb, President of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA), was arrested in 2011 for nothing more than his commitment to organising and representing the interests of teachers and calling for quality education for all children and young people in Bahrain.

The NASUWT has been working closely with the BTA and campaigning with other partners, including Amnesty International and Education International, to press for Mahdi’s release and to call on the Bahraini authorities to respect human and trade union rights.

The NASUWT congratulates its members for their support for the campaign to secure Mahdi’s release.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“While the news that Mahdi has finally been released is wonderful, the fact remains that he has lost the last five years of his life and been subjected to repeated abuse and torture while in prison simply for doing nothing more than organising and representing the interests of teachers, and calling for quality education for all children and young people in Bahrain.”

Bahrain frees female activist and toddler son: here.

The following is an open letter signed by 11 international NGOs addressed to US President Barack Obama to help free jailed human rights defenders in the Gulf prior to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) being held in Saudi Arabia on 21 April 2016: here.

Still human rights violations in Bahrain


This video says about itself:

Bahrain’s Grand Prix Sparks Human Rights Protests

19 April 2015

Formula 1’s annual Bahrain Grand Prix opened April 17 to global fanfare, but demonstrators in the small Gulf kingdom off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia have been protesting the motorsports event for weeks, accusing Formula 1’s management of ignoring longstanding human rights abuses in the country.

This year’s race comes at an awkward time for Bahrain’s ruling al Khalifa family. On April 2, Nabeel Rajab — one of the country’s most prominent human rights activists — was arrested on charges of insulting the kingdom. VICE News was with Rajab shortly before his arrest, when he accused Western governments of turning a blind eye to Bahraini government abuse.

Back in London, activists continue to rally against Britain’s conduct in Bahrain. VICE News met up with members of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy as they protested the arrival of Prince Nassar bin Hamad al Khalifa — nicknamed the “Playboy Prince” — who has been accused of being involved with the torture of political prisoners.

Watch “Six Months in Jail for a Tweet: Bahrain Update

Watch “Bahrain: An Inconvenient Uprising

Read “Bahrain Arrests Human Rights Champion Nabeel Rajab for ‘Harming Civil Peace’

Pro Human Rights Activists Slam Formula One in Bahrain: here.

From Human Rights First in the USA:

April 04, 2016

Washington, D.C. – In advance of Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Bahrain this week, Human Rights First today called on Kerry to publicly raise concerns over the Bahraini government’s continued human rights abuses, including the targeting and imprisonment of human rights activists and peaceful dissidents. The secretary’s visit precedes President Obama’s participation in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia later this month.

This week secretary of State John Kerry visits one of Washington’s repressive Gulf allies, Bahrain, three weeks before President Obama meets Gulf monarchs at a summit in Saudi Arabia. Bahrain is a long-term Washington military ally and hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet but violently suppresses peaceful political dissent. Its leading human rights activists are targeted, forced into exile, or jailed: here.

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) alongside the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) and the Justice Human Rights Organization(JHRO) call for an immediate and impartial investigation into the death of 17-year-old Ali Abdulghani after he died from injuries sustained during his arrest by Bahraini security forces: here.

Britain: Foreign Office appears to have ‘deprioritised’ human rights, say MPs. Foreign Office sent the wrong signal by failing to place Egypt and Bahrain on list of human rights priority countries, says committee: here.

Human rights work has been downgraded by Foreign Office, say MPs. Select committee criticises foreign secretary Philip Hammond in report raising concerns about changing priorities: here.

The Foreign Office Needs to Raise the Profile of Human Rights, Says Foreign Affairs Committee: here.

Business interests trump human rights, laments Britain’s Foreign Affairs Committee: here.

[British] Government accused of prioritising trade over human rights: here.

Tory ministers accused of putting foreign trade deals before human rights: here.

Stopping the rainbow flag being flown over the Foreign Office and embassies during Gay Pride events undermines efforts to promote human rights, MPs have warned. William Hague allowed the international symbol to be raised atop his Whitehall headquarters as Foreign Secretary in 2014 but the practice ended when Philip Hammond took over the role: here.

The Foreign Office has been accused of not taking human rights issues seriously enough: here.

Bahraini government violates human rights, British government helps


This video says about itself:

Bahrain‘s UK-funded judicial system fails to improve, torture continues

15 February 2016

Continuing torture and mistreatment of detainees – those are the findings of reports on Bahrain by leading human rights groups.

In 2015, the UK government gave more than 2-million pounds to Bahrain to help with reforms.

British commandos training Bahraini armed forces to use sniper rifles. Exclusive: Human rights campaigners outraged after accusing regime of targeting protesters during Arab Spring: here.

British forces are providing training to Bahrain’s armed forces on using sniper rifles, a report says, amid Manama’s heavy-handed crackdown on peaceful anti-regime protests: here.

I hope this letter finds its way out of this prison in Bahrain. I sit here in the dark in prison cell 19, I look past my baby at the shining prison bars. This is a new prison, new walls, new paint and new metal bars, by Zainab Alkhawaja: here.

Bahrain: Six Suspects Sentenced 7-10 Years in Prison over Burning Tires: here.

Bahrain court sentenced five citizens to 45 years in prison, stripped their nationalities: here.

Insight – Bahrain punishes opponents by revoking their citizenship: here.

Amnesty International is calling on the Bahraini authorities to mark the country’s staging of the Grand Prix this weekend by immediately and unconditionally releasing all prisoners of conscience held in the country: here.

Tweet to secure Bahraini teacher’s freedom: here.

Bahrain Institute raises concerns of human rights abuse with FIA. Bird: ‘Human rights violations have been committed during F1 race’. Letter to FIA claims governing body has not done enough to address the issue: here.

Britain will only criticise the repressive regimes of its Middle Eastern allies behind closed doors. It is not enough: there must be public condemnation too: here.

Bahraini human rights violations continuing


This video says about itself:

Zainab Al-Khawaja: On the Front Line in Bahrain

12 December 2011

Interview with Bahrain human rights defender Zainab Al-Khawaja, daughter of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja who was the former Front Line Defenders Protection Coordinator for the Middle East & North Africa. Zainab, known on Twitter as AngryArabiya, talks about family, human rights, Abdulhadi and the difficulties of struggling for human rights in Bahrain.

From The Intercept:

Imprisoned With Her Baby, Bahraini Activist Is Victim of U.S. Silence, Sister Says

Murtaza Hussain

March 22 2016, 4:03 p.m.

LAST MONDAY, Bahraini security forces arrested prominent human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja and her 15-month-old son.

The arrest came on the fifth anniversary of a Saudi military intervention that crushed an uprising by Bahrain’s Shiite majority and marked a grim milestone in the country’s crackdown on dissidents.

Al-Khawaja was taken into custody to serve a prison term that could run between one and three years after being found guilty in 2014 of charges related to the uprising.

Bahraini Activist Urges U.S. To Pay Attention To Country’s Rights Abuses. NPR’s Robert Siegel talks to Maryam al-Khawaja, a human rights activist from Bahrain. Last week, al-Khawaja’s sister was arrested for what Maryam calls “exercising her right to free expression”: here.

Bahraini authorities should immediately release the human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja. Police detained al-Khawaja on March 14, 2016, to serve five sentences totalling three years and one month, four of which violate her right to free expression and one of which resulted from an unfair trial: here.

Bahraini human rights violations update


Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja with her son Abdulhadi, 1, and daughter Jude, 6 (Photo credit: Gulf Center for Human Rights/Maryam al-Khawaja)

U.S. quiet as ally Bahrain imprisons human rights activist with her infant for tearing up photo of king. Rights groups condemn the arrest of Zainab al-Khawaja and U.S. inaction, while State Dept. refuses to say anything: here.

18 March 2016 – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today said it is deeply troubled by the arrest on Monday in Bahrain of the social media activist and human rights defender, Zainab Al Khawaja, who was detained along with her one-and-a-half year old son: here.

UN expert calls on Bahrain to release woman rights defender and stop persecuting defenders: here.

Bahrain must immediately release Zainab Al-Khawaja, by Index on Censorship: here.

Bahrain: Stop Deportations of Nationals. Unlawful Interference With Family Life: here.