Bahrain human rights violations continue


This video says about itself:

Jailed for a Tweet: Interview with Nabeel Rajab

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 International Federation for Human Rights :

27 April 2015

Bahrain: Continued judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the continued judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), FIDH Deputy Secretary General and a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Division.

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

New information
BHR 001 / 0415 / OBS 028.3
Arbitrary detention / Judicial harassment
Bahrain
April 27, 2015

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.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the continued judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), FIDH Deputy Secretary General and a member of the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Division.

According to the information received, on April 26, 2015, the Public Prosecution officially charged Mr. Rajab with “disseminating false news in time of war, which may undermine preparations and war operations”, as well as with “openly discrediting a statutory entity”. The Public Prosecution subsequently extended his detention for an additional fifteen days, pending the reception of a report currently prepared by the Ministry of Interior regarding the items seized from Mr. Rajab’s house after his arrest, when the security forces raided his house and seized mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices.

Mr. Rajab was arrested on April 2, 2015 after denouncing the torture of detainees at Jaw Prison and the Saudi-Arabia led coalition air strikes in Yemen via Twitter (see background information).

During a previous hearing at the Prosecutor’s Office, Mr. Rajab was only able to meet with his lawyers a few minutes before the meeting started. The presence of an observer mandated by the Observatory, requested by Mr. Rajab, was denied. The Prosecutor refused to release him pending investigation, despite an existing travel ban against Mr. Rajab. Mr. Rajab’s lawyers were allowed access to his criminal file only after the Public Prosecution decided to extend his detention. However, the lawyers were denied a copy of the file.

Mr. Rajab currently remains in solitary confinement. The Observatory recalls that Mr. Rajab faces additional charges in two other criminal cases, and that the verdict in appeal for one of them is expected on May 4, 2015 (see background information).
The Observatory denounces the continued arbitrary detention of Mr. Nabeel Rajab, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release, as he is targeted solely for his human rights activities.

The Observatory, more generally, urges the Bahraini authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment against Mr. Rajab, and to comply with relevant international human rights standards and instruments, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998.

Background information:

Mr. Rajab has faced continuous judicial harassment for his legitimate human rights work since his first arrest in June 2012. Mr. Rajab was sentenced to three months imprisonment for allegedly libelling the residents of Al Muharraq via several tweets posted on his twitter account. On August 23, 2012, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was acquitted by the Higher Appeal Court.

On August 16, 2012, the Lower Criminal Court sentenced Mr. Nabeel Rajab to three years of imprisonment in relation to three cases related to his participation in peaceful gatherings in favour of fundamental freedoms and democracy.

In December 2012, the Appeals Court reduced the sentence to two years of imprisonment. Mr. Nabeel Rajab completed his sentence and was released in May 2014.

On October 1, 2014, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was summoned by the General Directorate of Anti-corruption and Economic and Electronic Security of the Criminal Investigation Department for “insulting a public institution” via Twitter.

On October 9, 2014, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was informed that the Ministry of Defence had filed a complaint regarding the same tweet. On November 2, 2014, the Third Lower Criminal Court ordered Mr. Rajab’s release but barred him from leaving the country.

On January 20, 2015, the Third Lower Criminal Court sentenced Mr. Nabeel Rajab to six months of imprisonment on charges of “insulting public institutions and the army” via Twitter. Mr. Rajab’s lawyers appealed the sentence.

The trial before the Bahrain Criminal Court of Appeal is continuing and stands adjourned to May 4, 2015.

On February 26, 2015, Mr. Rajab was summoned for investigations in a different case for charges of “inciting hatred towards the regime”. To date, the police investigation is ongoing.

On April 2, 2015, at 4:00 pm, over twenty police cars surrounded Mr. Rajab’s house and policemen arrested him on charges of “spreading false news”. The arrest relates to a tweet from Mr. Rajab denouncing the torture of detainees at Jaw Prison . Mr. Rajab was then sent to the General Directorate of Anti Corruption Economic and Electronic Security to be interrogated.

On April 3, 2015, Mr. Rajab was interrogated in the presence of his lawyers by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) regarding two new charges brought against him. The first charge is “insulting a statutory body” (Article 216 of the Bahraini Criminal Code) referring to the Ministry of Interior in relation to tweets he posted denouncing the torture of detainees at Jaw Prison . The second charge is “disseminating false rumours in time of war” (Article 133 of the Bahraini Criminal Code) in relation to tweets he published about the Saudi-Arabia led coalition air strikes in Yemen. If sentenced on the second charge, Mr. Rajab could be facing up to 10 years imprisonment. Mr. Rajab refused to sign the police minutes of the investigations.

On April 4, 2015, Mr. Rajab was brought before the Public Prosecution, in the presence of his lawyers. The Prosecution ordered seven days detention pending investigation.

On April 5, 2015, security police confiscated all electronics devices belonging to Mr. Rajab and members of his family.

On April 5, 2015, the Court of Appeals held a hearing in the case against Mr. Rajab concerning “insulting statutory bodies”. Though the appeal proceedings had been closed and the verdict hearing had been scheduled for April 15, 2015, the court informed Mr. Rajab’s lawyers on April 4, 2015, that the Court had decided to re-open the case after receiving from the Public Prosecution a “supplementary defence memorandum”. The court handed over a copy of that memo to Mr. Rajab’s lawyers and adjourned the appeal to May, 4, 2015 in order to receive the reply to the Prosecution’s memo. According to Mr. Rajab’s lawyers, no new material arguments or grounds would justify the re-opening of the case.

On April 11, 2015, the prosecution ordered an additional fifteen days in detention for Mr. Rajab.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Bahrain to:

i. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Nabeel Rajab, as he is targeted solely for his human rights activities;

ii. Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Nabeel Rajab and that of all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

iii. Put an end to any act of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Nabeel Rajab and against all human rights defenders in Bahrain;

iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:
– its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” ;
– its Article 6 (c) which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters” ;
– and its Article 12.2 which states that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Bahrain.

Addresses:

• Cheikh Hamad bin Issa AL KHALIFA, King of Bahrain, Fax: +973 176 64 587
• Cheikh Khaled Bin Ahmad AL KHALIFA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tel: +973 172 27 555; Fax : 00973 17 21 05 75; ofd@mofa.gov.bh
• Cheikh Khalid bin Ali AL KHALIFA, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Tel: +973 175 133 00; Fax: +973 175 31 284
• Lt. Gen. Cheikh Rashed bin Abdulla AL KHALIFA, Minister of Interior, Tel: +973 17572222 and +973 17390000. Email: info@interior.gov.bh
• Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations in Geneva, 1 chemin Jacques-Attenville, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, CP 39, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 758 96 50. Email: info@bahrain-mission.ch
• H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Yousif Aldoseri, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the Kingdom of Belgium, Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Avenue Louise 250, 1050 Brussels, Belgium; Fax: 0032 (0) 26472274; E-mail: Brussels.mission@mofa.gov.bh

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Bahrain in your respective countries.

***

Paris-Geneva, April 27, 2015.

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

Bahrain’s crackdown on free speech could inflame sectarian tensions. EU and US must reconsider relations with Manama in light of human rights record: here.

MEPs letter to HR/VP Mogherini on Human Rights violations in Bahrain. On 30 April 2015, 67 members of the European Parliament signed a letter issued by Ms Julie Ward MEP to the attention of Ms Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s High Representative and Vice-President, representing the EU in its Foreign Policy worldwide: here.

Bahrain is ruthlessly crushing dissent and torturing its own citizens, yet Britain is heaping it with praise. The idea peddled by the UK that the country is reforming is a complete myth: here.

The more we learn about Bahrain’s response to the Jaw Prison unrest, the more troubling the picture becomes. The authorities need to allow independent medical access to the prison at once and ensure their access to building 10, where the most serious abuses are alleged to have taken place: here.

Bahrain dictatorship and the European Union


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

From EurActiv.com:

The EU cannot overlook its Human Rights commitments in the East

24/04/2015 – 13:21

The EU has significantly increased its foreign policy activity since the Treaty of Lisbon, establishing itself a power with global influence, write Isabel Cerdá Marcos, Husain Adbulla and Karim Lahidji.

Isabel Cerdá Marcos is an Advocacy Associate at the European Centre for Human Rights. Husain Adbulla is President of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain. Karim Lahidji is President of the International Federation of Human Rights.

The recent Iran talks have proved the EU’s importance as a global player in world politics. As enshrined in the Treaties, the EU is committed to defending and promoting the rule of law, human rights and democracy. This task is particularly necessary in the Middle East region, where many countries are strategic allies for trade and energy, but tend to have a very poor human rights record. Particularly striking is the situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a major ally for the UK and the US, hosting the US Fifth Naval Fleet in the Gulf Region. This small island, strategically placed between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, underwent one of the worst “Arab Spring” revolutions in February 2011 with hundreds killed, imprisoned and tortured by the Bahraini authorities.

Well-known is the case of Nabeel Rajab, a Bahraini human rights defender and president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. On 2 April 2015, Bahraini security forces and police arrested him at his home for peacefully speaking his mind about the human rights situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Nabeel Rajab has been accused of insulting a statutory body (by denouncing acts of torture in Jaw Prison in a piece he published last week) and spreading rumours during wartime (by criticising Bahrain’s involvement in the current conflict in Yemen and the civilian casualties related to the conflict). Nabeel remains under solitary confinement, and for these two charges, Nabeel Rajab faces up to 10 years in prison.

This is not the first time that the government has punished Rajab for exercising his internationally-guaranteed right to free expression. In May 2014, he completed a two-year prison sentence after taking part in peaceful assemblies and protests criminalised by the government. Mr Rajab is currently facing another trial for a previous tweet he wrote in September 2014. His appeal for this 6 months sentence was scheduled for 15 April. However, it took place on 5 April and was then delayed until 4 May, the prosecutor arguing the existence of new evidence under this case. Further, Nabeel’s home was raided that same day and all the electronics in his home (whether his own or not) were seized for evidence.

Nabeel has previously reached out to the EU to seek support for his case and long standing battle for Human Rights in Bahrain. On past occasions, the European External Action Service and the European Parliament have issued formal statements demanding his immediate release, as well as that of others fellow human rights defenders and Bahraini citizens labelled criminals by the Government for peacefully speaking their mind about the human rights violations and democratic deficit in Bahrain. Despite these gross human rights abuses and the blatant injustice they suffer, the EU institutions have not used their full leverage on the matter.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (representing the Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, The Bahrain Center for Democracy and Human Rights and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy), together with the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of FIDH and OMCT have issued a joint statement on the matter. We have also reached out to Ms Mogherini’s office with an official joint letter, to ask for support in our advocacy campaign to free Nabeel and for the EU to officially position itself on the issue, as political leverage from EU institutions is crucial on the matter. ECDHR and FIDH have also jointly reached out to the President of the European Parliament, Mr Schulz, as well as members of the Foreign Affairs committee, the Human Rights subcommittee and the Delegation for Relations with the Arab Peninsula.

Nabeel’s case is just an example of the many injustices committed in Bahrain and in the Gulf Region daily, because they dare to speak out and to defend basic human rights and ideals. Injustice does not stop there; the treatment detainees receive in prisons is inhuman and degrading, and even amounts to grave torture, putting their physical and mental health, as well as the health and security of their relatives, at serious risk.

The European Union can exercise unique political and international pressure on Bahrain and other countries of the Gulf region where human rights are disregarded on a daily basis. The EU’s support is much needed. The Union should step up to its International commitments and keep waving the human rights flag higher and louder.

Bahraini authorities sentenced an Iraqi man to three years in prison on charges including rioting and joining an “unauthorised” protest in the capital Manama, official media reported: here.

Bahrain and the Saudi war on Yemen


This video says about itself:

Yemen: Sanaa’s children protest Saudi-led campaign outside UN building

13 April 2015

A group of Yemeni children gathered outside the United Nations (UN) office in Sanaa, Monday, to protest against the continued Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen. One of the children, Al-Kassim ibn Hussain, condemned the Saudi [royal] family as “filthy and corrupt” and vowed that “they will witness defeat very soon”. Despite the ongoing fighting, protester Kassam al-Gharah swore to continue to smile to show that “we are not a people of hate or animosity”.

From the International Business Times:

Bahrain Grand Prix: War in Yemen will have major repercussions in Arab Gulf and beyond

By Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei

April 17, 2015 12:31 BST

Six children were among the first to die when Saudi Arabia began its war with an air strike against Yemen’s Houthi rebels on March 25.

The actions of Saudi Arabia and its allies – including Egypt, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain – are facilitating a humanitarian crisis in the fractured country.

Yemen was already in a bad enough state when Saudi Arabia declared its intervention. Internally, it was a tinder box and only a week before the war began, Islamic State-aligned terrorists bombed a mosque in Houthi-controlled Sana’a, killing at least 137 people.

For Saudi [Arabia] and its allies to intervene in Yemen is a tragedy upon an already tragically fractured country.

It isn’t the first time Saudi Arabia has intervened in the affairs of one of its neighbours. Just as President Abdrabbuh Mansour fled to Riyadh and (so the Saudis claim) asked for their help, in 2011 the Saudis sent troops into Bahrain, also on the ‘invitation’ of its ruler, where they helped the government forces crush Bahrain’s nascent democratic uprising.

In the four years between these two interventions, Saudi Arabia has also involved itself in the Syrian civil war and joined the coalition against Islamic State, the religious intolerance of which can be directly linked to Saudi Arabia’s own state ideology.

The UK, which under the current government has striven to build economic and military ties with the Gulf (the UAE and Saudi Arabia top the list of importers of British arms, spending over £10bn between them since 2010), has been quietly supportive.

The Foreign Office’s website reveals no statement on Yemen, and the war broke out the week parliament dissolved ahead of the elections, so public statements have been understandably limited.

The only statement I’ve found is on the FCO’s ‘UK in Yemen’ Facebook page which in one paragraph states: “We support the Saudi Arabian military intervention in Yemen following President Hadi’s request for support”, but in another that “the solution to the crisis must be a political one.”

It further argues: “the international community will continue to use diplomatic and humanitarian support to achieve long-term stability, avoid civil war, economic collapse and a deeper humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”

‘There are 2.7 million Shia in Saudi Arabia, making up 12% of the population. Ruled by a Sunni monarchy and under a strict interpretation of Islam, Wahabbism, Shia are often portrayed as heretics or agents of Riyadh’s major rival, Iran.’

Read Orlando Crowcroft’s take on the language of hatred used against Saudi Shia here.

How these statements can be reconciled with each other is anyone’s guess. Saudi Arabia’s war is short-sighted, opportunistic and wholly self-serving. The only thing it will achieve in Yemen is to ruin any chance for stability and accelerate civil war and economic collapse.

As for a “deeper humanitarian crisis” – Yemen is already at the precipice.

Obama told the New York Times last week that the biggest threats facing the Gulf kingdoms “may not be coming from Iran invading. It’s going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries.”

That dissatisfaction is born of the autocratic models of governance in each kingdom. Bahrain, with its active political and rights movements, has already seen that dissatisfaction on the public stage.

Paranoid

The government of Bahrain is so paranoid about political discourse that it has criminalised criticism of the war in Yemen. Human rights defender Nabeel Rajab is the latest victim, and is now in police custody after criticising the human cost of bombing Yemen.

Two politicians were also arrested after their party criticised the war as unconstitutional, which is an indisputable fact. Whether one sees it as an aggressive or defensive war, article 36 of Bahrain’s constitution forbids aggressive wars and requires parliamentary approval for defensive wars, and the latter was not sought in this case.

Bahrain was the first to consider criticism of the war a crime and to act on this criticism, but the other Gulf States will likely treat dissent in the same way. Does the UK remain supportive of this war in spite of its clear humanitarian and rights repercussions in Yemen and in the Gulf?

Saudi Arabia says it is supporting the legitimate government in Yemen. But it is farcical that a dictatorship should be going around deciding which government is legitimate. These are countries which must look to their own problems before they try to ‘help’ others.

The Obama administration did a good thing when they called for Nabeel Rajab’s immediate release, while the UK Foreign Office has made no statement. The US and UK must hold their Gulf allies accountable on all matters. To not do so would be a betrayal of the people of Yemen struggling to survive and to the people of the Gulf struggling for their rights.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei is Director of Advocacy at Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and served six months in prison in Bahrain in 2011.

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: here.

Bahrain, torture and Formula One news


This video says about itself:

Western hypocrisy on human rights for Bahrain

11 February 2012

Maryam Al-Khawaja, of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, warns of a violent crackdown on pro-democracy activists over the coming days amid a media blackout.

Hundreds of anti-government protesters take to the streets in a peaceful rally calling for the release of political prisoners ahead of the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix: video here.

The 2015 Formula One World Racing Championship kicked off in Bahrain on Friday amid opposition protests calling for the event to be cancelled: here.

From the International Business Times:

Bahrain: Dissidents in Jaw Prison ‘subjected to mass torture’ in nightmarish building No. 10

By Gianluca Mezzofiore Senior Foreign News Reporter

April 17, 2015 18:20 BST

A recent riot at the infamous Bahrain’s Jaw Prison, south of capital Manama, where political and criminal prisoners are held, has led to a bloody crackdown with harrowing episodes of mass torture by riot police, according to a human rights group and testimony exclusively seen by IBTimes UK.

Hundreds of prisoners were subjected to tear gas, shot from close range, beaten and rounded up and taken outdoors, where they were stripped naked and left for three days. Then, they were crammed inside a tent for 30 days with no access to toilets or showers. Inmates were called one by one and taken to infamous building number 10, where further torture took place.

Reports of alleged torture and human rights violations come just days after Amnesty International issued a damning 79-page report accusing the Bahraini government of rampant abuse by security forces on dissidents – with documented episodes of torture and mistreatment of detainees, continued jailing of activists and bans on protests in the capital.

They used tear gas and gunshots. One guy was shot at a very close range. Everyone was beaten and asked to stand down”
– Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei

The outbreak of violence started on 10 March due to poor conditions and overcrowding in the prison, whose capacity is 450 but currently contains 1020 prisoners.

A government newspaper reported that the unrest was the result of violence by prisoners after a row between prison guards and three visitors. However, local rights groups said security forces used excessive force against prisoners.

The reaction of the Bahraini government was to bring in the feared riot police, formed by Pakistani and Jordanian guards, which surrounded the main buildings of the prison and then broke inside.

“Then the torture started,” Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of Advocacy at Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, who collected the testimonies, told IBTimes UK. “They used tear gas and gunshots. One guy was shot at a very close range. Everyone was beaten and asked to stand down.”

Then, the prisoners were rounded up, taken outside the prison facility and stripped of their clothes. They also had cold water poured on them. “Riot police used broken table legs and wood bars to beat the prisoners,” Alwadaei said.

Held outside for three days

The inmates were allegedly forced to stay outside for three days, during which they were regularly beaten by the riot police.

“People were called by name and taken to building number 10, where torture was conducted in much more horrific way,” Alwadaei said.

One of the witnesses reported seeing a man with who suffered further injuries to his head after being beaten where the stitches had been placed.

Another prisoner had his nose and leg broken and was subjected to “psychological and physical torture”, according to the transcript of a testimony seen by IBTimes UK. He was also banned from accessing the toilet and had overnight cold water dropped on him while sleeping.

“What is happening now in Jaw prison is even worse than 2011,”Alwadaei said. “We were shocked about the details.”

Families of some inmates at the prison were allowed no contact with them for more than one month, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), which issued a statement earlier in April:

The wife of the human rights activist Naji Fateel said she has not heard from her husband since March 10. On March 24, she attempted to make a scheduled visit but said she was told by a member of prison staff that visits were “suspended indefinitely.” Fateel, who is also held in building 4, is serving a 15-year sentence for allegedly establishing a group that aimed to change the constitution.

The Bahrain’s police media centre at the Ministry of Interior denied any torture allegations when asked by IBTimes UK.

“No, these are all false rumours,” a spokesperson said. “We don’t use torture in Bahraini prisons. These are all lies… who told you this? It’s all lies”.

The testimonies of the alleged violations have been submitted to the UN for breach of international human rights and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Amnesty report

After the crackdown on the pro-democracy uprising in 2011, led by Saudi forces, Bahrain has plunged deeper into sectarian conflict between the wealthy ruling Sunni-al-Khalifa minority and the Shia majority.

King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa has pledged to implement recommendations by an independent commission of inquiry but reforms are progressing slowly and reconciliation talks have stalled. Violence between riot police and protesters is a weekly occurrence.

Decrees approved by Hamad include up to seven years in jail for criticising him. All protests, sit-ins and gatherings in Manama are banned indefinitely.

The Amnesty report documented dozens of cases of detainees being beaten, deprived of sleep and adequate food, burnt with cigarettes, sexually assaulted, electrocuted including on the genitals and burnt with an iron in order to try and force them to “confess” to crimes.

The Amnesty report added: “One such detainee told us he was struck with the claw of a hammer on several parts of his body. Another said he was raped by having a plastic pipe inserted into his anus.”

Formula One Voices Support For Human Rights, Ignores Abuses In Bahrain: here.

Bahrain, Formula One racing and dictatorship


This video says about itself:

The martyr alHuajjairi.. Bahrain’s witness on torture and impunity

3 May 2013

The martyr [medical profesional] AbdulRasoul alHujjairi had disappeared to be found later thrown in a street with scars of brutal torture and assault all over his body.

The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry chaired by international law expert Cherif Bassiouni documented in paragraph number 586 of its report that:

At 06:30, the body of Mr Abdulrasoul AlHujjairi was found in the vicinity of al-Askar Road in the Awali district. He was taken to BDF Hospital where he was pronounced dead. While the exact circumstances leading to this fatality are unclear, reports indicated that the deceased had gone missing around sunset the previous day. He suffered severe injuries all over his body and to his head caused by beatings.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Formula One 2015

Thursday 16 April 2015 00.04 BST

Amnesty warns human rights abuses ‘unabated’ before Bahrain Grand Prix

Amnesty International report details ‘chilling’ crackdown on dissent
• ‘Notion that Bahrain respects freedom of expression is pure fiction’
• Leading Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab arrested for highlighting prison abuse

Formula One back in Bahrain amid heightened rights concerns: here.

Human rights and Formula One: here.

Glitz of Formula One must not divert attention from Bahrain’s jailed journalists: here.

Bahrain Human Rights Abuses: Amnesty International Report Says Country Maintains ‘Chilling Crackdown On Dissent': here.

Government reforms put in place by Bahraini authorities in the wake of widespread anti-government protests four years ago have failed to end serious violations of human rights in the strategically important Gulf nation, Amnesty International said in a report released Thursday: here.

HUMAN rights watchdog Amnesty International accused Bahraini authorities yesterday of continuing rights violations in a “chilling crackdown on dissent”: here.

On Monday 13th April, the Bahraini authorities carried out widespread arrests, some of which have been recognized as arbitrary. The arrests were followed by a statement made by the Minister of Information who said “the Interior Ministry shall face with law any calls or events that attempt to defame the international event and the interests of Bahrain before, during and after the Formula 1 race”. Bahrain is to hold the Formula 1 Grand Prix between the 17th and 19th of April 2015: here.

Bahrain: Constant judicial harassment of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer. The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the constant judicial harassment of Ms. Ghada Jamsheer, Head of the Women’s Petition Committee, an organisation which campaigns for the rights and dignity of women in the Shari’ah family courts: here.

Human rights violations in Bahrain continue


This video is called Bahrain Activist Nabeel Rajab Arrested Over Tweets.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Open Letter from Nabeel Rajab to President Obama

Editor’s note: This letter was written in a Bahraini jail cell by Nabeel Rajab, a leading human rights campaigner in Bahrain who was arrested April 2 after tweeting about torture in the country’s central prison, Jaw. Here is his letter.

April 9, 2015

From: Nabeel Rajab
President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Isa Town Detention Center
Bahrain

Dear President Obama,

I write to you from a Bahraini jail cell, and this message was never meant to go beyond its walls. Even though I have never advocated for violence nor harmed another living soul, I have spent 28 of the last 36 months in a Bahraini prison for actions that can only be counted as crimes in a nation that stifles free expression and criminalizes open assembly. I have documented my government’s use of torture. I have reported on civilian casualties in Yemen. I have held a different opinion than that of a king. In retaliation, I may spend the next ten years of my life in jail.

While my government punishes me for demanding an end to its assault on civil and political rights, other GCC states, especially Saudi Arabia, subject human rights defenders to harsher abuse. Their repression can be seen in the flogging of free speech activist Raif Badawi and the death sentence against the religious scholar and human rights advocate Nimr al-Nimr. Saudi courts even sentenced Raif’s lawyer, Waleed abu al-Khair, to 15 years in prison. We as human rights defenders are targeted for giving voice to the marginalized, people seeking to take the reins of their own destiny; our governments do everything in their power to prevent us from acting upon the best ideals of our conscience.

The message you directed toward your Gulf allies last week laid the foundation for real change. Your words tacitly acknowledged what we in the region understand: only democracy can bring stability to the Middle East. And while democracy may take time to develop, the process cannot begin unless our right to free speech is protected. Right now, our governments divide us along religious lines, preventing us from collectively challenging extremism within our societies. As well, our rulers aggressively punish critics of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. We simply ask, however, for greater democratic participation in our nation’s affairs, and the ability to freely express our contempt for violence and extremism.

I thank your administration for calling for my release, and the release of my fellow human rights defenders. I urge you to defend our right to free speech when you meet with the monarchs of the Gulf, and call for:

The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners;
An end to the criminalization of free speech and expression, including any laws against criticism of government institutions or defamation of a king;
The cessation of all acts of torture and reprisal in GCC detention centers; and
The protection of free and open civil society space capable of fostering long-term stability and growth in the region.

The citizens of Bahrain and her neighbors have extraordinary potential. With unshackled voices, we can build stability and challenge extremism. What we need today is space for tolerance, plurality, and honest dialogue, the foundations of a democratic process that the reprisals against me and my colleagues seek to undermine.

Yours Sincerely,

Nabeel Rajab

Bahrain’s Prison Crisis Deepens: here.

This video says about itself:

Pinay OFW in Bahrain who Asked for Help was Finally Rescued

10 April 2015

Pinay OFW In Bahrain Asking For Help (Abby Luna)

From the South China Morning Post:

Filipino maid ‘beaten and raped‘ is rescued from Bahrain employer after Facebook appeal goes viral

Agence France-Presse in Bahrain

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 April, 2015, 8:05pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 April, 2015, 10:53am

The Philippines rescued a Filipino maid from her employer in Bahrain after she posted a desperate cry for help on her Facebook page.

Staff at the Philippine embassy were alerted to the plight of Abby Luna, who claims she was raped and beaten by her employer’s son, after she posted the video on her Facebook page. The video attracted about 78,000 shares and 19,000 likes.

“The rescue was prompted by the video message… She is now under the care of our embassy,” foreign ministry spokesman Charles Jose said. Philippine embassy officials and staff from Luna’s employment agency picked her up from her employer’s house, Jose said, adding that police were investigating the incident.

Luna’s alleged assailant denied to he attacked her, Ricky Aragon, vice-consul at the Philippine embassy in Bahrain, said.

In the three-minute long video, which appears to have been made on a webcam, a sobbing Luna accused her employer’s “drug addict” son of raping her. She also posted a written appeal for viewers to contact the Philippine embassy on her behalf.

“Help me get out of here. I’m scared. Until now, my genitals hurt. My leg is bruised. He (attacker) punched my leg to immobilise me,” said the 28-year-old, who had been working in Bahrain for a year.

“After my employer’s son abused me, he threatened to kill me and bury me in the desert if I tell anyone about what happened.”

Luna said her employer did not believe her claims of being raped and beaten and insisted she finish the remaining two months of her contract before she could go home. Her employer also told her to have an abortion if she fell pregnant, she added.

Luna is among an estimated 10 million Filipinos working overseas to escape poverty and high levels of unemployment in the Philippines.

Many overseas Filipino workers, who account for a tenth of the country’s population of 100 million, work in menial jobs and endure dangerous working conditions.

Last year, a Filipino maid, Nargelene Mendez, was rescued from a house in Saudi Arabia after posting a video on her Facebook page claiming her employer had abused her.

In Hong Kong, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, an Indonesian domestic worker accused her employer of subjecting her to six months of physical abuse.

Erwiana, 23, underwent treatment at the Amal Sehat Islamic Hospital in Sragen, Indonesia, after boarding a flight from the SAR.

Photographs of Erwiana’s injuries quickly spread through social media and led to a demonstration of thousands of people through Hong Kong’s Central district. Police arrested her employer former beautician Law Wan-tung on January 20, 2014, as she tried to board a flight to Thailand. She was sentenced to six years in prison and fined HK$15,000 earlier this year.

Maids working in the Middle East frequently suffer abuse.

Human Rights Watch has called on the United Arab Emirates to reform a restrictive visa system and pass a labour law to stop domestic workers [from being] exploited.

OFW raped by employer’s son in Bahrain rescued by embassy: here.

Human rights and free speech lagging in Gulf monarchies. Post-Arab Spring oppression increasingly involves harsh penalties for dissent, including torture, stripping citizenship: here.