French Macron meets Bahraini absolute monarch


Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, right, is greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron before a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, today

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Macron urged to demand Bahraini king releases political prisoners during state visit

Failing to raise the issue would be ‘a stain on France’s historical commitment to human rights’, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said

Hundreds of thousands of French workers demonstrated on Thursday as part of a nationwide public sector strike to oppose the Emmanuel Macron government’s draft law on the “modernization” of the public sector: here.

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British Conservatives train Bahraini prison torturers


British Conservative prime minister Theresa May poses with Bahrain's tyrannical king Hamad Bin Isa Khalifa

By Phil Miller in Britain:

Friday, April 26, 2019

Bahraini jail guards visit Britain for training

PRISON guards from a brutal Middle Eastern dictatorship visited Britain for training shortly before Easter, it has emerged.

Their visit was reported in Bahraini newspaper Akhbar Al Khaleej, which supports the regime.

The delegation was led by Brigadier General Abdul Salam al-Araifi, a senior figure in Bahrain’s prison system, it said.

The small Gulf island has the one of the largest proportions of people behind bars in the Middle East.

Many of them are political prisoners jailed for opposing the country’s king Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa.

The newspaper report said the visit was designed “to exchange experiences” and “discuss various aspects of co-operation in developing the work of correctional institutions.”

The visit has alarmed a Bahraini exile in Britain.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), said it was “appalling.”

Bird is especially concerned that senior officials from Jau prison could have been part of the delegation.

“Multiple reports have highlighted mistreatment and torture in Jau Prison and there are countless recorded cases of authorities denying inmates adequate medical care,” Mr Alwadaei said.

It is not known which prisons in Britain the Bahrainis visited.

The Scottish and Northern Irish prison services told the Morning Star no-one from Bahrain had visited in April.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it received international visitors “all the time” and did not keep a central log of visits.

However the MoJ said it was not involved in arranging this particular visit, and directed the Star to the Foreign Office – which then did not respond to requests for comment.

Bird said: “It is highly ironic that Bahrain has shown a greater openness about British involvement than the [British] government.

“Parliamentarians must not allow this scandal to pass without asking serious questions.”

Bahraini regime torturers’ British training


This November 2015 video says about itself:

Human Rights Watch Accuses Bahrain Of Torturing Detainees

A new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says that security forces in Bahrain are still torturing detainees.

By Phil Miller in Britain:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Human rights campaigners warn academics not to train Bahraini police

‘Instead of training torturers, perhaps the Huddersfield University academics should focus on Bahrain’s unjust criminal justice system,’ Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy says

ACADEMICS from Britain are teaching at a police academy in the Middle East despite concerns that its officers are involved in human rights abuses.

Two Huddersfield University lecturers are visiting Bahrain’s Royal Police Academy to discuss interview techniques.

Psychologists Dr John Synnott and Dr Maria Ioannou are delivering a masters programme in security science on behalf of the university.

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy advocacy director Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei told the Morning Star: “It’s really shocking to see academics from Huddersfield University equipping the Bahraini police force – which boasts a record of murdering individuals through torture without accountability – with techniques that will only empower state repression.

“Last week, 138 individuals, including children, were sentenced and revoked of their citizenship in a single trial.

“Is this the standard that Huddersfield University expects from their partner?

“Instead of training torturers on how to break victims more efficiently, perhaps academics should focus their efforts on assessing the unjust operations of the Bahraini criminal justice system.”

The Huddersfield scheme was inaugurated by the university’s chancellor Prince Andrew last April.

A spokesperson for Huddersfield University confirmed that it was working with Bahrain’s Interior Ministry, adding: “The masters programme covers subjects including investigative psychology, forensic psychology, computer science (cyber security), forensic science and criminology and includes a dissertation.

“The course is delivered at the academy by Huddersfield staff who usually spend approximately two weeks in the country teaching the students.

“The first cohort of 26 police officers graduated in March this year.”

Bahraini human rights violations protest in London


Bahraini Ali Mushaima protesting at London embassy

By Phil Miller in London, England:

Monday, April 1, 2019

Bahraini opposition leader’s son resumes London embassy protest

THE son of a jailed Bahraini opposition leader has resumed his vigil outside the country’s embassy in London after a six-month gap.

Ali Mushaima returned to Belgrave Square today where he previously spent 46 days on hunger strike.

He re-erected a banner of his father, 71-year-old Hassan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court in 2011 during the Arab Spring.

Mr Mushaima said: “I find myself having to come back to the embassy as the Bahrain government is deliberately denying my 71-year-old father his human rights, including medical care.

“I don’t want to wait until his health completely fails. I will do whatever I can to fight for justice for my father.”

Mr Mushaima is a cancer survivor who still suffers from diabetes, erratic blood pressure, prostate issues and an ear injury.

The British government has paid to train Bahraini jailers in prison medical procedures, but the Mushaima family says healthcare at Jau prison is inadequate.

Dutch government helps Bahraini torture regime


Ali Mohammed al-Showaikh with a child, Amnesty photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Deported Bahraini sentenced to life imprisonment without a fair trial

A Bahraini asylum seeker who has been deported by the Netherlands has been sentenced to life imprisonment without a fair trial in his native country. Amnesty International and the Refugee Foundation report this, based on conversations with his family and lawyer.

The citizenship of 27-year-old Ali Mohammed al-Showaikh was also taken away and he was fined 1000 euros.

Brother

Showaikh fled to the Netherlands in 2017 because he was afraid of reprisals because of the political activities of his brother. He received no asylum and last October he had to return to Bahrain.

There, according to Amnesty, he was arrested and jailed on arrival without confidential access to a lawyer. He is said to also have signed a confession under pressure and was tortured. Last Thursday he was convicted on the basis of “broadly and vaguely formulated terrorism legislation“.

Human rights violation

Amnesty and the Refugee Foundation say that the Netherlands is guilty of a serious human rights violation, because Showaikh was sent back while “it is known how Bahrain deals with relatives of political activists“.

Since 2016, the human rights situation has deteriorated and more than 150 critics or their family members have been subjected to severe repression, Amnesty reported earlier.

NRC daily has asked the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) to respond to this life imprisonment, but the IND says they “never go into individual cases.”

Dutch goverrnment criticized about this: here.

Bahraini regime imprisons relatives in anti-democracy revenge


Theresa May meets the King of Bahrain Hamad Bin Isa Khalifa in Manama, Bahrain, in December 2016

This picture shows British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May meeting the King of Bahrain, Hamad Bin Isa Khalifa, in Manama, Bahrain, in December 2016.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, February 25, 2019

‘I will not rest until my family is free’, London activist vows after Bahrain jails relatives

THREE relatives of a London-based Bahraini dissident have lost their final appeal against imprisonment in the Gulf kingdom.

Bahrain’s highest court upheld the family’s sentences today, despite United Nations experts warning that their convictions were “arbitrary.”

The family was targeted after their relative in London, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, protested outside Downing Street during a visit by Bahrain’s dictator King Hamad.

Mr Alwadaei’s mother-in-law, Hajer Mansoor Hassan, brother-in-law, Sayer Nizar Alwadaei, and cousin, Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor, were arrested in March 2017 and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

UN experts say their arrests were an “act of reprisal” for Mr Alwadaei’s human rights work in London, where he is advocacy director at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird).

Mr Alwadaei was granted asylum in Britain in 2012 after he was tortured in Bahrain during the so-called Arab Spring.

He has since become one of the most effective and respected critics of Bahrain’s monarchy.

He has used freedom of information requests to frequently expose Bahrain’s deep ties to the British government.

However his success has made him a target for the regime’s security forces, who have gone after his relatives in Bahrain.

Mr Alwadaei condemned the latest court ruling, saying: “This is what you expect from a corrupt unjust system. I will not rest until my family is free.

“Their continued imprisonment is a shameful reminder of the UK’s weak position when dealing with human rights abuses committed by an ally country.”

Bird is particularly concerned about the welfare of Mr Alwadaei’s 55-year-old mother-in-law, who they say is being denied medical treatment for a lump on her breast, which they fear may be cancerous.

This is despite a British government aid scheme for Bahrain that involved training prison guards in healthcare procedures.

Amnesty International has issued a statement condemning the denial of medical access to Ms Mansoor, labelling her a “prisoner of conscience.”

Although she will be eligible for release next year, Mr Alwadaei’s cousin Nizar faces much longer behind bars.

He was arrested as a teenager and received two additional charges, meaning he will serve 11 years in prison.

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has expressed serious concerns for the “ongoing trend of harassment and intimidation” of Mr Alwadaei and his family.

Britain’s Foreign Office has been approached for comment.

Bahraini torture regime, British Conservatives’ friends


This October 2014 video says about itself:

Bahrain human rights activist and co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights Maryam Al-Khawaja holds a press conference in London after being released from the Isa Town prison where she was being held.

Maryam tells us about the treatment at the prison and the conditions of migrant workers that she witnessed. Maryam Al-Khawaja also talks about the lack of medical support after a certain time and a Filipino woman who started having seizures.

Al-Khawaja was arrested at Manama airport last month and accused of assaulting a police officer; something which she denies. She has a court hearing on November 5th but the Danish citizen has not yet decided if she will attend. If convicted she could face 5 years in prison.

By Phil Miller in Britain:

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Tory minister cosies up to Bahrain’s unelected rulers as political prisoners rot in jail

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy criticised Britain for ‘contining to overlook and cover up the horrific rights abuses’ in the Gulf state

FOREIGN Office Minister Alistair Burt cosied up to Bahrain’s unelected leaders at yesterday’s meeting with the Gulf state’s crown prince and his retinue.

Mr Burt pushed ahead with the trip despite concerns raised by Bahraini exiles whose friends and relatives are held as political prisoners by the regime.

Their fears that Britain is too close to Bahrain were echoed by MPs, including Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who have written to Mr Burt.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, a London-based dissident, warned that the minister’s visit came at a time when his frail mother-in-law was being denied vital medical treatment by Bahrain’s prison authorities.

Mr Alwadaei, director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), said it was “crystal clear” that Britain “continued to overlook and cover up the horrific rights abuses that occur in the Gulf state.”

However, he hoped that “during his visit, Minister Burt has the opportunity to change this narrative and effect real change by advocating for the release of those imprisoned for exercising their fundamental human rights, including my family, who have endured nothing but a travesty of justice.”

Mr Alwadaei called on the Tory minister to visit his three jailed relatives while in Bahrain. The trio are expecting a verdict from Bahrain’s final appeals court on Monday.

Last month, United Nations experts found that all three are imprisoned arbitrarily and in reprisal for Bird’s advocacy work in Britain.

Another political prisoner, Ali al-Hajee, also wrote to Mr Burt before the visit and alleged that he had been tortured in Bahrain.

Mr Hajee said he was “one among the thousands of prisoners of conscience [and] victims of torture who are now languishing in Bahraini prisons.”

Campaign Against Arms Trade was highly critical of the trip. A spokesman said: “The Bahraini regime has inflicted a terrible crackdown on Bahraini people. Despite the torture and abuses, it has been armed and supported every step of the way by the UK government.”