‘British police teaching Bahraini regime to whitewash torture deaths’

This video from the European Parliament says about itself:

4 February 2016

Alyn Smith MEP speaks on the institutional reform in Bahrain and raises the case of Mohamed Ramadan who is one of five people facing the death penalty in Bahrain.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

British guns for hire ‘teach Bahrainis to whitewash deaths’

Friday 21st October 2016

BRITISH police have advised their Bahraini counterparts on how to “whitewash” deaths in custody, international human rights group Reprieve alleged yesterday.

The guidance was part of a widely criticised multimillion-pound training deal with the Gulf kingdom, where security forces routinely rely on torture and the death penalty, both banned under international law.

The revelations adds to growing concerns about the use of Britain’s police and security forces as “guns for hire” to despotic regimes.

Bahrain’s poor human rights record has been highlighted recently by the case of Mohammed Ramadan, who has been held on death row since 2014. His lawyers allege that he was tortured into making a false confession.

Reprieve, which specialises in such cases and represents Mr Ramadan, argues that an investigation into his mistreatment, launched earlier this year, has been “deeply flawed and failed to meet international standards.”

An email unearthed by Reprieve shows that senior Bahraini police officers asked Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman in January for advice on how to present its handling of police complaints.

The visit focused on investigations involving deaths or serious injuries caused by police and how to liaise with families in these cases, according to emails obtained by Reprieve through freedom of information requests.

Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “It is shocking that Britain paid for Bahrain’s police to learn how to whitewash deaths in custody.

“Bahrain’s police have tortured innocent people like Mohammed Ramadan into confessing falsely to crimes that carry the death penalty and intimidated relatives who try to complain.”

Bahrain regime’s Internet sabotage

This video says about itself:

Bahrain ‘internet curfew’ for village, say activists | Short News

4 August 2016

Summary of news on ‘Bahrain ‘internet curfew’ for village, say activists’.

Source: BBC

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Friday 5th August 2016

NIGHTLY disruption of internet access in a district where Shi’ite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim lives appears deliberate, the Bahrain Watch human rights group said yesterday.

Human rights activists, journalists, Shi’ite leaders and others have been imprisoned or forced into exile in a severe clampdown on dissent in the island which suffers under a despotic Sunni feudal monarchy.

Bahrain Watch suggests that the internet slowdown is intended to disrupt protesters in the Diraz neighbourhood, where they have demonstrated in support of Mr Isa Qassim, who had his citizenship removed in June over government allegations of fanning extremism.

Locals in Diraz have complained that online traffic slows to less than a crawl on mobile phones and some fixed-line internet connections, said Bahrain Watch.

During Bahrain’s 2011 democracy protests, internet traffic in and out of the country dropped by 20 per cent.

Bahraini government officials did not respond to requests for comment.

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.