British government helps torture in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain

This video says about itself:

No End to Torture in Bahrain

22 November 2015

Bahraini security forces are torturing detainees during interrogation. Institutions set up after 2011 to receive and investigate complaints lack independence and transparency.

Human Rights Watch has concluded that security forces have continued the same abuses the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) documented in its November 2011 report. The commission was established after the fierce repression of pro-democracy demonstrators in February and March of that year. Bahraini authorities have failed to implement effectively the commission’s recommendations relating to torture, Human Rights Watch found.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Britain: ‘Complicit in Rights Abuses by Torture States’

Thursday 22nd December 2016

British police provide training to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – Techniques used to identify and arrest people who are then tortured

BRITAIN was accused of complicity with the death penalty yesterday after a report revealed that police and security training is provided without safeguards to countries that torture and execute children.

International human rights organisation Reprieve suggested that there may have been a cover-up and demanded an end to support for death penalty states after freedom of information (FOI) requests revealed that officers from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have been trained in Britain without the required human rights checks being conducted.

Assessments are necessary before support and training is given to those states where arrests could lead to the death penalty.

Official guidance on the provision of overseas security and justice assistance said it should meet “our human rights obligations and values” and, before assistance is given, requests should also be considered by the International Police Assistance Board.

However Reprieve claims that its FOI requests found that no such assessments had been done by the UK College of Policing, which conducted the training.

The National Police Chiefs Council came under fire in June for continuing to provide training to Saudi police despite identifying a risk that “the skills being trained are used to identify individuals who later go on to be tortured or subjected to other human rights abuses.”

In November, the council said the publication of this information had been a mistake and it would not release similar documents in the future.

Both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia use the death penalty and have tortured people involved in anti-government or pro-reform protests.

In Saudi Arabia, Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher were all children when they were arrested for their involvement in demonstrations calling for reform. They are currently on death row awaiting execution.

In Bahrain, police officer Mohammed Ramadan faces the death penalty for having told interrogators while under torture that he had attacked other officers after joining a pro-democracy protest.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman claimed the government continues to raise concerns over the cases cited by Reprieve with the respective governments and that it “opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and in all countries.”

“The British government consistently and unreservedly condemns torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it is a priority for us to combat it wherever and whenever it occurs.”

On the case of Mr Nimr and the two others convicted while they were juveniles, she said: “We expect that they will not be executed. Nevertheless, we continue to raise these cases with the Saudi authorities.”

But Maya Foa, who heads Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “At best this is incompetence, at worst a cover-up; either way, the result is that this training risks rendering the UK complicit in the death penalty.

“It is shocking that neither Police Scotland nor the UK College of Policing hold any information about what human rights assessments were undertaken before this training went ahead.

“The conclusion is that once again, the UK’s policy on the death penalty has been ignored. Support to police forces in death penalty states such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain must be suspended until they can show real progress — starting with scrapping the death sentences handed down to children and political protesters.”

The Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are rightly proud of the British model of policing and it is not surprising that there is an international appetite to learn from the best.”

Britain has a long history of involvement in Bahrain, with many British citizens having served in top roles with its internal security services.

The most notorious was Ian Henderson, a colonial officer in Kenya and head of various police agencies in Bahrain from 1966 to 1998. He presided over torture and was accused by opposition groups of “masterminding a ruthless campaign of repression.”

‘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.