Bahrain: Alarming spike in expulsion of citizens arbitrarily stripped of their nationality: here.
Bahrain: Alarming spike in expulsion of citizens arbitrarily stripped of their nationality: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
Exclusive: U.S. Journalist Detained Covering Bahrain Protests Gives 1st Interview Since Release
25 February 2016
In an exclusive interview, we speak with one of four U.S. journalists who were detained in the Gulf state of Bahrain and released Sunday after an international outcry. Anna Therese Day and her camera crew were in Bahrain during protests marking the fifth anniversary of the kingdom’s February 2011 uprising.
Bahraini authorities accused the group of falsely representing themselves as tourists and claimed one of them participated in an attack on police. They were taken into custody and charged with illegal assembly with the intent to commit a crime. During their interrogation, they were initially denied an attorney and prevented from speaking with family members.
Human Rights First said the arrest of the journalists is part of a continuing crackdown on dissent in Bahrain. This comes as the group renews its call for the release of Bahraini opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif, who was sentenced to a year in jail Wednesday for a 2015 speech in which he called for change. The Bahraini government has fought to suppress opposition protesters and journalists since the uprising in 2011 that was crushed by martial law and U.S.-backed forces from Saudi Arabia. Bahrain is a close ally of the United States and is home to the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is responsible for all naval forces in the Gulf.
U.S. Journalist Says Bahrain Deprived Her Team Of Food, Water & Sleep During Detention. Freelancer Anna Therese Day is speaking out about what she describes as a terrifying 48 hours in the Persian Gulf country: here.
An American reporter speaks out about her detention in Bahrain: here.
The U.S. Should Speak Out Against the Sentencing of Ibrahim Sharif: here.
Football: A former Bahrain international has claimed in a German documentary that FIFA presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa is lying about his knowledge of players being tortured in the Middle Eastern state: here.
Bahrainis responded to a Twitter campaign call to press the Dry Dock prison administration to improve the poor conditions of the facility and remove the glass barriers that keep the detainees apart from their families and children during scheduled visits. The prison is a remand center where detainees are placed until the courts decide on their cases. Many prisoners have been there for months as their detentions are renewed and trials adjourned several times, whilst deprived from hugging or even shaking hands with family members and children: here.
“They told me they were going to cut my penis if I didn’t give them the information”. A refugee from Bahrain discribes how the UK’s close ally treats those who demand democracy: here.
From the New York Times in the USA:
Shadow of Human Rights Abuse Follows Contender in FIFA Vote
By REBECCA R. RUIZ
FEB. 24, 2016
ZURICH — Nothing has rocked international soccer quite like the waves of arrests made across several continents last year as the United States announced bribery and corruption charges against the men running the sport, the world’s biggest and richest. But as the organization that governs global soccer gathers this week to choose a new president, a leading contender risks stirring up another source of controversy for the sport: human rights.
With the election set to be held here on Friday, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, a member of the ruling family of Bahrain and the president of the governing body for soccer in Asia, might already have the support of a commanding number of voting countries, making him one of the favorites, with Gianni Infantino, to replace Sepp Blatter as president of FIFA.
Critics have seized on one aspect of Sheikh Salman’s background that remains unclear: They want FIFA to investigate whether he had any connection to the jailing and torture of Bahraini athletes who peacefully protested his family’s rule in 2011 during the Arab Spring.
FIFA presidential hopeful Prince Ali bin al-Hussein has been reprimanded for raising questions about his Bahraini rival’s human rights record. Despite presenting himself as untainted by Fifa’s dodgy dealings due to only arriving at the top table recently, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa has been accused of dobbing in athletes who were involved in pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in 2011: here.
Shaikh Salman’s own goal cost him the top job at FIFA: here.
Bahrain Finds Opposition Leader Guilty of Opposition: here.
‘Big British names in Bahrain have not stopped torture’
Published time: 23 Feb, 2016 13:49
Edited time: 24 Feb, 2016 09:53
Human rights organizations have accused London of ‘whitewashing’ Bahrain’s record in the United Nations, former Bahraini MP Jalal Fairooz told RT. The profit from the sale of weapons could be one reason for the silence, he added.
RT: Why has the UK put so much effort into improving the image of the Bahraini government?
Jalal Fairooz: It is a long story – the UK considers the regime in Bahrain as its project, and it wants to show the project is successful. Unfortunately, that requires lots of whitewashing and making fake presentations. Actually, the UK says that it has even advisors helping the Bahrainis to raise the standards of human rights in Bahrain. But what is happening is on the contrary.
The UK has some big names there, like John Yates and [Sir Daniel] Bethlehem, and others who were previously in Scotland Yard and in the UK Home Office, and now they are there in Bahrain, but the torture doesn’t stop. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has wanted to visit Bahrain for four years and is being prevented.
A Bahraini court sentenced a secular political figure on Wednesday to a year in prison over a speech he made in 2015 calling for change in the tiny island kingdom. Ibrahim Sharif, the former secretary-general of the National Democratic Action Society, was convicted on a charge of inciting hatred: here. And here.
Despite their atrocious human rights records, Egypt and Bahrain, for example, regularly receive arms from the United States, England, and other European countries. Regimes in these states have built more jails to incarcerate political prisoners and dissidents and are denying their people legitimate involvement in the governing process: here.
From the blog of Amnesty International in Britain:
Yes Minister… it is a human rights issue
The UK is sweeping away human rights complaints against companies
It seems somewhat perverse that the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills which exists primarily to promote UK business interests should house what is supposed to be an ‘impartial’ complaints mechanism to deal with alleged breaches of a little known international standard of conduct. Welcome to the UK’s National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises!
Although this process is low-key, with none of the trappings of criminal proceedings or civil litigation, most of the complaints relate to serious human rights abuses with enormous consequences for affected individuals and communities. These include allegations that a UK company Gamma sold intrusive surveillance technology to the Bahrain government which was used to target human rights activists some of whom were arrested and tortured.
There are complaints against Telecommunications companies, including BT and Vodafone, for allowing GCHQ access to its networks for the mass and indiscriminate interception of data such as Facebook posts, emails and phone calls. The oil and gas company BG has been cited for being part of a consortium causing pollution that is harming the health of residents of a village in Kazakhstan. Complaints against mining companies have been filed for projects that are likely to lead to the destruction of eco-systems, forced evictions and loss of livelihoods.
While the UK has been winning plaudits from its peers in the OECD for having a well-functioning National Contact Point (NCP), a different story has been told by complainants who have alleged human rights abuses by UK companies. This has prompted Amnesty International to investigate whether the UK NCP is all that it is cracked up to be.
Our findings are astonishing. We reveal that most complainants to the NCP have been stymied in having their human rights complaints taken seriously and that some have not been dealt with in accordance with the OECD’s procedures. 60% of all complaints were rejected before they were even examined. Only one complaint was fully accepted.
Our study focuses on 25 complaints submitted to the UK NCP since the OECD Guidelines were revised in 2011 to put greater emphasis on human rights in keeping with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Most but not all of these complaints relate to UK companies.
There is a lack of consistency in the way complaints are dealt with, and a tendency to give more weight to the evidence provided by companies in their defence than the evidence provided by complainants. Companies are allowed to cite commercial confidentiality as a pretext for withholding relevant information, while NGOs are expected to come up with new information that is not already in the public domain.
All too often, the circumstances faced by affected communities are ignored, even when their situation on the ground is deteriorating as the complaint is being processed.
Bizarrely, the UK NCP is reluctant to address future threats to human rights arising from a company’s proposed activities, such as an open-pit coal-mining project in a highly populated region of Bangladesh, where UN human rights experts have warned of the serious human rights violations that would occur, including damage to ecosystems and impacts on rights to water, food, livelihood and housing. The UK NCP’s downplaying of future impacts is at odds with the preventive purpose of the OECD Guidelines.
At the root of the problem are the inbuilt contradictions in having complaints assessed by the same government department that is responsible for promoting British business interests. This is made worse by the apparent lack of human rights expertise on the part of the civil servants handling the complaints. Their interpretations of the substance of cases reveal basic misunderstandings of human rights concepts and norms.
These shortcomings, taken together, are far-reaching and cannot be resolved by a bit of tinkering with the complaints handling process. This is why we’re calling for the UK NCP to be revamped with an Independent Panel of Experts to handle the initial assessment and examination of complaints. We’re also calling for the NCP Steering Board to be reconstituted to ensure it has the necessary expertise and impartiality from vested interests to exercise effective oversight and to review cases where appropriate.
We want to see more cases accepted for examination, more companies that breach the OECD Guidelines to be cited, improvements in company conduct as a result of these complaints being brought and, above all, improvements in the situation of affected communities. This should not be too much to ask for from a complaints mechanism which is intended to address the human rights impacts of companies, but has so far largely failed to do so.
Call on the UK government to hold companies to account: sign our petition to Secretary of State for Business Sajid Javid.
This video says about itself:
15 February 2016
According to U.S. officials, four journalists, including at least one American, have been detained in Bahrain and have not yet been released. The journalists were in the country reporting on the fifth anniversary of an uprising in the country. Award-winning reporter, Anna Therese Day, has said she and her camera crew haven’t been released. She also disputed claims by Bahraini officials that a reporter was arrested while participating in attacks on police along with rioters. It is reported Day and her crew were in the country covering the anniversary of the 2011 uprising, which was part of Arab Spring protests.
From Human Rights First in the USA:
American Journalists Arrested in Bahrain Indicates Continuing Crackdown on Dissent
February 15, 2016
Washington, D.C. – In response to news reports that four American journalists have been arrested in Bahrain, Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley issued the following statement:
“Reports that four American journalists are to be prosecuted in Bahrain are another alarming reminder of how dangerous Bahrain is for reporters. The regime routinely denies admission to those it fears will expose its human rights abuses, and arrests those who do manage to get in.
“The American embassy should remind the Bahraini authorities of their obligations to protect press freedom and freedom of expression, and not target reporters. While it’s increasingly rare for the U.S. government to stand up to its repressive military ally, Washington’s credibility is on the line. It should speak out clearly about what consequences there will be for its relationship with Bahrain if the authorities prosecute American reporters for doing their jobs.”
Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the brutal government crackdown on mass protests calling for democratic reform in Bahrain. Human Rights First released a new blueprint, “How to Reverse Five Years of Failure on Bahrain,” that examines conditions in Bahrain, the strengths and shortcomings of the U.S. response, and potential opportunities for the U.S. government to support civil society and strengthen respect for human rights. The blueprint outlines key missteps in U.S. policy in Bahrain since the 2011 uprising, which include failing to back up rhetoric in support of human rights and civil society with action, and decisions to downplay these priorities in favor of short-term military objectives. Human Rights First’s interviews with Bahraini activists and civil society leaders revealed an enduring human rights crisis in the country, marked by denial of basic rights including freedom of association, assembly, and expression, arbitrary arrests and torture of human rights activists and opposition leaders, and a failure to hold senior officials accountable for the torture and killings that occurred during the 2011 crackdown.
UPDATE: Bahrain charges and releases American journalists held during protests. Freelance reporter Anna Day and three cameramen detained while covering anniversary of uprising: here.
Bahrain frees U.S. journalists but keeps its own media behind bars: here.
Bahrain: Release Ebrahim Sharif. Secular Opposition Leader Jailed Again on Speech Charge: here.
Britain lobbied UN to whitewash Bahrain police abuses. Documents indicate UK and Saudi Arabia worked to water down human rights statement: here.
Dyke: I don’t think anyone from Bahrain should be Fifa president: here.
This video says about itself:
E:60 – Taken / Athletes of Bahrain
8 November 2011
Produced by Yaron Deskalo of ESPN. Filmed and Edited by Evolve Digital Cinema.
What if a country’s biggest athlete, a legend, a hero, a player who brought the nation some of its biggest sporting moments, was at practice one day and was suddenly taken into custody by masked men? What if he was held for months, tortured, his career ended, banned from his team and for playing for his country, all because he expressed his political views? It’s not a storyline from a Hollywood script — that is what allegedly happened in Bahrain.
Specifically, it’s what Alaa Hubail says happened to him. Hubail is the most famous soccer player in Bahrain and says similar treatment was forced on his brother, Mohammad, also a member of Bahrain’s national soccer team; and to Anwar Al-Makki, Bahrain’s internationally ranked table-tennis champion. In a story largely ignored by the Western world, these athletes describe in detail the horrific torture they endured at the hands of their government — a government that is allied with the United States despite allegations of human rights abuses against pro-democracy protestors. E:60 goes to the Middle East for the first time to investigate how athletes were caught up in the clash of democracy, freedom, repression and politics. Jeremy Schaap reports.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Dyke Slams Bahrain’s Blood-soaked Prince
Tuesday 16th February 2016
Khalifa’s involvement in crackdown on protests makes FA chief uneasy
by Our Sports Desk
FOOTBALL Association chief Greg Dyke called on Fifa presidential candidate Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa yesterday to confess to his role in Bahrain’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in the Gulf kingdom.
“No-one denies that there were violations of human rights involving sportsmen and footballers that went on four years ago — no-one denies that. The denial is over whether or not he was involved,” Dyke said.
“The question is, does it matter whether or not he was involved, or is it the fact, can you have someone from Bahrain running world football, in charge of world football, given what happened there four years ago? I personally have my doubts.”
Khalifa, currently head of the Asian Football Confederation, is a member of the despotism’s ruling family and has been accused of dobbing in athletes who took part in the demonstrations which began five years ago this month.
At the time Khalifa was the president of the Bahraini FA.
The popular protests were brutally suppressed by troops from Bahrain and also Saudi Arabia, both armed with British-made vehicles and equipment. Dozens were killed and many more arrested and tortured.
Britain has a long history with the Gulf state, with it being a British client state from the early 1800s. Since it declared independence in 1971 Britain has continued to prop up its blood-soaked rulers, including by flogging them vast quantities of arms.
Tory MP Damian Collins backed up Dyke’s comments, accusing Khalifa of “not being straight with what he knew” about jailing and abuse of activists.
“He clearly did nothing to stand up for and protect the sportspeople and he doesn’t want to discuss it.”
Collins was one of the organisers of a “New Fifa Now” debate in Brussels last month, which Khalifa ducked out of — insisting he has no “skeletons in the closet.”
The debate descended into farce when only one candidate, Jerome Champagne, showed up.
While Collins has openly criticised Khalifa for his alleged human rights abuse, Tory PM David Cameron has been pushing deals with Bahrain.
As well as arms sales, Britain signed a major defence pact in 2012, continues to train Bahraini troops, invited another prince involved in putting down the demonstrations to the London Olympics, and Bahrain’s King Hamad attended Queen Elizabeth Windsor’s diamond jubilee dinner.
Britain is set to open a naval base in Bahrain later this year.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International said that matters were getting worse in the country.
“Five years since the uprising, torture, arbitrary detention and a widespread crackdown against peaceful activists and government critics have continued,” said Amnesty’s James Lynch.
“Today in Bahrain, anyone who dares to criticise the authorities — whether a human rights defender or political activist — risks punishment.
“Institutions set up to protect human rights have not only failed to independently investigate or hold perpetrators to account, but now increasingly appear to be used to whitewash continuing abuses.”
Fifa presidency: Greg Dyke casts doubt on Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa replacing Sepp Blatter: here.
FA chairman Greg Dyke has doubts about Sheikh Salman’s Fifa candidacy: here.
Sheik Salman’s man in dirty-tricks gaffe after he wrongly accuses Prince Ali of hiring former Israeli footballer: here.
BANNED Uefa ex-president Michel Platini painted himself as a martyr yesterday, insisting he was appealing against his eight-year sanction in order to fight “against injustice.” Platini got the boot from football in December for a “disloyal payment” of £1.3 million to him from disgraced Fifa ex-president Sepp Blatter in 2011: here.
This video says about itself:
21 March 2012
From Associated Press:
Witnesses Say 4 American Journalists Arrested in Bahrain
By Jon Gambrell, Associated Press
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Feb 15, 2016, 8:27 AM ET
Bahrain said it detained the four for entering the country without obtaining a media visa and for “participating in an unlawful gathering.” The U.S. Embassy in Manama said in a statement Monday it was “aware of the arrest of four U.S. citizens in Bahrain” on Sunday but that it could not discuss the case due to privacy concerns.
The identities of the journalists and whether they worked for a specific media outlet was not immediately clear. …
On Sunday, police arrested a photographer working with the group, the two witnesses said. Later that night, police surrounded the area with checkpoints and arrested the other three, the witnesses said. The witnesses spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for fear of being arrested.
Hundreds of young people shouting anti-government slogans took to the streets in Bahrain on Sunday despite a heavy police presence to mark the fifth anniversary of an uprising calling for political change in the tiny island kingdom: here.
Champions for Justice: Bahrain’s Pro-Democracy Movement: here.