Bahrain regime crackdown again

This video says about itself:

Bahrain – the government assault on women – hit – sexual harassment

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Bahrain: Police clash with protesters in town of dissident cleric

Thursday 22nd December 2016

BAHRAINI police fought yesterday with residents of a besieged town that is home to a leading Shi’ite cleric, firing tear gas and arresting at least two youths before withdrawing.

The riot police drew many women protesters into the street who were fearful that Sheikh Isa Qassim would be deported.

The government, dominated by the Sunni monarchy, stripped Mr Qassim of his citizenship in June, accusing him of fuelling extremism.

Mr Qassim is the spiritual leader of al-Wefaq, by far Bahrain’s largest political party which has acted in concert with leftist and Ba’athist groups to demand democracy in the Gulf despotism.

The cleric’s supporters say he’s being targeted as part of a wider crackdown on dissent on the island, which is home to an under-construction British naval base as well as the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

One witness said police targeted a building near Mr Qassim’s home where young people who protectively surround his home at night sleep during the day.

The recent crackdown on dissenters is at a level unseen since the 2011 Arab Spring protests, when the country’s people demonstrated to demand more political freedom from the ruling al-Khalifa family.

Al-Wefaq was involved in those protests, which were put down by force with the help of 1,000 troops from Saudi Arabia and 500 from the United Arab Emirates. Britain supplies arms to all three countries involved.

Prime Minister Theresa May said recently that Britain’s new Bahraini naval base, HMS Jufair, would see “more British warships, aircraft and personnel deployed on operations in the Gulf than in any other part of the world.”

A British military officer is also embedded in Bahrain’s Interior Ministry, and British troops recently conducted a three-week training operation there.

Amnesty International described the silencing of opposition voices as “relentless,” with 40 civil activists interrogated, charged or banned from leaving the island.

Fifty civil society groups have urged the UN to demand the release of Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, who faces 15 years in jail for tweeting about the war in Yemen and describing torture in Bahraini prisons.

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.