SHAFAQNA – Amnesty International (AI) has slammed the Bahraini regime for the “rampant” human rights abuses against opposition activists and anti-government protesters. In its report titled “Behind the Rhetoric: Human rights abuses in Bahrain continue unabated,” the rights organization criticized Manama for resorting to torture, arbitrary detentions, and the excessive use of force against peaceful government critics, including some as young as 17.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program Said Boumedouha said that “repression is widespread and rampant abuses by the security forces continue” four years after the country’s uprising in 2011.
Boumedouha added that “brutality remains a hallmark of Bahrain’s security forces.”
The report details dozens of cases of detainees being beaten, deprived of food and sleep, sexually assaulted, and subjected to electric shocks. This comes as the Bahraini regime is sticking to plans to host the Formula One Grand Prix tournament this weekend.
“As the world’s eyes fall on Bahrain during the Grand Prix this weekend, few will realize that the international image the authorities have attempted to project of the country as a progressive reformist state committed to human rights masks a far more sinister truth,” Boumedouha said.
Anti-government demonstrators have taken to the streets of Bahrain in recent days in protest against the Formula One race.
Anti-regime protests flare up every year ahead of the major sport event. Demonstrators say the race should not be held in the country due to its poor human rights record.
“The notion that Bahrain respects freedom of expression is pure fiction. Where is the freedom in a country where peaceful activists, dissidents and opposition leaders are repeatedly rounded up and arbitrarily arrested simply for tweeting their opinions and reading a poem can get you thrown in jail?” the Amnesty International official added.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.
Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.