SHAFAQNA – Under the title “Bahrain: Respect human rights of prisoners and release prisoners of conscience”, Amnesty International issued a Public Statement about Bahrain on 18th March. It said: On the fourth anniversary of the arrests of 13 leading opposition activists and other prisoners of conscience in Bahrain, Amnesty International calls for their immediate and unconditional release and urges the authorities to ensure that the rights of all prisoners, including those held in Jaw prison, are fully respected. The statement also referred to Alkhalifa attack on Jaw prison saying: Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the allegations of beatings of prisoners in Jaw Prison on 10 March, as well as of the use of tear gas in confined spaces. It is urging the authorities to make public the results of its investigations into the events on that day. It is likewise concerned about the allegations of ill-treatment of prisoners in block six, and that children are being detained alongside adult prisoners, in violation of international human rights law and standards, and is urging the authorities to launch investigations into these allegations also. The organisation is also calling on the authorities to ensure that prisoners in Jaw prison are not subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, and that any prison officials responsible for committing such acts are brought to justice.
Meanwhile, clampdown on native Bahrainis has continued. This morning three young men from the town of Markh were arrested in raids on their homes: Ali Mohammad, Sayed Ali Hussain and Ali Hassan. Yesterday morning Mohammad Jaffar Sulail was kidnapped by masked members of the Death Squads at the industrial area of the town of Wadyan in Sitra. On Monday 23rd March two young native Bahrainis were arrested in raids on their homes in Maqaba. Mahmood Abdul Hassan and Hassan Mohammad Al Zaki were taken to the torture chambers. On 19th March Sayed Mohammad Sayed Saleh from Duraz was kidnapped by members of Alkhalifa Death Squads. Faisal Hussain Yateem, 17, was arrested from his home in Iskan Aali. The family of Dr Saeed Al Samaheeji is extremely worried as no news have been received about him for 18 days. Many other prisoners are considered “disappeared” since they were taken away from Jaw prison after the most vicious attack in living memory on the inmates who were calling for improvements of their conditions.
14 years old Qassim Mohsin from Karbabad was remanded in custody for one more week after his arrest on 19th March. Also Jalila Al Sayed was given ten more days imprisonment for the fourth time.
On 18th March Brian Dooley, Director of Human Rights First published an article titled “Is Bahrain an Apertheid State”. He said: The last few years have seen systematic discrimination, a repression of fundamental rights, and torture and deaths in custody. People aren’t divided by race but by sect, which typically dictates where they live, what jobs they do, and whether they can achieve political power. Many government supporters sound like many white South Africans used to: defensive about their privileges, with an inflated sense of entitlement and phobia of democracy. He further added: The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom both backed the apartheid regime in much the same way they’re now supporting the Bahrain dictatorship — politically and militarily, while citing an unpersuasive “constructive engagement” policy. As with South Africa in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, public criticism of human rights abuses is muted, with “security concerns” trumping a push for democracy. He ended saying: Then, as now, Washington, London and plenty of other Western capitals were on the wrong side of history during apartheid (although in apartheid’s final years, the Reagan administration was forced by Congress to implement sanctions). But autocracies don’t last forever. Apartheid eventually broke under the weight of its own immorality and inefficiency. And call it what you like, unless Bahrain’s repressive system radically changes, it’ll collapse too.
In another development human rights activists have demanded that Scotland Yard arrest a Bahraini prince accused of torture – after the royal let slip he had returned to the UK by posting a video on Instagram. On 19th March campaigners presented the Metropolitan Police with a “dossier” of new claims against one of the dictator’s sons, who they say was involved in the torture of prisoners during a pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain in 2011. Subsequently his lawyers wrote to The Independent arguing that submitting the dossier to the police was a political stunt and has nothing new.
In Kuwait a reputable human rights activist, Nawwaf Al Hendal, was arrested yesterday in an attack on a small protest against recent changes to the election law. Calls have been made to the government to release Mr Hendal. He has just returned from Geneva after addressing 28th session of the Human Rights Council.