Al-Khalifa regime imprisons the innocent

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SHAFAQNA – The Bahraini regime has jailed 38 opposition activists, including three children, within the last week.

The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) said Saturday that regime courts have handed down lengthy jail terms totaling 231 years in prison to the activists.

The report notes that courts have also extended jail terms for 83 people while eight people have also been arrested by security forces in recent weeks.

The BCHR said massive searches and raids have been carried out on 14 houses across the country while three notable anti-regime protesters remain missing. Security forces also attacked 11 peaceful gatherings of people in the capital, Manama, and elsewhere, the report said.

Meanwhile, The British daily, The Times, said on its website that Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa filed a legal complaint against the newspaper over an article, citing criticism of the decision to sit Queen Elizabeth II next to King Hamad at her 90th birthday celebrations.

The article, entitled “Fury as Bahrain’s king is given seat beside Queen,” starts off by stating: “This article is the subject of a legal complaint from His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa.”

“The Queen was at the centre of a row over human rights last night after criticism of the decision to sit her next to King Hamad of Bahrain at her 90th birthday celebrations in Windsor,” noted The Times.

The seating of the King of Bahrain next to Queen at her 90th birthday “extravaganza” made headlines in the UK, as it was condemned by campaigners critical of the Gulf kingdom’s human rights record.

Amnesty International UK’s head of policy and government affairs Allan Hogarth told The Independent: “King Hamad presumably enjoyed his ringside seat at the Queen’s birthday bash, but the disturbing reality for people back in Bahrain is a never-ending cycle of arrests, tear-gas raids, torture in detention and long prison sentences for peaceful protesters.”

As for Human Rights Watch, it said that it was an “error of judgment” to place the Queen next to the head of a country “with a grisly human rights record”.

Five years after massive protests erupted for reform in Bahrain, the country is still the scene of demonstrations with calls rising on the Al Khalifah to relinquish power. More than a hundred people have been killed while hundreds more, including notable opposition figures, remain behind bars in what human rights campaigners say is Manama’s lack of tolerance for dissent.

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