As Bahrain’s regime escalates its repression on native citizens, the US announced it is easing the arms ban on the hereditary dictatorship. That decision has been condemned by human rights bodies. Human Ri ghts First condemned the decision, calling it a “major blow” to efforts to pressure Bahrain to implement human rights reform. “There is no way to dress this up as a good move,” said a spokesman, Brian Dooley. “It’s bad for Bahrain, bad for the region and bad for the United States.”
Furthermore, the State Department’s Annual Human Rights report says that Bahrain suffers from “Arbitrary deprivation of life; impunity for security officers; arbitrary arrest; restrictions on civil liberties”. Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat, described the US decision as “a dangerous step backward for human rights”. The statement said: “If the U.S. is truly committed to regional stability, we must push our allies to embrace policies that will strengthen free societies, not silence entire segments of their population. This is the only way to combat extremism. He further added: “The renewal of U.S. military aid sadly demonstrates, once again, how so-called national security interests continue to trump human rights. If America is truly committed to supporting open and democratic societies, it must hold Bahrain accountable.”
Contrary to what both Washington and London claim the Alkhalifa regime has intensified its crackdown on Bahrainis. In the past few weeks it sent senior opposition and human rights figures to jail simply for peacefully expressing their political views. This week, Fadhel Abbas, President of the Wahdawi Society, has been sentenced to five years imprisonment for tweeting a remark against the Saudi/Alkhalifa aggression on Yemen. Two weeks ago Sheikh Ali Salman, President of AlWefaq Society was sentenced to four years. In 2011 Sheikh Mohammad Ali Al Mahfood was jailed for five years. Yesterday Deputy Leader of AlWefaq, Khalil Marzooq, was summoned by the regime’s security apparatus for interrogation about his views and is likely to be jailed for years. The American decision is thus both unprincipled and hypocritical. It is likely to embolden the hereditary dictatorship to abuse human rights and undermined the native population.
Amnesty International has issued Urgent Action about Fadhel Abbas saying that it “believes Fadhel Abbas, aged 43, has been sentenced solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and has not used or advocated violence. It urges people to write to the Alkhalifa authorities “Calling on the Bahraini authorities to release Fadhel Abbas immediately and unconditionally and quash his conviction as he is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression; and; Urging them to uphold the right to freedom of expression and repeal laws that criminalize the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.
The attacks on native Bahrainis have escalated. In the week 22nd-28th June at least 61 people were arrested including five children. Today, Ali Jaffar from Sitra was snatched from his home. Yesterday, Mirza Rabi’ from Sitra and Sadiq Essa AlFardan from Karzakkan were arrested. Sheikh Essa Eid was summoned for interrogation about his Friday sermon in which he criticised the Shia Endowment Department for mismanagement and being a tool in Alkhalifa hands. It has recently asked mosques and Hussaini halls not to allow AlWefaq members to address the people. On 25th June six young men from Duraz were remanded in custody by Alkhalifa court for 15 days. They had been detained by masked members of Death Squads for taking part in anti-regime protests. On 24th June Mahmood Essa Al Kuwaiti was arrested when his father’s house was raided by armed members of Death Squads.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
1st July 2015