Bahrain repressed protesters with West’s tacit approval

Published on RT, by Amnesty International, Nov. 22, 2012.

A year after an eruption of protests in Bahrain, the ruling monarchy continues to commit serious human rights abuses against activists. Amnesty International has criticized the US and UK for ignoring the repression, and urged action … //

… Insufficient international condemnation:  

The human rights watchdog also criticized the US and the UK for refusing to condemn human rights violations committed by their ally, and choosing instead to “satisfy themselves with the narrative of reform while ignoring the reality of repression.” Bahrain is the strategic home of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

Dozens of people have been killed in Bahrain since the Shia-led uprising began against the ruling Sunni monarchy in February 2011. Protestors are demanding an end to widespread discrimination against the country’s Shiite majority. Bahraini authorities blamed Shiite religious figures for fueling tensions in the country.

The BICI commission received complaints concerning the ‘mistreatment’ of 559 people in state custody. Forensic evidence in 59 of the complaints “was highly consistent with beatings and trauma.”

The commission also revealed that of the 35 people who died in protests between February and March 2011, 19 of the deaths were attributed to Bahraini security forces.

Since the BICI commission released its findings, there have been further cases of excessive force used against protestors during 2012, with an alarming increase in the use of shotguns since mid-2012, Amnesty said.

Shelved investigations of tortures: … //

… Repression with impunity:

“The commission is of the view that the lack of accountability of officials within the security system of Bahrain has led to a culture of impunity,” Amnesty reported.

The group also raised concerns about the detention, torture and ill treatment of children; as many as 80 children between the ages of 15 and 18 could be held in Bahrain’s adult prisons.

“The Bahraini government must immediately cease its campaign of persecution of human rights defenders in the country,” UN special rapporteur on human rights Margaret Sakaggya said on August 23, 2012.

Throughout 2012, human rights activists have been harassed, arrested and in some cases imprisoned for carrying out their work.

Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) also reported being harassed on several occasions.

“[Rajab] was placed alone in a very small and dark room for one day where there was a dead animal, that he was almost naked with only a small piece of cloth covering his genitals,” the report said.

The government blames the violence committed by some protestors on the country’s bitter divisions, claiming that the protestors have been manipulated by foreign powers such as Iran.

The Amnesty report concludes that the introduction of the reform process is now “moribund” and that Bahrain “is in full scale repression,” and risks sliding into “protracted unrest and instability.”
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