Bahrain: Unlawful arrest of three opposition figures


The main doors of their houses were smashed as their families were deep asleep. Women were attacked, and children terrorized in these pre-dawn raids that have become symbols of state terror in the troubled island of Bahrain.

The three had been targeted by the ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who has transformed his rule into one of the most ruthless regimes in the Middle East. Since he came to power on what appeared to be a "reform ticket" following the death of his father in March 1999, the country has sunk into deeper troubles. At least four Bahrainis have been killed by members of the Death Squads, organized and managed by the minister of the royal court, Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa; Mohammad Juma Al Shakhouri, Mahdi Abdul Rahman, Abbas Al Shakhouri and Ali Jassim. Many young Bahrainis have been arrested and at least sixty political prisoners are languishing in jails for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations, or expressing non-conforming views.

The arrest of the three notable figures is a serious development that could throw the country into deeper political turmoil. In December, the ruling family announced that it had "uncovered" a plot to overthrow the regime. This was given as excuse for the arrest of 14 young Bahrainis. They were subjected to severe torture that led their lawyers to demand an independent investigation into their well-being behind bars. The request was turned down by the authorities. Some of the youth were then paraded on TV screens to "confess their crimes" in a stage-managed play that had been poorly presented. The aim was to implicate senior figures who had refused to be silenced by the threats issued by the ruling family that alleges that the "plot" was a result of the "incitement" by some members of the opposition including the three persons arrested this morning.

Bahrain has finally descended into chaos. The situation is on the brink of an all-out rebellion against the Al Khalifa hereditary dictatorship that has failed to reform the political system. The self-styled king rules by a tailor-made constitution that has been rejected by the majority of the Bahrainis. The country is undergoing a serious demographic transformation, engineered by the ruling family to alter the historical religious and ethnic balance. In the past two weeks, many websites have been banned and all providers have been warned not to provide proxies to those websites. This was a prelude to the forthcoming arrests and crackdown against Bahrainis.

The people of Bahrain appeal to the outside world to intervene to protect them from the wrath from the Al Khalifa who have wreaked political, human and environmental havoc on the country. The three leaders must be released immediately and uncodintionally.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

26th January 2009


Bahrain: Dramatic escalation as opposition leaders targeted for persecution

In a dramatic escalation, the Al Khalifa ruling family has started a major crackdown against the democratic opposition in the country. Warrants were handed to three prominent opposition figures to appear at the Al Khalifa interrogators this evening to answer for unspecified charges. Mr Hassan Al Mushaime, the Secretary General of Haq Movement (the Movement for democratic and human rights), Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace (international liaison officer at the Movement) and Sheikh Mohammad Habib Al Miqdad, a prominent scholar.  A similar step was taken two weeks ago against Mr Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja for his human rights activities and expressing his views openly. The royal court then decided to put him on  trial next month. The three are unlikely to hand themselves to the Al Khalifa-run public prosecution which is notorious for allowing torture to be administered against political detainees, and run directly by members serving at the royal court.

Sheikh Hamad is reported to be very angry as he becomes more unwelcome wherever he goes inside or outside the country for his black record as a dictator. He has often boasted of his military intentions, appearing in public in his military uniform. Images of himself and his sons carrying arms and marching in fighting postures against the people of Bahrain have significantly tarnished the image of his farce "democracy" that has been marked by re-opening the torture chambers, originally built by Ian Henderson’s SIS and his British aides. He has also been infuriated by the success of the opposition in exposing the evil nature of his hereditary dictatorship, especially the confirmation by the Economist Democracy Index that placed Bahrain at No 136 down the scale, well within what it called "authoritarian" regimes.

It is now widely expected that the senior members of the opposition may end up in torture chambers run by the Al Khalifa. This has led to renewed tensions; sporadic protests in towns and villages like Sitra, Daih and Karzakkan. Young Bahrainis have also been snatched by the Al Khalifa Death Squads. At around mid-dayYesterday, for example, Hussain Ahmad Rashid, in his early twenties, was abducted from his work. Nothing has been heard about him since. Last night the riot police, assisted by members of the Death Squads roamed the roads of Sanabis, in anticipation of more protests if the people’s representatives were arrested.

This comes a time when Maitham Al Sheikh who has been languishing behind bars since December 2007, is fighting for his life at the military hospital. He has been diagnosed to be suffering from Multiple Sclerosis – MS. It is suggested that the torture he had endured cannot be ruled out as one of the causes of this horrible disease. Tens of thousands of Bahrainis have been tortured over the past three decades, but none of the torturers has ever been questioned about these crimes.

In a further deterioration of the human rights situation, the Al Khalifa have decided to punish the Bahrainis for their political stands by throttling them financially. In today’s edition of the regime’s mouthpiece "Al Watan", a report quoted "informed sources" saying that Bahrainis who take part in anti-regime activities, such as peaceful demonstrations, will be excluded their civil rights. They will be denied the right to state services They will not be granted housing, scholarships or job opportunities. They will also be subjected to the wrath of the regime’s notorious security system whose practices have now made Bahrain one of the worst countries in the world in terms of human rights.

The people of Bahrain have now started to raise their voices and appeal to the world for an immediate intervention to protect them from annihilation at the hands of the ruthless Al Kahlifa regime.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

25th January 2009

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