The Bahraini Special Forces Attacked a Peaceful Seminar Many arrests and injuries including one person in serious condition

A Heavy armed Security Special Forces (SSF) and militia forces in civilian dress have attacked the audience of a public seminar scheduled for 8,30 the evening of June 5, 2008 in Bilad Al-Qadeen in the outskirts of The capital Manama.

Political and human rights figures were supposed to take part in the event, which was going to discuss what to be done next with the petition that was sign by 54 thousand citizens, and demanded the prime minister to step down for his gross human rights violations during his 37 years as prime minister. The attack took place just one hour before the seminar has started.

Several people were injured and several others have been arrested. A among the injured the critical case of Majeed Jaffar Al-Qatan (26 years) from the Nabih Saleh village, and he is in state of coma as a result of crack in his skull due to a rubber bullet that hit him in the head and was fired from a short distance.

According to his friends, Majeed fell on the ground and lost his consciousness immediately after was hit by the rubber bullet. Elements of the Special Security Force started hitting and kicking him. Later his friend took him to the Hospital. He suffered crack in his skull, swelling in his right eye, bruises and blood accumulation in his skull led to coma. He was kept under closed observation till yesterday 8 of June, where he went through open skull surgery.

Previously the authority had informed Karbabad, events venue, that it will not allowed to hold a public seminar scheduled for 25 April 2008. The security officer stated that, if necessary, the Security Special Forces (SSF) would intervene by force to prevent the event from taking place. The organizers of the event told BCHR that these threats were made by the head of the Exhibition police station on 24 April.

The SSF have previously used violence to prevent gatherings, such as a 2006 conference, in which there was a show of a video clips of the public petition sent to the United Nations and signed by 83,000 citizens, demanding the drafting of a new constitution. Violence was used to disperse the event despite the fact that among the participants were some Members of Parliament. On another occasion, the SSF attacked protestors in the area of el Malkeyia shore, firing rubber bullets and tear gas at them when they gathered in Seminar. Another gathering was attacked by SSF in the village of Noaydarat last year, where political figures assembled to show their solidarity with the secretary general of Haq Movement, Mr. Hasan Moshaymea, and Abdulhadi Khawaja, the head of BCHR, who were being brought to trial after giving speeches in which they criticized the government.

Please Write to Bahraini authorities urging them

- To respect The rights to freedom of expression, opinion and assembly in accordance with international standards;

- To refrain from using, or threatening to use violence against peaceful Seminars, meetings, conferences and gathering;

- To implement the government promises and obligations made during the Universal periodical review of Bahrain by the Human Rights Council that took place last April, especially those relating to freedom of peaceful assembly.

- To stop excessive force against peaceful gatherings

MORE INFORMATION:

For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, Vice-President, BCHR, Manama, Bahrain, Tel: +97339633399 / +9733940 0720

Fax: +973 1779 5170, e-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org http://www.bahrainrights.org