Targeting the activists in Bahrain is taking violent forms, and attempts to physically harm them that reach close to murdering
Right: The injury of the activist Hassan Marzooq, Left: the activist Ali Mawali at the ICU
Ali Al-Mawali is in the intensive care unit; Zainab Al-Khawaja gets seriously injured and Yousif AL-Mahafdah was beaten.
Targeting the journalist Reem Khalifa and the leaders of the political societies during the violent repression on the demonstrations, is to narrow down the rest of the margin of the freedom of expression and assembly.
10 July 2012
Bahrain Center for Human Rights continues with deep concern to monitor the increasing frequency of the use of unjustified excessive violence by the authorities in Bahrain to prevent the rallies and peaceful marches including those with official notification. Despite the violent suppression of all the demonstrations and peaceful marches since 16 months with the justification that they were not licensed, but that suppression was expanded nearly two weeks ago, when the security forces in Bahrain proceeded to prevent gatherings and marches led by the political societies, and which are peaceful marches with official notifications and in accordance with the procedures of the local law, and that comes within the framework of the right of expression and assembly as guaranteed by all international and local laws and conventions.
Following up the situation by Bahrain Center for Human Rights, it has been revealed the Bahraini security forces is exercising extreme violence and is using various types of unnecessary weapons to break up the opposition rallies and marches and the peaceful demonstrations that come out every day in the areas and villages since February 2011, which caused many injuries, wounds and chokes for many citizens, especially that the attack begins in most cases without a prior warning.
Because of the severe injuries suffered by numbers of leaders of associations of the political opposition; human rights activists and citizens who participated in the rallies and marches, and after investigation held by the Monitoring Committee at the center, it was found that some of those injuries resulted from intended targeting of the personalities, the opposition leaders and human rights activists to directly abuse them, and which in some cases reaches up to an attempted murder and physical killing, what constitutes a crime with premeditation.
Attacking the participants in the rally organized by the opposition societies in Bilad Al-Qadeem and severe injuries:
On Friday, June 22 five opposition political societies (Waad – AL- Wefaq – Nationalist Democratic Assembly – Unitary Assembly – AL-Ekha); licensed political associations; called for a rally that starts out from Bilad AL-Qadeem area until the South Sehla area, which is a road that witnessed the demonstrations organized by the opposition societies. However, the Chief of Public Security, Mr. Tariq Hassan has said to prevent that march and warned of the participation in it, but with the insist of the opposition societies on the exercise of their right for assembly and peaceful protest and the rejection of arbitrariness in the law, they have proceeded with the organization of the march despite the ban.
At the time of the march, number of leaders of the political societies and activists gathered and tried to demonstrate in the specified street, but the security forces, who were standing near by and at a distance of two meters prevented them through direct firing on them by using rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gases excessively.
Despite the fact that the number of people gathered was small but they have been exposed to heavy and very close firing, and with a direct targeting to the upper parts of their bodies, which resulted in serious injury to an active young man (Ali AL-Mawali) who had a deep break in the skull due to a direct shot into the head. Ali Al-Mawali remains in the intense care unit and was in the case of a coma up until 09 July 2012 after having two surgeries in the head. Besides, the General- Secretary of AL-Wefaq association, Sheikh Ali Salman, was injured in the shoulder and chest with rubber bullets and tear gas bomb. The Deputy General-Secretary of the Unitary Assembly; Hassan Marzouk; was also injured with a fragment from a stun grenade in the neck after which he was entered the hospital.
Additionally, the monitoring official at Bahrain Center; Yousif AL-Mahafdah was beaten by a member of the security forces and who tried to steal Yousif’s mobile phone which caused him to complain about it in the police station, however, the fate of this complaint is still unknown in light of the culture of impunity in Bahrain.
Attacking the demonstration in Buri area and serious injury of the activist Zainab Al-Khawaja in the leg:
In the same context of pursuing violence against protesters and peaceful marches in Bahrain by the Bahraini authorities, one of the peaceful demonstrations that went out on 27 June 2012 in Buri area was violently attacked by the mercenary troops after less than 5 minutes from the beginning, using suffocating gases and the internationally forbidden shotgun, resulting in number of casualties among the demonstrators. It seemed clear from the nature of their way of shooting openly and directly at the demonstrators that the intention was not to disperse them, but to result in maximum casualties among them.
In spite of the presence of the human rights activists Zainab Al-Khawaja and Yousif AL-Mahafdah who were trying to monitor and document the ongoing violations, but they were far from the line of fire of the Bahraini security forces. Meanwhile, they were surprised with a police car heading towards them, when one of the police men came out of the car and shot them directly with 4 stun grenades and from a close distance, then he shot a tear gas bomb directly towards Zainab AL-Khawaja, causing her serious injury in the right thigh after which she was taken to hospital. As a result, Zainab had a fracture with muscles tear and laceration and she will have to be walking with the assistance of crutches for a long period of time.
Attacking the participants in the march of Budaiya and targeting the journalist Reem Khalifa:
On Friday, 29 June 2012, the security forces prevented the march of the opposition political societies at Budaiya Road, which is also a street that has been used by the associations to form many demonstrations and which were licensed by the Bahraini authorities, however, this time the authorities considered the march as illegal, therefore, they prevented the march using excessive violence and multiple weapons. The security forces surrounded the announced area of the demonstration, attacked every presence in the streets and imposed informal curfew, during which dozens of citizens were severely beaten, besides the spread out of thick clouds of suffocating gases and tear gases, and number of citizens were injured as a result of the use of shotgun.
Bahrain Center for Human Rights knew that a security patrol assaulted the journalist Reem Khalifa, who was standing near the building of AL-Wasat newspaper, which is situated near the site of the demonstration. Reem Khalifa stated that while she was stopping on her own a security patrol suddenly stopped and one of the police got out and started to look at her then he took a stun grenade out of his pocket and throw it at her.
The silence of the Public Prosecution and its ignorance of undertaking serious investigations on these incidents and brining the offenders into justice, despite the seriousness of injuries and despite the provision of complaints on them, this confirms that these attacks are part of systematic work directed by people from the highest ranks of power in Bahrain and which is politically covered.
Accordingly, Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands the following:
- Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly guaranteed by domestic and international laws, and the conventions signed by the authorities in Bahrain, therefore, the authorities in Bahrain must comply with them and not to prejudice the right of assembly and peaceful demonstration under any justification.
- The immediate investigation of the attacks suffered by activists and leaders of political societies and bringing the offenders to justice, and stopping the policy of impunity.
- Stopping the unjustified excessive violence by the riot police against the demonstrators.
- Investigating the excessive use of violence by the riot police with intended murdering, which is a punishable crime in accordance to the domestic and international law.