Photo: Left: Habeeb Ebrahim, Right : Qassim Habib

Date: 27 January 2013

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its grave concern over the death of two Bahraini citizens due to the collective punishment tear gas assaults that the Bahraini authorities have indiscriminately applied to crowded villages.

According to his family, Habeeb Ebrahim (87 years old), was subjected to extensive amount of teargas on the 27th of September 2012, which caused him to faint and disrupted his breathing. He then was taken to Al-Kuwait local health center and was managed there for the acute deterioration from teargas inhalation and was discharged to his home. On the 14th of October 2012, he was admitted to Salmaniya Medical Hospital after suffering another teargas suffocation after an excessive use of teargas inside a residential area, which included his home. For the third time, Habeeb was hospitalized on the 30th of November 2012 at Salmaniya Hospital after the Bahraini authorities attacked a protest in his village and a high volume of teargas was thrown near his house. His health collapsed and deteriorated until he passed away on the 12th of January 2013.

Habeeb Ebrahim was suffering from an underlying respiratory disease, which made him vulnerable to suffocation and collapse after any attack of teargas used excessively and deliberately by the riot police in Bahrain. A price several other citizens had to pay because of the international impunity given to the Bahrain government and continuous arm-sales by Western countries and allies (for more information, see: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/3864.)

Photo: Right, Father of Qassim Habib and Right, Said Yousif Al-Muhafdha

Qassim Habib, 8 years old, is the second victim to die from complications resulting from teargas inhalation in less than two weeks; he died on the 26th January 2013. Said Yousif Al-Muhafdha, BCHR’s Acting Vice President and Head of Monitoring met with the family of the victim. The family stated that their village, Karbabad, was attacked extensively with teargas on the 17th of January 2013 and as Qassim suffers from asthma, it is believed by the family that this attack made him vulnerable to teargas and lead to his death. This YouTube video reportedly documents the amount of teargas which was thrown on the house of the victim.

Qassim was suffering from a severe form of asthma. He was following up with doctors in Bahrain and the family was strongly advised to take extra care of him during changes in the weather or any other stimulant that may precipitate a lethal deterioration of his health. He was admitted to the pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Salmaniya Medical Complex in Bahrain where he died later due to respiratory failure from the severity of the asthma attack and worsening general condition.

Photo: Said Yousif Al-Muhadfha, at the hospital after inhaling teargas today

Furthermore, many mourners have marched at the funeral which was severely attacked by Bahrain security forces causing a number of injuries and suffocation of teargas. Said Yousif Al-Muhadha was rushed to the hospital after inhaling teargas while he was monitoring and reporting on human rights violations during the funeral.

The use of extensive teargas by the Bahraini authorities is alarming, the BCHR received and documented a number of cases of death and as per BCHR Report "The BICI Reforms: Promises of Progress, a Worsening Reality" dated 19th November 2012:

“According to the statistics confirmed by the BCHR, the number one cause of death by the Bahrain authorities is the extensive use of teargas of 31% of total number of deaths”

Photo: Left a banner was held during Qassim’s funeral Right: Unlabeled teargas canister used to oppress the funeral

The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the UN and all other allies and international institutions to put pressure of the Government of Bahrain to stop its use of excessive force in response to the continued peaceful protests, and to consider a meaningful solution to resolve the persistent political issues of instability in the country.

The BCHR calls on the Government of Cyprus and other ally governments to Bahrain to stop supplying the government of Bahrain with arms that are used against peaceful protesters, causing severe injuries and deaths among them.

Read: 1. Richard Sollom's testimony to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (US Congress) on Bahrain's use of teargas against civilians. 2. PHR's New Report: Weaponizing Tear Gas 3. Two more deaths in Bahrain due to teargas, activist beaten, and other updates 4. Bahrain: Bassil Al-Qattan; Extensive Use of Teargas by Bahrain’s Authorities Claims Another Victim