Bahrain regime continues targeting students and teachers
13 Sep 2011
Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deepest concern over the deterioration of the educational system in Bahrain caused by unwarranted decisions taken by the government of Bahrain targeting teachers and university students. Recently: expelled university students have been summoned for investigation, students are on hunger strike in solidarity with their detained friends, and teachers are being transferred to schools in different areas also being dismissed and replaced by unqualified teachers.
Dozens of students on hunger strike in solidarity with their detained friends from University of Bahrain
Last June BCHR has reported the arrest of 78 students, most of them were students of University of Bahrain. They were either arrested by having their homes raided and vandalized, and their families terrorized, some got arrested from their universities while other from their villages or at checkpoints. Being involved in politics is not the reason for being arrested as many students who had no involvement in any political activities were arrested for the mere reason of being from a certain sect which indicated for authorities that they are from opposition. Today 6 of University of Bahrain students remain in detention after 5 months from their arrest.
More than 30 students have started a hunger strike in solidarity with their 6 detained friends:
- Jawad Al Mahary - arrested 29 March
- Shawqi Radhi - arrested 26 April, House raid
- Jassim Al Hulaini - arrested 27 March, House raid
- Jassim AlMukhodher - arrested 26 April, House raid
- Ali AlMoolani - arrested 16 March, at check point
- Yousif Ahmed – arrested 26 April, House raid
Ali AlMowlani, one of the detained students, 21 years, electrical engineering student at UOB and a player at the Bahrain Hand Ball National Team and AlAhli Club. He was arrested at a checkpoint on 16 March and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment in a military court on 12 May for participating in “illegal assembly”.
The other students have been falsely accused of being involved in the March 13 incident where government-sponsored thugs supported by security forces attacked university students in the UOB campus. The attack resulted in four serious cases of injury and about 80-100 students were transferred to the hospital due to suffocation caused by tear gas.
The detained students have been through severe torture in their early days of detention and were denied access to their families and lawyers for at least a month as reported by families of the majority of detained students. On 21 June, they were presented to the military court, Shawqi Radhi, was unable to stand because of torture.
In protest of their unfair detention and ill-treatment, they started a hunger strike on 1 September, some of them including Shwqi Radhi has been hospitalized more than once and the hunger strike doctor from the BICI has visited them, but they have continued their hunger strike which raises concerns over their health.
Not only are friends on hunger strike in demand of the release of the students, but the mother of Younis Ahmed has started a hunger strike as well. Younis is a 20 year old student who has been in detention for more than 4 months after having his home raided by 15 to 20 security officers as per a family member's account of his arrest. His family did not hear from Younis until the date of his trial after one and a half months had passed. Later they learned that he was ill-treated and tortured in prison, with marks of torture apparent on his feet. The fate of his friends was similar, as they were all being humiliated and beaten, even in the waiting room in court in the case of Younis. He mentioned that on their first trial they were told that they were being taken to Saudi Arabia to be prosecuted and executed, in attempt to intimidate them.
Their case has been resumed recently scheduled again at the military court on 3rd October.
Polytechnic Students: promised to be reinstated but instead have been summoned to the police station
Bahrain Polytechnic students have been waiting to be contacted to be reinstated after the king’s speech after official statements which promised to return 31 students although numbers of expelled are proved to be higher. Instead of receiving the awaited call, 5 students were contacted to be summoned by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to Al Hurra police station on September 12:
- Mohammed Al Aradi
- Hussain Merza
- Jaffer Al Hayki
- Ali Hasan
- Ali Al Aali
Expelled students arrived at the police station with their lawyers who were not allowed to join them in the interrogation despite many attempts. Students went to the investigation alone one by one, spotting their files and the investigation documents they signed at Bahrain Polytechnic after their interrogation. They were asked almost the same questions regarding their Facebook and Twitter posts, photos and going to the Pearl Roundabout. Some students were asked about other expelled students’ contacts and a couple of students confirmed seeing a list of names of at least 20 of their expelled colleagues. Finally, they signed a paper stating that they should be present whenever called, had their fingerprints taken, had their photos taken and were allowed to leave.
The general accusations towards students are crowding attending public gatherings and vandalizing property. Although they were told that their case will be referred to the public prosecutor, the investigator told them that these charges will be dropped so they can go back to university soon, but if they did repeat their actions the sentence would be harsher.
Today, other students from the Bahrain Polytechnic were summoned to the police station. It is believed that more will be called in the coming days.
Teachers being discriminated against and unfairly transferred to other schools for no apparent reasons
Hundreds of teachers have been targeted by the Bahraini regime and discriminated against based on their religious sector after the authorities imposed martial law in March. Schools have been raided and dozens of teachers have been arrested, detained, humiliated and tortured. It has been reported that 100s have been subjected to salary cuts or did not receive their salary for months, as well as being suspended and sacked after going through a series of humiliations and unjust investigations.
Such actions did not stop but rather escalated after the academic year started in schools. Dozens of teachers from different schools have reportedly been transferred from their schools to other schools without prior notice or clear communication of the reasons behind the act. BCHR have been informed that principles of schools in Bahrain had a meeting with the Minister of Education where they were told not to enquire about the reasons behind the transfers of their staff because it is a result of the investigations they have conducted.
Also, many voluntary teachers who started volunteering in schools after teachers had gone on a strike calling for political demands in the past academic year have been hired after the Prime Minister ordered for their immediate hiring. Most of the voluntary teachers have no degree or teaching experience, but were hired on the basis of loyalty to the leadership of Bahrain. It should be mentioned that there are 1000s of unemployed university graduates in Bahrain who have been waiting to be hired for the past few years.
Mahdi Abu Deeb, Bahrain Teachers’ Association president, has started a hunger strike demanding his release and for all charges against him to be dropped. Abu Deeb has been detained for more than 6 months after his home was raided for several times. Furthermore, Mahdi’s daughter, Maryam Abu Deeb, Jaleela Al Salman, recently released Vice preisedent of BTS, and a number of his uncles and aunts have announced going on hunger strike in solidarity with Mahdi AbuDeeb’s demands.
Bahrain Center for Human Rights appeals to Ministries of Education, Teachers Associations, Students Unions and all Human Rights organizations and activists to take actions to save the educational sector in Bahrain by:
For more details on violations against teachers and students or to report your case, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4190 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31OZrTtKfdY http://www.alwasatnews.com/3111/news/read/532288/1/جامعة%20البحرين.html http://www.alwasatnews.com/3111/news/read/532285/1/جامعة%20البحرين.html http://www.alwasatnews.com/3111/news/read/532288/1/جامعة%20البحرين.html http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4618  http://www.alwasatnews.com/3277/news/read/591728/1.html http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/4369 http://www.alwasatnews.com/3291/news/read/594281/1.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTFNnN1lXSo http://www.alwasatnews.com/3292/news/read/594611/1.html
US Department of State: Religious Freedom Report (July - Dec 2010) - Bahrain
BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND LABOR July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report Report September 13, 2011
The constitution does not explicitly protect freedom of religion but does provide for freedom of worship, and the government generally respected the right of citizens and foreign residents to practice their religion. The constitution provides for freedom of conscience, the inviolability of places of worship, and the freedom to perform religious rites and hold religious parades and meetings, in accordance with the customs observed in the country, and states that Islam is the official religion and Sharia (Islamic law) is a principal source for legislation. The constitution also stipulates that there shall be no discrimination in the rights and duties of citizens on grounds of religion; however, in practice, the Sunni Muslim citizen population enjoyed favored status, and the Shia population faced discrimination.
There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period. The status and treatment of Shia within society, including government arrests of Shia political activists during the reporting period, have both political and religious origins, complicating classification of incidents as ones of religious freedom alone. During the reporting period there were reports of mass arrests of Shia activists, including clerics, with some allegations of torture, censorship of religious sermons, and the revocation of citizenship of a prominent Shia religious leader and his family -- although later restored. The government continued to exert a level of control and monitoring over both Shia and Sunni Muslims. International and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) asserted that Shia citizens, as a whole, faced discrimination as evidenced by lower socio-economic indicators than the Sunni population. In August and September, authorities arrested a number of Shia political activists, some of whom were charged with conspiring against the government, alleged ties to terrorism, and spreading false information.
Regional Sunni-Shia tensions and historical political divisions continued to affect intra-Muslim relations.
The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.
Section I. Religious Demography
The country has an area of 231 square miles and a population of 1.24 million, of whom 46 percent are Bahraini nationals. The citizen population is 99 percent Muslim; Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Bahais constitute the remaining 1 percent. Muslims belong to the Shia and Sunni branches of Islam. The Government of Bahrain does not publish statistics regarding sectarian breakdown among Shia and Sunni citizens, however many international organizations and media indicate that the Shia represent a majority of the country's population.
Foreigners, mostly from South Asia and from other Arab countries, constitute an estimated 54 percent of the population. Approximately half of resident foreigners are non-Muslim, including Christians (primarily Roman Catholic, Protestant, Syrian Orthodox, and Mar Thoma from South India), Hindus, Bahais, Buddhists, and Sikhs.
Some of the tensions between Shia and Sunni Bahrainis stem from social and economic factors. Shia Muslims compose the majority of the low socio-economic status citizen population and have a higher unemployment rate than Sunni Muslims.
Section II. Status of Government Respect for Religious Freedom
Please refer to Appendix C in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for the status of the government's acceptance of international legal standards www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2...
The constitution does not explicitly protect freedom of religion. The constitution provides for freedom of conscience, the inviolability of places of worship, and the freedom to perform religious rites and hold religious parades and meetings, in accordance with the customs observed in the country, and states that Islam is the official religion and Islamic law is a principal source for legislation.
The constitution imposes no restrictions on non-Muslims' right to choose, change, or practice their religion of choice, including the study, discussion, and promulgation of those beliefs. In declaring Islam as the state religion and Islamic law as the source of legislation, the constitution implies that Muslims are forbidden to change their religion. The constitution prohibits discrimination in the rights and duties of citizens on the basis of religion or creed; however, there was no further law to prevent discrimination, there was no procedure to file a grievance, and the Sunni Muslim citizen population enjoyed favored legal and social status.
The government does not designate religion or sect on national identity documents. While the birth certificate application recorded the child's religion, it did not record the sect. The actual birth certificate does not include the child's religion.
The civil and criminal legal systems consist of a complex mix of courts based on diverse legal sources, including both the Ja'afari (Shia) and Maliki (Sunni) schools of Islamic jurisprudence, tribal law, and other civil codes and regulations.
Sharia governs personal status, and a person's rights can vary according to Shia or Sunni interpretation, as determined by the individual's faith or by the courts. In May 2009 the government adopted the country's first personal status law, which regulates family matters such as inheritance, child custody, marriage, and divorce. The law was only applicable to the Sunni population as Shia clerics and lawmakers opposed legislation that would have applied to the Ja'afari courts. The passage of this law institutionalized protections for women such as requiring consent for marriage and permitting women to include conditions in the marriage contract.
Construction of places of worship required approvals from a number of national-level entities, as well as municipal entities. The government's budget for constructing mosques was split evenly between Shia and Sunni projects. In newer developments such as Hamad Town and Isa Town, which often have mixed Shia and Sunni populations, there tended to be a disproportionate number of Sunni mosques.
The press and publications law prohibits anti-Islamic media, but imposed no other restrictions on religious expression or speech. The law allows the production and distribution of religious media and publications. The law does not prohibit, restrict, or punish the importation, possession, or distribution of religious literature, clothing, or symbols. The law does not impose a religious dress code.
Islamic studies were a part of the curriculum in government schools and mandatory for all public school students. The Maliki school of Sunni jurisprudence formed the basis for the 17-year-old curriculum, which does not include the Ja'afari traditions of Shia Islam.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: the Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Islamic New Year, and Ashura.
Restrictions on Religious Freedom
The government generally respected the right of citizens and foreign residents to practice their religion; however, the government continued to exert a level of control and to monitor both Sunni and Shia Muslims. Members of other religious groups that practiced their faith privately did so without government interference and were permitted to maintain places of worship and display symbols of their religion. There were incidents of government censorship of sermons. The government revoked (and later restored) the citizenship of a Shia cleric.
The government did not punish links with co-religionists in other countries, although some government officials expressed concern about Iran's influence on the Shia population.
According to several non-Muslim religious groups, the Ministry of Social Development's (MOSD) restrictions on contact with "foreign" entities caused significant operational difficulties for some churches and other groups. These groups relied on guidance and funding from umbrella organizations based overseas for their operations. The groups reported that the MOSD often did not respond to their requests for permission to interact with their umbrella organizations.
Although there were exceptions, the Sunni Muslim citizen population enjoyed favored status. Sunni citizens often received preference for employment in sensitive government positions, in the managerial ranks of the civil service, and in the military. Shia politicians and activists asserted that the government and certain business elites discriminated against Shia citizens in employment and promotions. Senior civil service recruitment and promotion processes often favored Sunni candidates. Educational, social, and municipal services in most Shia neighborhoods were inferior to those in Sunni communities. Shia politicians and activists asserted that the government naturalization and citizenship processes favored Sunni applicants over Shia applicants.
Only a few Shia citizens held significant posts in the defense and internal security forces, although more were in the enlisted ranks. Although the police force reported it did not record or consider religious belief when hiring employees, Shia continued to assert that they were unable to obtain government positions, especially in the security services, because of their religious affiliation. Shia were employed in some branches of the police, such as the traffic police and the fledgling community police.
Shia citizens were underrepresented in the Ministry of Education in both the leadership and the ranks of head teachers who teach Islamic studies and supervise and mentor other teachers. Although there were many Shia Islamic studies teachers, school authorities discouraged them from introducing content about Shia traditions and practices and instructed them to follow the curriculum.
Curriculum specialists in the Islamic Studies Department at the Ministry of Education's Curriculum Directorate were all Sunni. The curriculum directorate formed a separate committee of Shia teachers and clerics, along with members of the curriculum directorate, to develop the Islamic studies curriculum for the Ja'afari Institute, which is the only publicly funded institution in which teachers can legally discuss Shia beliefs and traditions. There were five registered Ja'afari Hawzas (Shia religious schools) and five registered Sunni religious schools.
International media and NGOs reported extensively on the arrests of more than 200 Shia men and boys in August and September. The arrests were tied to political demonstrations and street violence affecting several Shia neighborhoods and villages. Twenty five of those arrested, including several leaders of two political rejectionist groups and several activists, were brought to trial on charges of conspiring against the government, alleged ties to terrorism, and spreading false information. Other men and boys were prosecuted for engaging in violence and vandalism that affected both Sunni and Shia neighborhoods. The arrests and reports of torture and abuse while in custody strained pre-existing tensions between the Shia and Sunni communities during the reporting period.
In the lead up to parliamentary elections on October 23, the government reaffirmed restrictions on the use of places for worship for political campaigning. A Shia cleric associated with a political rejectionist movement, Shaikh Abdul Jaleel al-Miqdad, was banned from delivering Friday sermons for a period of two weeks. The Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs said that al-Miqdad's sermons violated the ethics of religious discourse, among other things.
Every Muslim religious group must obtain a license from the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs (MOJIA) to operate. Non-Muslim religious groups must register with MOSD to operate. Religious groups may also need approvals from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture, the Information Authority, or the Ministry of Interior, depending on the nature of the group's intended activities. No religious groups submitted registration applications with the MOSD during the reporting period. Altogether 13 non-Muslim religious groups were registered with the MOSD, including Christian churches and a Hindu temple. In May 2010 several Christian churches reported that the MOSD instructed them to re-register, although the MOSD did not provide a reason for its directive. A number of unregistered non-Muslim religious groups, most of which operated without government interference, said they did not seek to formally register with the MOSD because they believed the MOSD would refuse the application of any new non-Muslim religious groups.
Holding a religious meeting without a permit was illegal; however, during the reporting period there were no reports of the government denying religious groups a permit to gather.
The government funded, monitored, and exercised control over official Muslim religious institutions, including Shia and Sunni mosques, religious community centers, Shia and Sunni religious endowments, and the religious courts, which represent both the Shia and Sunni affiliated schools of Islamic jurisprudence. The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs reviewed and approved clerical appointments within both the Sunni and Shia communities. The government rarely interfered with what it considered legitimate religious observances. The government permitted public religious events, most notably the large, annual commemorative march by Shia Muslims during the Islamic months of Ramadan and Muharram.
There were approximately 750 Shia mosques and 460 Sunni mosques, and the government's budget for constructing mosques was split evenly between Shia and Sunni projects. In newer developments such as Hamad Town and Isa Town, which often have mixed Shia and Sunni populations, there tended to be a disproportionate number of Sunni mosques.
There were clashes between Shia villagers and police officers in and around Karranah and Malikiyah villages in mid-December after police officers removed Muharram-related black banners from entrances to at least two villages -- actions considered provocative to many in the Shia community.
The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs maintained program oversight on all citizens studying religion abroad. The government monitored travel to Iran and scrutinized carefully those who chose to pursue religious study there.
Abuses of Religious Freedom
There were reports of abuses in the country.
The citizenship of a Shia cleric and his family was restored on November 4 after the Ministry of Interior revoked it on September 19, citing procedural irregularities in the naturalization application process. Bahrain-born Shia cleric, Sheikh Hussain Al-Najati, was naturalized in 2001. His status prior to naturalization was "stateless," a status that many Bahrain-born Shia held prior to political reforms in 1999. (Stateless status does not provide voting rights; it does impose travel restrictions.)
There were also reports by 23 of the detained Shia activists of being subjected to torture and other mistreatment, including beatings, deprivation of sleep, electrocution, and being subjected to forced standing for long periods of time.
Section III. Status of Societal Actions Affecting Enjoyment of Religious Freedom
Regional Sunni-Shia tensions and historical political divisions continued to affect intra-Muslim relations.
During the campaign of arrests in August and September, a pro-government newspaper repeatedly published inflammatory articles describing many leading Shia politicians and activists, including those from mainstream organizations, as "terrorists." These inflammatory articles served to escalate tensions between the Sunni and Shia communities.
Regular rioting continued in several predominantly Shia villages, with protesters reportedly using both non-violent and confrontational methods including burning of tires, blocking roadways, and throwing of incendiary devices, including Molotov cocktails. The rioting stemmed partly from many Shia communities' perception of unequal treatment by the government under the law and in other areas such as employment. Some rioting and other illegal activity was actively encouraged by political extremists.
Some anti-Jewish political commentary and editorial cartoons appeared, usually linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, without government response.
Section IV. U.S. Government Policy
The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.
U.S. government officials continued to meet regularly with representatives of human rights NGOs to discuss matters of religious freedom among other human rights-related topics.
The U.S. government sponsored the visit to Manama of New York-based Sufi cleric Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Imam Feisal visited several homes during Ramadan and gave a number of talks, attracting positive coverage in local newspapers in subsequent days. Also during Ramadan, the embassy sponsored an exhibit at the American Corner on Islam in the United States. The exhibit illustrated how Muslim-Americans make significant contributions to civil, political, and social life in the United States.
In late July the embassy hosted a Muslim-American lecturer from Columbia University, Zaheer Ali, to conduct a series of film screenings of the documentary New Muslim Cool with Bahraini youth. The documentary explores indigenous American Muslim culture and illustrates Islamic principles of justice, mercy, and compassion. The screenings in Bahrain sparked considerable discussion among attendees on how Islam is practiced among people of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities.
As a result of the participation of Shaikh Salah Al-Jowder in an interfaith dialogue program (under the International Visitor Leadership Program, a U.S. government professional exchange program) in early 2010, Shaikh Salah authored a number of op-ed articles in local newspapers about his experience meeting American families and having interfaith discussions. He called on clerics to increase their cultural awareness and promote interfaith discussions in Bahrain. In subsequent articles over the past few months, some of his sermons have focused on elimination of violence, promotion of tolerance of all people and creeds, and open dialogue among disparate populations.
Amnesty International: Bahrain: "Protester" jailed after unfair trial: Ghazi Ebrahim Farha
UA: 271/11 Index: MDE 11/048/2011 Bahrain Date: 12 September 2011 URGENT ACTION "PROTESTER" JAILED AFTER UNFAIR TRIAL
A Bahraini businessman sentenced to three years in prison by a military court in June after he was convicted of participating in protests, is still awaiting a date for his appeal. Amnesty International believes he could be a prisoner of conscience.
Ghazi Ebrahim Farhan, 31, was arrested on 12 April by plainclothes police officers in his office car park in the capital, Manama. He was arrested without a warrant, blindfolded and taken to a police station in al-Rifa’a Town, in Manama. He was held incommunicado for 48 hours during which he is reported to have been interrogated, tortured and otherwise ill-treated, including by being beaten, forced to remain standing for long periods and suspended by his limbs, causing him severe pain.
He was then transferred to the "Dry Dock" prison in Manama. He was charged by the Military Prosecution with "participating in a public gathering involving more than five people" and "publicising false information and lies through the internet with a view to destabilising the country." He denied these charges and denied to interrogators that he had participated in public demonstrations held at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama or a march by protestors to al-Rifa'a, though he said he had been in his car near the Pearl Roundabout.
He was tried before the National Safety Court of First Instance, a military court. The trial began on 30 May and concluded on 21 June. He was convicted on all charges, although it appears that the only evidence against him that was presented to the court was a “confession” that he alleges he was forced to make under torture. He was not allowed to consult a lawyer until his trial started.
Ghazi Ebrahim Farhan’s lawyer lodged an appeal but no date has yet been set for this. Meanwhile, Ghazi Ebrahim Farhan continues to be held at Jaw prison in Manama where he has very limited access to his family.
On 29 June, the King decreed that all cases linked to the February-March 2011 protests would be transferred to ordinary civilian courts; he then issued a further decree on 18 August (Decree 28/20011) ordering that the National Safety Court of First Instance continue to deal with felony (serious criminal) cases, while misdemeanor (less serious) cases would be referred to the civilian courts. Ghazi Ebrahim Farhan’s appeal is expected to be heard by a civilian court.
Please write immediately in English, Arabic or your own language:
Expressing concern that Ghazi Ebrahim Farhan appears to be a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely on account of his legitimate exercise of his human rights, in which case he should be released immediately and unconditionally.
Expressing concern that, although a civilian, he was tried by a military court in breach of his right to fair trial before an independent and impartial court;
Urging the Bahraini authorities to conduct an immediate independent investigation into his alleged torture and other ill-treatment and bring to justice any officials found responsible.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 OCTOBER 2011 TO:
King Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa Office of His Majesty the King P.O. Box 555 Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 176 64 587// +973 17664587 Salutation: Your Majesty
Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa Prime Minister Office of the Prime Minister P.O. Box 1000, al-Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 175 33 033 Salutation: Your Highness
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khlaifa Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Shaikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 175 31 284 Salutation: Your Excellenc y
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below: Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
URGENT ACTION "PROTESTER" JAILED AFTER UNFAIR TRIAL ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Scores of health workers, opposition and human rights activists, teachers and others are still facing military trials in Bahrain. Months have passed since scores of people demonstrated in Pearl Roundabout in February and March 2011, but the human rights situation in Bahrain is still very grim. Hundreds of people suspected of being connected with the anti-government protests are detained amid serious allegations of torture; scores of them have received unfair trials before military courts; and at least 2,500 others have been suspended or fired from their jobs.
Fifteen opposition figures who led and participated in the demonstrations in February and March were sentenced on 22 June to very harsh prison terms, including seven life sentences, on broadly worded terrorism charges. Their final verdict will be given on 28 September.
Name: Ghazi Ebrahim Farhan Gender m/f: m UA: 271/11 Index: MDE 11/048/2011 Issue Date: 12 September 2011
The Irish Times: Bahrain professor sacked for human rights activities
September 12, 2011
DEFENDING HUMAN rights can be a perilous task. It has cost Abdulla Alderazi his job as a professor in the University of Bahrain and threatened his personal safety.
Last month he received a letter of dismissal from the university informing him of their decision, “for reasons of my activity”, he said.
In Dublin this week for a conference held by Frontline, an international organisation that supports defenders of human rights across the world, Prof Alderazi expressed an unshakeable desire to continue his work as secretary general of the Bahrain Human Rights Society.
“Otherwise the suffering of these victims will continue if we don’t go and document it and report it and show the world what happened.” What has been happening is a push from the people of Bahrain for greater political and social freedoms, in line with the sentiment crossing the region following the Arab Spring.
The professor and his society have been at the forefront of this movement which was forcibly dissolved almost two years ago for advocating personal rights.
“On August 13th, 2010, there was a crackdown and there were a lot of arrests and a lot of violations of human rights,” said Prof Alderazi.
“On September 6th, 2010, the ministry issued a ministerial order dissolving the board of Bahrain Human Rights Society and of course there was huge condemnation internationally.
“They said that we were interfering in politics, the reason normally that they give in this is that we have administrative irregularities. They don’t say exactly what it is but we know that the decision is not directly from the ministry but that it comes from security.”
When the ministry demanded the keys to the society’s headquarters, Prof Alderazi refused. “If you want the keys you can send the police to break into the society and take them,” he told the ministry.
As the Arab Spring movement swept across the region, the situation in Bahrain escalated. A major day of protest was announced on February 14th, 2011, calling for reforms.
“When the Saudi army came to Bahrain then the worst crackdown happened, that is when our work which was more free at that time became more restricted, more secretive and dangerous.”
Much of the society’s work came to focus on frequent visits to Manama hospital where those injured in the protests were being transported to.
Prof Alderazi’s involvement drew the attention of his university employers, who feared that their institution would be associated with the unrest.
“On April 17th, 2011, I received a letter from the university suspending me from work for the reason of my activities, for participating in protests and for a stupid reason like going to the Pearl Roundabout.” Shortly afterwards he was fired.
“I will continue to defend human rights, it is in my blood, I will continue the same, with or without my job back,” he maintains. “I am optimistic that Bahrain will be better in the next few months than Bahrain in the last few months.”
PHR Welcomes Release of 14 Bahraini Medics from Detention and Urges Kingdom of Bahrain to Drop All Charges
Update 12 Sep 2011
Following the release of the detained doctors, PHR remains seriously concerned about the circumstances and medical conditions of the remaining prisoners who have gone on a hunger strike to protest their arrests. This list of detainees, which is according to our current information, is shown below.
Cambridge, Mass. – Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) welcomes the news of the release of 14 Bahraini medics from detention, but remains concerned regarding their medical conditions and the still pending charges. PHR has continually called for their release from detention and recognizes that this news is a positive step forward for the well-being of the medics and their families. PHR now urges the Kingdom of Bahrain to drop all charges against the medics, who were arrested for providing care to protesters during the popular uprising earlier this year. In April, PHR challenged the legitimacy of these charges based on our research in the report Do No Harm, which detailed Bahrain’s systematic attacks on physicians, medical staff and patients. The Kingdom of Bahrain has also repeatedly broken promises to try the medics in civilian courts instead of military hybrid courts. If charges are not dropped and trials go forward, they must adhere to internationally recognized standards of fairness that protect the rights of the accused.
While imprisoned, the detainees’ health significantly deteriorated and many detainees went on hunger strike to protest their detention. The Government of Bahrain must ensure the detainees have full access to medical treatment by independent professionals.
PHR has also received reports of alleged torture in detention, and calls on the Government of Bahrain to allow independent forensic professionals to examine the recently released medics to evaluate whether they have experienced torture or other ill-treatment during their detention.
“While we are relieved to see these individuals released from detention, we call on the Bahraini government to drop the charges against them and to let them seek adequate medical treatment,” said PHR Washington Director and Chief Policy Officer Hans Hogrefe. “The Government of Bahrain should immediately cease all acts of torture and other human rights violations and should hold all perpetrators accountable.”
Still detained, on hunger strike: Ali Mirza Salman Mohammed Mirza Salman Mohammed Ali Ahmed Jawad Hussain Abdunnabi Abbas Hassan Ahmed Hilal Hassan Mahdi Yousef Taha Mansoor Ali Mansoor Jassem Mohammed Habib Jaffar Hassan Mulla Ali Murtadha Ahmed Abdulla Ebrahim Yousef Mohammed Munir Ahmed Al-Sheikh (was admitted to Salmaniya Hospital and has undergone and a surgical operation) Jassem Mohammed Abdulla Mahdi Mohammad Aqeel Mahdi Hussain Abbas Ashoor Murtadha Abbas Ashoor Ali KhalilJaffar Sayed Ali Sayed Salman Yousef Ahmed Khalifa Abbas Jawad Jassem Mohammed Kadhem Shawqi Rahdi Ali Abdurrasool Sayed Ali Sayed Hadi Syed Ali Salman Al-Majed Hisham Khalil Mirza Juma Moosa Jaffar Madan Hussain Ebrahim Madan Jassem Mohammed Jassem Mahdi Jalil Yousef Khalil Ebrahim Salman Hussain Ahmed Hassan Ahmed Sayed Mustafa Ali Mohammed Hussain Hussain Mohammed Hussain Mohammed Jaffar Abdulla Qaisar Haider Abduzahra (Iraqi National) Tho Faqqar Abdulamir Naji (Iraqi National) Ahmed Mohammed Ali Ali Mohammed Ali Hussain Mohammed Ali Ahmed Abduridha Ali Hassan Mohammed Hassan Juma Hussain Ahmed Hussain Sami Ahmed Meftah Fadhel Abbas Mohammed Ali Mohammed Makki Traif Mohammd Abdulla Mansoor Abdulhadi Ebrahim Khalil Murtadha Salah Darwish Ali Abdulemam Saeed Maitham Jassem Mohammed Kadhem Adel Abdushaheed Abdurrasool Mohammed Ali Mansoor Hussain Abduljalil Al-Singase Hussan Mansoor Al-Hujjairi Mohammed Mushaima Baqer Jaffar Al-Shaabani Abbas Ismail Abdulla Abdulla Hsaan Ali Sayed Alawi Sayed Mohsen (Abu Ghayeb) Hussain Abdulamir Al-Saffar Hassan Abdulhadi Al-Mukharaq Salman Abdulhadi Al-Mukharaq Tawfeeq Al-Qassab Jawad Kadhem Sayed Hdei Sayed Nasser Ali Mohammed Hassan bin Rajab Hassan Mohammed Hassan bin Rajab Nader Al-Orrayedh Khalil Ebrahim Al-Halwachi Kadhem Ebrahim Al-Halwachi Yousef Al-Halwachi Jaffar Al-Halwachi Hassan Mohammed Mohsen Al-Osfoor Hadi Sayed Ahmed Hassan Mustafa Salman Laith Ali Jassem Al-Mogahi Fathim Mansoor Omran Redha Al-Dallal Ali Jassem Al-Ghanmi Fadhel Kadhem Ebrahim
Updates on Bahrain
Jaffar Abbas fell in court Sunday 11 Sep during his hearing due to being on hunger strike
12 Sep 2011
In good news, Dr. Masaud Jahromi, along with Lawyer Mr. Taymoor Karimi, Dr. Maytham AlSalman, Hussain Saleemi, Sayed Mohammed AlMosawi and Sayed AbdulNabi AlMosawi were released on bail today pending their trial.
Arrest and beating of an Indian migrant worker by riot police: youtube.com/watch?v=vRYKy8zyTV0. The ministry of interiors tried to blame it to the protesters later. Man being brutally kicked by riot police: youtube.com/watch?v=RA6xyf6Dl6M
Mahdi AbuDeeb, Head of the Bahrain Teacher's Society, announced today that he started a hunger strike demanding that charges against him be dropped and that he be released. He was arrested on the 6th of April and is now undergoing a military trial. More details on his case
12 year old boy being arrested, at minute 1:50 he gets hit on the head by riot police youtube.com/watch?v=kWaSakVpE0s
Two sixteen-year-old boys were arrested 3 days ago Kumail Mohammed AlGhadhban and Mohamed Ali Abbas AlAbbas. Both boys were allegedly subjected to torture and are currently in the prison hospital.
Treating injuries at home: youtube.com/watch?v=nlj99RR9YJc protesters are now using razors to cut their skin to remove the pellets lodged inside. Shots in the eye: yfrog.com/kj7hhodj and hotos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot..
Rubber bullet shots in the back: yfrog.com/h3md1lxj
Ali AlMajed, 32 years old and a US citizen, got arrested in Aali 3 days ago and he is now in the hospital, we are concerned that he may have been beaten/tortured. Ali has been on hunger strike since his arrest demanding to meet with representatives of the US embassy.
Fatima AlBaloushi Minster of Human Rights and Acting minster of health announces permanently hiring those who had been temporarily brought in to replace employees who had been sacked or arrested during the past few months in the ministry of Health. 37 of those being hired have a degree no higher than intermediate (9th grade) or high school diplomas. Copy of the 37 being hired. Source: (Arabic)
Mahdi Sahwan was re arrested after being released a month ago. His house was stormed by security forces at 3am Sunday. He was the chant leader at the Friday rally of Alwefaq and it seems he is arrested again because of some of his anti-government chants. In a protest on sunday demanding the release of Mahdi Sahwan, 16 year old Ali Ebrahim AlHaiki was arrested as you can see in this video: youtube.com/watch?v=oYDjq7yUtu8.
Mahdi Sahwan's arrest comes amongst several other arrests which are starting to take place in a similar fashion of what we saw in mid-March until June; raids on homes at night. We estimate the current number of detainees to be around 400, with nightly arrests and releases.
Jaffar Abbas fell in court Sunday 11 Sep during his hearing due to being on hunger strike yfrog.com/18tttdgj. There are approximately 100 detainees still on hunger strike.
Five students who were expelled from the Bahrain Polytechnic have been summoned to go to the police station Monday 12 Sep morning.
Justin Genglers dissertation on Ethnic Conflict and Political Mobilization in Bahrain and the Arab Gulf which offers very important information and insight into the situation in Bahrain
Breaking people's properties during attacks on villages: youtube.com/watch?v=ulMdYjSk0Fc
Security man kicking an old man for no reason: youtube.com/watch?v=P-fxEbAWFz0
Unfortunately due to statements made by the head of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, Dr. Mahmood Bassiouni, people in Bahrain have now lost trust in the commission. Specially when the king on his last speech at the end of Ramadan used the same words of Bassiouni about the "individual acts" of low rank officials, who are to blame for the sever violations of human rights during the past period, though the final report of the commission is not yet produced. This picture of Bassiouni is one amongst others that are going around on different websites http://twitpic.com/69vmsx. This in no way reflects the views of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, on the contrary, those at the centre have been encouraging people to cooperate with the commission, and to wait for the report to be concluded before reaching any conclusions about it. The sole purpose of sending this picture is to reflect the view of many people in Bahrain.
Important article: Washington Post: Bahrain needs U.S. attention now
Amnesty International: Bahraini health workers released on bail will continue to face military trial
Frontlines blogpost: What kind of people can do a thing like this?
Three important dates to watch:
1. 23rd of September: parliament bi-elections (two people have already secured seats due to not having opponents, or opponents withdrawing) and it is also the date being discussed on social networks as the date of "going back to the pearl square".
2. 28th of September: verdict in the appeal of the 21 political and human rights leaders
3. 29th of September: verdict in the case of the doctors and medics.
As received: Urgent appeal for release of female detainee Reem Hilal.
The female prisoner Maryam Mohd Abdulla, 21 years old,from the village of Malkiya is "A" student in Bahrain Institute. On Friday 1 April 2011 around 4pm, Reema, Maryam's cousin, was arrested at a checkpoint and her child Redha was with her. Police found text messages in her mobile btween her and Maryam. So she was taken with her child to the police station in Hamad Town which made Reda the youngest prisoner in Bahrain. At 8pm Maryam was called by the same police station and was asked to go to them or her house will be attacked if she didn't go. Maryam went along with her mother who took the child Redha at around 8:30 pm from the police station. Maryam and Reema were forced to stand facing wall from the moment Maryam arrived the station until 5am next day Saturday April, 2. Maryam was too thirsty and asked for water, so female officer took her and showed her the water cooler and said "don't ever think about it".
Two other male officers took over the task of torturing Maryam and hit her with their elbows on her back. They assaulted her & described her as "daughter of pleasure" . She was punched and slapped on face and threatened that Reema will be raped if Maryam didn't accuse Reema's husband of taking them to the protests.
In Isa Town station, Dr Nada Dhaif checked on Maryam in the prison and told them that Maryam was in need for X-ray. Maryam and Reema were released on April 27th and were re-arrested after their appeal on June 22nd. Maryam was sentenced to 3months imprisonment while Reem was sentenced to 6months imprisonment. Maryam has been released few weeks ago after finishing her sentence.
Their Family is saying that they were being held solely because they of text messages , in which case they would both be prisoners of conscience who should be released immediately and unconditionally.
We urge you to take every action in your hand to call for release of Reem and to put an end to the threats on their life, and to guarantee their safety and security to get back to their normal life freely and practice their rights in line with the universal declaration of the Human Rights.
The Bahrain Press Association condemns the attack on Reuters's reporter
September 09, 2011 Press Statement:
The Bahrain Press Association condemns the attack on Reuters's reporter & calls on the Bahraini authorities to stop assaulting media professionals
In light of yesterday's quelling to a peaceful rally erupted in the village of A'ali, located to the south of Manama, in which Reuters's reporter Hamad Mohamed Iqbal was shot by rubber bullets fired by security forces, the BPA condemns the incident and wishes to make the following press statement.
Despite peaceful protests taking place all over the Kingdom, the security forces are still using buckshots, rubber shots, teargas canisters to quell protesters. Iqbal's story unfolds as he was leaving one of the protests erupted in the village of A'ali when a riot police vehicle fired rubber shots right to Iqbal's neck causing severe injuries. Iqbal was later moved to a local hospital for treatment, after his condition was stable, he was discharged.
The BPA calls on the official authorities in Bahrain to fulfill its responsibility in ensuring the safety of both local and non-local media professionals and that violations against such individuals are investigated and brought to justice. The BPA hereby calls for a hold of harassment to media professionals while performing their duties.
Hamad Iqbal's incident comes as new testimony to what media professionals face in terms of assaults, on-going rights violations, and killings especially through arrests, interrogations, and torture by the Bahraini authorities. The list of which includes 120 Bahraini medial professionals with tens of foreign reports representing international multi-purposed media shops.
Additionally, what is worrisome about the press realm in Bahrain is that the security forces put much hindrance in the face of foreign media professionals depicting what is going on the island since last February by, among other things, denying them entry. For instance, reporter Michael Slackman of The New York Times and a fellow photographer Sean Patrick Farrell were both shot at from a helicopter hovering over Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout as they were filming a media coverage in the scene amid protests eruption. Please visit the link below: en.rsf.org/maghreb-et-moy..
Another incident was the unjustifiable and forceful deporting of CNN reporter Mohamed Jamjoom on March 16, 2011. Please visit the link below: youtube.com/watch?v=AtRj0SaHkLU
National Security officials arrested Wall Street Journal reporter Alex Delmar-Morgan on March 16, 2011 as he was approaching the Pearl Roundabout in the Capital city of Manama. He was interrogated for three hours before being released. At the same day, the security forces attacked the crew of CBS radio network. Please visit these links: youtube.com/watch?v=mwDghM-RZr4 www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_..
On March 30, the security forces also detained CNN's reporter Amber Lyon and her accompanying team in front of the house of Nabeel Rajab, a human rights activist. They were detained and interrogated for six consecutive hours followed by an official warning to the Ms. Lyon not to film any events occurring in Bahrain without prior official permission. Please visit the following links: youtube.com/watch?v=w2j3DHu18HE cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/04/11/bah..
The Bahraini authorities did not grant entry approval to foreign reports of international media shops such as The NY Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, France 24, CNN, Financial Times, The BBC, and the Wall Street Journal. Some reports were allowed to enter the island but on tough conditions with servillence by the security forces and two escorts from the regime-led Information Authority.
Some other foreign reports were exposed to brutal attacks through social networking websites by pro-regime cyber thugs. NY reporter Nicolas Kristof who was covering the protests of Bahrain. Mr. Kristof is still a target of the regime-led distortion.
The Bahraini authorities expelled the Irish journalist Finian Cunningham after years of living in Bahrain. This was affirmed by Reporters Without Borders that Mr. Cunningham was back home on June 19, 2011. Please visit the following link: ifex.org/middle_east_north_africa/201..
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights issued a detailed report on the violations and assaults experienced by foreign reporters and journalists while performing their duties by Bahraini authorities since the protests broke out in the country in the month of February. Please visit the following link: bahrainrights.org/ar/node/4375
Interim Management Bahrain Press Association BPA
Amnesty LiveWire: Testimonies from Bahrain: A hospital under siege
By a medical worker from Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama.
Thursday 17 March 2011
The morning after martial law was announced in Bahrain, I went to work at the Salmaniya Medical Complex early, only to find that the hospital had been seized by the military.
After hearing that the protesters had been attacked by the army, I went to the emergency room to try and help, but I saw no patients there.
A few minutes later, the military forces starting throwing tear gas into the car park facing the emergency room, and we started getting a few patients. The military started breaking up the cars in the car park and they destroyed a big tent the hospital administration had set up to accommodate excessive casualties.
Ambulances were prohibited from retrieving the injured people and other health centres started calling to say they had patients with serious injuries but no ambulances to transfer them to Salmaniya.
The Minister of Health Dr Nezar Albaharna met with the head of the military to try and convince them to allow ambulances and doctors out to bring at least the severely injured to hospital. They eventually agreed, but as soon as the doctors reached the hospital gate, the military beat them and humiliated them very badly.
At 12 noon, more patients started to arrive. Two were already dead, and a few cases were taken to the operating theatre or the intensive care unit. Among the cases there were two serious injuries – one with a gunshot wound in the thigh and a man with an abdominal injury who needed a bullet removed from his bowels.
When the military began beating any staff who tried to go home that night, the hospital administration announced that nobody was allowed to leave. We slept in the hospital that night.
Monday 11 April 2011
Around 12 noon, while I was working, the hospital administration called me to their office.
When I got there, four masked men carrying guns told me and four other doctors to accompany them to the CID [Criminal Investigation Directorate] for interrogation. When we reached the CID, they called my name and blindfolded me before taking me away in a car. During the trip an officer in the car pushed my head down out of sight.
We reached our destination; a place that smelled like a hospital.
The officer pushed me inside, where a nurse came and took my temperature and blood pressure. I wasn’t allowed to talk or ask what was happening. Then a doctor came and asked me about my health – they discovered that I had a high temperature so they put me on a saline drip and gave me some medicine.
I was blindfolded throughout this whole process, which lasted three hours. The officer, the driver and another man from the clinic were teasing me, saying, “You bloody Shia don’t deserve to live, you should go to Iran”. They asked me to sing Bahrain’s national anthem.
The officer threatened to force the bottle of saline solution inside my mouth, saying, “It will be faster”.
This whole time I didn’t know what was happening – why they had taken me and what they wanted from me.
They returned me, still blindfolded, to the CID, where I was made to wait for an hour before being brought to another building to be interrogated.
Before I was moved again, the officer started slapping my face with both hands. I felt numb and cried then said, “I will take you to the people who can make you confess”.
I was then taken to a room where I could hear people chatting and laughing. One of them immediately said, “Here …we can interrogate you non-stop for 48 hours until you confess”.
They slapped me twice again very forcefully. They kept me standing, blindfolded while I listened to them mock my family and our religious figures.
Later, they kept me standing in a corridor, blindfolded and facing the wall. I could hear people coming and going, and some of them tried to shout in my ears.
Finally about six hours after my horrific ordeal began, my captor made me sign a bunch of papers without reading them – pointing to where they wanted me to sign, which I could see by lifting the blindfold a little bit.
That night I slept on a chair, still blindfolded.
After two days of continuous interrogation, they transferred me to prison. They banned me from calling my family for a week.
I spent 25 days in jail before being released on bail. They told me the King had pardoned me.
A month later, I was surprised when they called me, telling me to attend a military court the next day. I wasn’t prepared, and even had to look for a lawyer. When I arrived at the court, several of my colleagues were also there.
The judge read out the charges against us and we were asked to plead guilty or innocent. When I said I wasn’t guilty and that my confessions were extracted under torture, the judge kicked me out of the court.
To this day, we’re still facing charges before a military court and in the meantime I’ve been suspended from work and my salary has been cut in half.
Disclaimer: This testimony was shared with Amnesty International the week before a military trial of medical workers resumed on 7 September 2011.
Toastmaster Champion: Once raising Bahrain’s flags regionally and internationally, today paid back by indefinite detention
07 Sep 2011
BCHR expresses its deep concern to the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mohammad Ali Shukri, a Toastmaster Champion, the first Arab to ever qualify for the finals of the World Toastmasters Championship, who has been held in detention for five months with no official charges declared against him, only to be recently put to military trial without the notification of his family or lawyer, for practicing his right to freedom of expression.
Shukri, who has retired from his job as a safety coordinator in Bahrain Aluminum Company (ALBA), represented ALBA’s Toastmaster club in a number of championships that he won both locally and internationally. This helped boost the club’s reputation and development, especially since it is the first corporate Toastmaster club in Bahrain. He won the GCC Toastmaster Championship for two consecutive years in 2006 and 2007, as well as qualifying for the finals of the championship internationally in Washington DC where he competed against the world’s Toastmaster champions, proudly raising Bahrain’s flags in the most prestigious speech contest in the world. This achievement has never been matched by anyone in Bahrain or the Middle East to this day, making it the first in 80 years since the birth of the Toastmaster Championship. His dedication wasn’t only directed towards Toastmaster championships but also to his work at ALBA, where he applied his skills and experience helping to conduct Health and Safety campaigns that boosted the morale and productivity of his colleagues.
Shukri is also a great contributor to his community, organizing Youth Leadership programs to help youth reach their full potential. One of the most sought after inspirational speakers in Bahrain, he volunteers by giving speeches with positive messages that aimed at helping his audience develop to their betterment. He has traveled around the world to give speeches and wherever he went, he always showed pride in being Bahraini and raising his country’s status abroad. Shukri has also helped to organize a festival that celebrated Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) message of peace. He is a man dedicated to spreading Islam’s message of brotherhood and unity, as well as one who is devoted to his family and to the betterment of his country. In his youth, he was a member of Manama Basketball team, where he exemplified outstanding sportsmanship and teamwork.
Arrest and detention
On March 24 2011, following the declaration of a State of Emergency in Bahrain, Mohammed Shukri's home got raided in the middle of the night. His five children, the eldest of whom is fifteen years old, were asleep at the time, when they heard loud noises and sounds of people trying to break in. Mohammed told the security forces he would open the door himself, that there was no need to break in, calling for his wife to wear her veil before he opened the door. Around 10 security forces, including commandos, barged in the house and started searching every corner. Some were in uniform while others were in civilian clothing. When they were done, they arrested Mohammed and took both his and his wife's laptops – his wife's was brand new – as well as their son's netbook. They also punctured his car tires on their way out.
After 85 days of his detention, Shukri's family was allowed visitations. During the first visitations his family noticed a significant loss in his weight. On August 22 2011, five months after being detained with no official charges, his family visited him with high hopes of hearing good news but was soon mortified to hear that he was taken to the Military Court on 22 August 2011 without prior notice given to his lawyer or family, despite the King decree that all trials shall be moved to civilian court. Mohammed was falsely charged with "Participation in an illegal gathering in a public place (Pearl Roundabout) with the aim of committing crimes and causing public disorder". The judge however, insisted on adding an additional charge which was "Publicly inciting hatred towards to regime". an ambiguous charge that has been used for years against anyone who express in any means an opposing opinion to that of the government . The hearing was then postponed to 1 October 2011.
The nature of Mohammad Shukri’s arrest and his detention for over five months without charges and without access to family and a lawyer, then to be tried in the military court without notifying his lawyer indicates apparent disregard of international standards of due process, fair trial and detention as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain has acceded.
According to Bahraini law, a suspect must appear before the public prosecutor’s office within 7 days of arrest. If the judge decides that the suspect is a danger to society, he may allow for an additional 45 days of investigation. This process may continue through successive reviews by other judges, but pretrial detention must not exceed 6 months .
Due to Shukri being put in detention for five months with no official charges, only to be recently put on trial, his detention has been illegal by the law of the state. We are further concerned with Shukri being put to trial in Military court, an action which the government stated it would stop as per the cases post-June 1 2011 then has reversed later with a recent decree. It must also be mentioned that Bahrain is a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that: “Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.” The government has failed to do either in Shukri’s case.
BCHR believes that the case of Shukri is an example of many other cases of detainees held beyond the allowed pretrial detention period without charges, in violation to their rights and due processes. Therefore, BCHR calls for the following:
● Immediate release of Mohammad Shukri, and all other detainees held for merely practicing their right to freedom of expression in accordance to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
● Dropping all fabricated charges against them
● Stop the practice of criminalizing one of the basic rights of a human being: the freedom of expression.
● Mental and emotional compensation for any harm caused to the detainee in jail
Delays and misleading information of the true numbers of expelled students to avoid reinstating them
9 Sep 2011
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses its deep concern regarding the Bahraini authorities' continuous delay in reinstating expelled university students who were expelled for practicing their right of expression during the period of protests in February. Despite official media statements, tens of students were exempted from returning to their studies. The authorities failed to provide information regarding the reinstatement of others even with the beginning of the semester approaching, also failing to recognize the occurrence of human rights violations towards students.
In an official statement on reinstating expelled students to the Bahrain Polytechnic, over 20 students were excluded from returning to their studies at the university, as Vice CEO Mohammed Al Assiri stated on the 28th of August: "We have studied every violation on its own, and it resulted in 31 expelled students." He also added: "Information circulating about the number of expelled students lacks accuracy." This came in response to the circulating number of expelled students which he regarded as lacking accuracy and thus called for people to check information from official sources.
Assiri's statement comes in contradiction with statements in local newspapers, from official parties, as well as documents which indicate a larger number of expelled students. CNN reporter Nick Robinson broadcasted on June 14 in a live call with the consultant of the Information Affairs Authority (IAA), Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, that the Bahraini government assured that a number of 47 students were expelled from the Polytechnic after investigations along with 9 students suspended for one year, 3 students suspended for one semester and 5 students given final warnings.
Bahraini Newspaper Al Wasat published a report on the expelled students on July 18 saying a total of 49 students were expelled and 14 others were suspended due to the students' participation in the political events Bahrain had witnessed. The suspensions were based on recommendations made by the Investigation Committee which was made up of representatives from the university and the Ministry of Education.
The BCHR has within its framework documented 56 cases of final expulsion in the Bahrain Polytechnic, as well as 6 one year suspension cases and 1 case of suspension for a semester. The center also has copies of the final expulsion letters of the 49 students.
According to information obtained by BCHR, the decision to reinstate expelled students came after a meeting of representatives of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) with Education Minister Majid Al Nuaimi and the CEO of Bahrain Polytechnic, where the commission recommended the return of all expelled and suspended students before the beginning of the next academic year. However, the statement of the Vice CEO of the Polytechnic indicates that a number of officials in the Ministry of Education and Bahrain Polytechnic have not been cooperative in a transparent and accurate manner with the BICI, as they mislead the public in regards to the true number of expelled students.
Registration has now begun for the upcoming academic semester from the 4th of September to the 17th. As registration is about to end, officials of the Polytechnic have yet to inform students whom are to be reinstated with procedures that will be taken for their return and guarantees of compensation for the arbitrary actions they were subjected to, as well as protection from the recurrence of these actions.
In addition to Bahrain Polytechnic, the University of Bahrain (UOB) has announced that 38 students were excluded from returning to their seats, justifying this by saying that legislative authorities are still looking into the cases they were accused with, despite some not being convicted. On Wednesday, September 7 the university contacted a group of expelled students and told them that the University has decided to reduce the length of the penalty taken against them to suspension for a season and that they will be contacted later to complete the procedures of their return, suggesting that this procedure confirm the charges against them, despite the illegality of their expulsion and the lack of integrity of the investigation.
BCHR believes that the Bahraini authorities' actions of delaying and excluding expelled students from being reinstated, their lack of transparency in announcing the actual numbers of expelled students as well as their refusal to admit that violations have taken place in the students' right to education, does not support the basis needed for reconciliation and return of things back to normal, which could be an omen of the violations reoccurring.
Based on what was mentioned above, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands the following:
For More details on Expelled Universities’ students:
Bahrain Students: Expelled, detained, and prosecuted for expressing their views
Bahrain: Urgent Appeal: Growing violations to the University Students' rights to education and freedom of expression
http://www.alwasatnews.com/3277/news/read/591728/1.html  https://twitter.com/#!/NicRobertsonCNN/status/80399539214884865  http://www.alwasatnews.com/3235/news/read/572902/1.html  http://www.alwasatnews.com/3283/news/read/592837/1.html