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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?

British ambassador: British firms would like to make Bahrain their base; pledging his country's support to Bahrain

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

Find more information about Mohamed Shukri (Word Document)

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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4] 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:

  • Bahrain Polytechnic and Official Parties must publicly announce the numbers of expelled and suspended students in order to maintain transparency.
  • Bahrain Polytechnic and the rest of the university and institutes should reinstate all expelled and suspended students without exceptions in time for the start of the academic semester in September 2011.
  • The Ministry of Education must compensate all expelled and suspended students for the damages that occurred as a result of their expulsion and suspension by forming a committee to look into it.
  • Official parties must take the procedures needed to guarantee the students' right to education based on their competency and regardless of their thoughts or orientations, by investigating with those who were involved in these violations which resulted in the expulsion of hundreds of students.

  • 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
    [1]http://www.alwasatnews.com/3277/news/read/591728/1.html [2] https://twitter.com/#!/NicRobertsonCNN/status/80399539214884865 [3] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3235/news/read/572902/1.html [4] http://www.alwasatnews.com/3283/news/read/592837/1.html

    AP: Bahrain job purges linger as protest flashpoint

    (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali) By BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — One afternoon in May, police in Bahrain led away security guard Mahdi Ali from his job at the Gulf kingdom's state-controlled aluminum plant. He claims he was blindfolded and beaten so severely that the bruises still have not healed.

    His only offense, he insists, is being part of Bahrain's Shiite majority as it presses for greater rights from Sunni rulers who have Western allies and powerful Gulf neighbors on their side. The 44-year-old Ali now counts himself among Bahrain's purged: Hundreds of Shiites — some say thousands — dismissed from jobs or suspended from universities for suspected support for demonstrators.

    "My only crime is being Shiite," said Ali, who claims he has been effectively blacklisted from finding a new job. "I've paid for it by being dismissed, arrested, tortured and insulted." With Bahrain's Arab Spring crisis moving into its eighth month, the mass dismissals remain a major point of anger feeding near-daily street clashes on the strategic island — which is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

    The coming weeks could be critical in assessing the chances for any significant reconciliation efforts in Bahrain. The alternative is an increasingly divided and volatile nation where the region's biggest political narratives intersect: Western security interests, Gulf Arab worries about spillover uprisings and Iran's ambitions to cast wider Middle East influence.

    "Bahrain had these tensions long before the current Arab upheavals. And it may end up as one of the most enduring and most complex dilemmas after the Arab Spring has run its course," said Sami Alfaraj, director of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies.

    Shiites account for about 70 percent of the population of some 525,000 people, but claim they face systematic discrimination by the 200-year-old Sunni dynasty. Bahrain's rulers, meanwhile, court Western and Sunni Arab backing by raising fears that Shiite power Iran is pulling the strings of the protests as a foothold to undermine other Gulf monarchs and sheiks.

    Bahrain's Shiite groups have pledged to boycott elections Sept. 24 to fill 18 parliament seats left vacant since Shiite lawmakers walked out in March to protest the government's crackdowns. A fresh wave of protests could be timed to try to overshadow the voting and embarrass officials.

    There already are signs of escalating violence after months of low-level skirmishes.

    Security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets and bird shot early Thursday to break up crowds gathered to welcome doctors freed from prison after staging a hunger strike. "Down, down Hamad," chanted crowds in reference to Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa as they waited for some of the doctors, who still face charges of aiding the protests.

    The broadest aim of the protests is to break the monarchy's monopoly on power and open room for Shiites in top government and security posts. But the smaller battles — such as the job and university purges — have often become the focus of outrage by protesters and denunciations from rights groups.

    "We are calling for our forgotten civil rights," said Sayed Ahmad, spokesman for a committee formed by activists to aid workers claiming they were pushed out of their jobs. "We don't want to fight Sunnis, but we will stand up against anyone ... trying to cleanse a sect just because of their political views." Ahmad estimates close to 4,000 Shiite workers have lost their jobs since the protests began in February — many fired for missing work either to join the demonstrations or because they were too nervous to venture out during clashes that have left at least 33 people dead.

    Bahrain's biggest labor group, the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions, put the figure at about 2,500, but no definitive numbers are available and its unclear whether all dismissals were protest related.

    Government officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Last month, however, King Hamad urged companies and universities to take steps toward bringing back workers and students pushed out for alleged links to the protests.

    Some doors have been opening. Hundreds of people have returned in the past month, including more than 400 university students and more 100 workers at the state oil company.

    But many activists complain that reinstatements are spotty and still leave hundreds without jobs. Former workers at the state aluminum plant plan a march to Bahrain's Labor Ministry on Sunday in what they call "the rage of the dismissed."

    "I've been almost seven months without a salary," said former computer technician at the plant, Mustafa Sadiq, a 39-year-old father of three children. "If this was the case in Europe, there would be massive protests until they got their rights back."

    The firings also have been brought to the attention of an independent commission investigating alleged abuses during Bahrain's unrest. The findings by the five-member commission — which includes international judicial and human rights experts — are expected Oct. 30.

    A statement by New York-based Human Rights Watch in July called on Bahraini authorities to investigate the dismissals of more than 2,000 workers "apparently as punishment" for backing the protests or following labor union appeals for sympathy strikes.

    In Washington, the powerful AFL-CIO labor group has asked U.S. officials to suspend a five-year-old free trade accord with Bahrain in retaliation for the mass job dismissals and the firing of union leaders. The pact is just one of 17 such bilateral trade agreements with Washington, which also includes Israel, Jordan and Oman in the Middle East.

    This week, investigators are conducting the final interviews for the independent fact-finding commission, which is headed by Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, an Egyptian-born professor of international criminal law and a former member of U.N. human rights panels.

    Among the accounts is a 29-year-old Bahrain University professor who says she was fired in April and later roused from her apartment at 2:30 a.m. and beaten at a police station until dawn. She claims police then presented her with a prewritten confession detailing links to the protests.

    "They forced me to admit to something that I did not do," said the woman, who asked for anonymity because of fear of reprisals from authorities. "Then they let me go." She claims she is not banned from leaving the country or even renewing her passport.

    "And all because I am Shiite," she said.


    See also: HRW: Bahrain: Revoke Summary Firings Linked to Protests

    Washington Post: Bahrain needs U.S. attention now

    By Editorial, Published: September 10

    BAHRAIN HAS BECOME the hidden story of the Arab Spring. While the popular uprisings in Libya, Syria and Yemen have dominated the news in recent months, far less attention has been paid to the tiny but strategic Persian Gulf emirate, which hosts the U.S. 5th Fleet. That’s partly because Bahrain’s ruling al-Khalifa family deflected criticism from the massive crackdown it launched in March by promising to initiate a dialogue with its opposition and implement political reforms. The regime, however, hasn’t delivered — and now it is risking a new explosion of unrest that could destabilize not just Bahrain but the region around it. The latest trouble began with the promised National Dialogue, which unraveled soon after it began in July. The government gave the largest opposition party five out of the assembly’s 300 seats and left some crucial reform issues — such as the reform of parliamentary districts — off the agenda. Most of the opposition walked out before the “dialogue” concluded with several minor recommendations. One of them would increase the powers of the regime’s principal hard-liner, Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, who has been in office since 1971.

    Another conciliatory initiative, a commission to investigate the unrest, has been undermined by the behavior of its Egyptian chairman, who has made public statements preemptively exonerating the ruling family. A promise to rehire thousands of workers fired from their state jobs because of their suspected support for the opposition has been only partly fulfilled. And while some political prisoners have been released — a group of doctors were freed this week after they and other prisoners staged a hunger strike — hundreds remain jailed and the regime continues to use a “court of national safety” to imprison opposition leaders.

    Rather than moving toward reconciliation, Bahrain is more polarized than ever, and the fault line increasingly falls between the ruling Sunni elite and majority Shiite population. Clashes between protesters and police occur almost every night in Shiite villages, and the Aug. 31 death of a 14-year-old boy who the opposition says was struck by a tear gas canister has magnified the tension. Thoughtful Bahrainis worry that a new eruption of mass protests is imminent and that it may lead to a purely sectarian conflict that could spread to Saudi Arabia and even Iraq.

    The United States has considerable leverage in Bahrain — through the 5th Fleet, military aid programs and a free-trade agreement. But the Obama administration has been timid here as elsewhere during the Arab Spring. In May, President Obama made a strong statement about Bahrain during a speech on the Middle East in which he promised to support the cause of democratic change across the region. But there has been no follow-up; no senior U.S. officials have visited Bahrain in months, and the administration has had nothing to say about the deteriorating situation. This is shortsighted: If Bahrain blows up, vital U.S. interests will be at risk. The administration should use its influence now — before the crisis resumes.


    Global Research: Bahrain: US Ally Kills Children… So When Is NATO Intervening?

    by Finian Cunningham Global Research, August 31, 2011

    This is the face of state terror against civilians in the US and British-backed Gulf oil kingdom of Bahrain – the latest victim a boy shot dead by police. But there will be no call by Washington or London for a Libya-style NATO intervention to protect human rights here. No call for regime change. No call for an international crimes tribunal.

    Fourteen-year-old Ali Jawad Ahmad was killed on 30 August when Saudi-backed Bahraini riot police fired a tear gas canister at the youth from close range. On the day that was supposed to be a celebratory end to Ramadan – Eid al Fitr – people across Bahrain were shocked by yet another “brutal slaughter of innocents” by the regime and the stoic silence of its Western backers.

    The teenager was among a crowd of youths who had gathered in a peaceful protest following morning prayers in the mainly Shia village of Sitra, calling for the overthrow of the unelected Sunni monarchy.

    The Bahraini protests against the US and British-backed autocratic rulers have been continuing for nearly seven months despite the military intervention of Saudi Arabia in the Gulf island to crush the pro-democracy movement. Nearly 40 civilians have been killed by state forces since the uprising began in mid-February; thousands more have been injured, imprisoned, tortured or sacked from jobs.

    But the relentless repression – condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and several other rights groups – has failed to halt the pro-democracy campaign. The resilience of the protesters is all the more remarkable given that their cause has been met with cold indifference from Washington and London, and from much of the mainstream media.

    While Western governments have been quick to condemn the rulers of Libya and Syria for alleged human rights violations – launching a full-scale military onslaught on the former and mounting diplomatic sanctions against the latter – these same governments have continued to give full backing to the Al Khalifa dictatorship in Bahrain.

    The mainstream media agenda has dutifully followed suit. While the BBC, CNN etc have descended on Libya and Syria to champion the cause of armed rebels with dubious credentials, these same media outlets have virtually ignored Bahrain where the pro-democracy movement is supported by a majority of the population and which has so far remained peaceful in the face of gratuitous state violence.

    The latest victim of state terror in Bahrain is at least the sixth person to die from the indiscriminate lethal use of tear gas by Saudi-backed pro-state forces. Ironically, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as well as other Gulf sheikhdoms such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have lent diplomatic and military support to NATO’s interventions in Libya and Syria to allegedly defend human rights. Yet these autocrats have been murdering unarmed civilians in Bahrain with impunity and Western imprimatur.

    For several weeks since the Bahraini regime’s initiative of so-called “national dialogue” failed to engage opposition groups, there has been a massive stepping up of indiscriminate use of tear gas in villages deemed to be supportive of the mainly Shia-led pro-democracy movement.

    Riot police have attacked villages on a daily and nightly basis, firing tear gas into homes. Families have had to flee their dwellings in the middle of the night, sometimes by carrying children out of bedroom windows using ladders. Those unable to move – disabled, sick and elderly – have been trapped indoors during these attacks and some have died from acute exposure to the tear gas. The youngest victim was five-year-old Mohammed Farhan [1].

    Pro-democracy sources have labelled the deployment of tear gas as a deliberate tactic of “toxic terrorism”. It is the regime’s way of coercing the opposition groups to enter the dialogue process – which the opposition has dismissed as an empty public relations exercise designed to shore up the status quo of the Al Khalifa dynasty.

    It is scarcely believable that Washington or London is unaware of the Bahraini state terror over recent months and in particular the massive, indiscriminate use of tear gas on civilian homes. Bahrain – a former “protectorate” of Britain – has close links between its ministry of interior and British security personnel. The Gulf island is home to the US Navy Fifth Fleet, from where the entire Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea down as far as the coast of Somalia are surveyed. The territory of Bahrain is less than 60 kilometres long and only 17 kilometres wide.

    Two of the Bahraini villages that have been subjected to heavy tear gas attack are Ras Rumman and Bilad Al Qadeem where the British and US embassies are located. As one pro-democracy activist commented on being asked about official British and American knowledge of improper tear gas use: “They must smell it everyday coming under their doors.”

    But the issue for many Bahrainis is not just mere knowledge, but rather direct approval by Washington and London of what is a state terror tactic against civilians.

    They point out that the upsurge in tear gas deployment followed the visit to Bahrain in the beginning of July by Jeffrey Feltman, the US roving ambassador for the Middle East. Feltman, who was previously ambassador to Israel and Lebanon during the Israeli invasion in 2006, was a strong advocate of the Bahraini regime’s national dialogue, urging “all moderates” to participate.

    It seems more than conceivable that someone with Feltman’s hawkish credentials would have advised the US Bahraini clients to resort to a more coercive policy if the opposition shunned the talks process.

    Feltman has visited Bahrain on at least eight occasions. One of those visits was just before the Saudi-led invasion of Bahrain. “Every time this guy Feltman comes to Bahrain, we see a drastic increase in repression and deterioration in human rights,” said one pro-democracy activist.

    At least three US companies have been identified as suppliers of tear gas to Bahrain, including NonLethal Technologies, Combined Systems and Penn Arms, all based in Pennsylvania [2].

    More recently, Bahraini sources have noted that newer types of tear gas canisters do not bear the usual manufacturer markings [3]; that the canisters are larger therefore dispensing much more smoke [4]; and that the toxicology is much more potent, causing victims to go into convulsions similar to the symptoms of nerve agents [5].

    So, given that the Bahraini regime can kill civilians and children without a murmur from Washington or London, then it is reasonable to conclude that their avowed noble interventions in Libya and Syria are as pungent and as thick as the smokescreens hanging over Bahraini villages.

    Finian Cunningham is a Global Research Correspondent based in Belfast, Ireland. He was expelled from Bahrain for his critical journalism on 18 June 2011. cunninghamfin@yahoo.com


    [1] Victims of Bahraini state terror, including Mohammed Farhan (5) and other victims of tear gas intoxication: http://bahrainrights.hopto.org/en/node/3864

    [2] Video detailing US suppliers of tear gas to Bahrain: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0iOYpiR4..

    [3] Pictures showing newer tear gas canisters with no markings: www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.24138642589604..

    [3] Video of new, larger tear gas canisters that engulf homes: youtube.com/watch?v=lJj6dRPMup4

    [5] The more lethal effects of new tear gas causing convulsions in victims: youtube.com/watch?v=EypDipIHL7U