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Letters on Bahrain from the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America

Letters on Bahrain

21 September 2009

Dr. Ebrahim Ahmed Aljanahi President, University of Bahrain Fax: +973 1744 9900

Dear Dr. Aljanahi:

On behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA), I am writing to you to express our concern at the disciplinary action taken against Ms. Noor Abbas, a student at the University of Bahrain. Earlier this year, Ms. Abbas circulated a statement on behalf of the Student Union List criticizing some policies and facilities at the University.

MESA was founded in 1966 to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa. The preeminent organization in the field, the Association publishes the International Journal of Middle East Studies and has more than 3000 members worldwide. MESA is committed to ensuring academic freedom and freedom of expression, both within the region and in connection with the study of the region in North America and elsewhere.

Universities, their administrators, and their faculty, have a special obligation to encourage free inquiry and discussion on their campuses. We should lead by example. CAF, a committee composed primarily of university faculty members (many with administrative experience), therefore strongly urges your university to reconsider the disciplinary action you have taken in this case. The statement circulated by Ms. Abbas, while critical of some University policies, was well within the bounds of reasoned discourse. It would seem to be more worthy of a reasoned than a punitive response. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Virginia H. Aksan MESA President Professor of History, McMaster University

cc: Dr. Majed Ali Al-Nuaimi Minister of Education and President, Board of Trustees of the University of Bahrain Fax: +973 1768 0161, 1768 4493 Email: info@batelco.com.bh, akhbar-alterbia@maktoob.com

Her Excellency Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Washington, DC 20008 Fax: 202 362 2192

Mr. Nabeel Rajab President, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Manama, Bahrain Fax: +97 31 7795170 http://www.mesa.arizona.edu/caf/letters_bahrain.html

A member of the Ruling Family assaults an elected opposition figure

A member of the Ruling Family assaults an elected opposition figure

A series of attacks and harassments against the largest political group in the country

The BCHR calls for implementing “the rule of just law” rather than the “rule of the tribe”

“If man is not to be compelled to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, human rights should be protected by the rule of law” (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

15 September 2009 The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights is highly concerned for the assault by a military officer, Brigadier-General Shiekh Hamad Bin Salman ALKhalifa, who is a member of the ruling family, against Fadhel Abbass (Mr.), an elected member of the Manama Municipal Council who represent the largest political group in the country, Al-Wefaq .

The attack took place at 11 am on September 2, 2009 at the entrance of Ministry of Municipalities following an argument on a minor issue which was the place where Fadhel Abbass parked his car. The attack was repeated few minutes later at the office of the Minister of Municipalities. One hour after the attack, Fadhel Abbass submitted a complaint to the police. The complaint could be referred to the military court, procedures of which are not public and which is unlikely to take any action against the assaulter.

A week later, when the incident was reported in a local semi-official newspaper, the Prime Minister, who is also a member of the ruling family, asked the Minister of Municipalities to make reconciliation between the two parties. Fadhel Abbass and the Al-Wafaq society, to which he belongs, have been calling only for a public apology by the military officer. Fadhel Abbass expressed fears of retaliation and has already been threaten by the military officer to take action against him and his family.

Worth noting that it is not unusual that members of the ruling family commit abuses against other citizens, without being held accountable for their deeds. On Sunday 2nd March 2008, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Transportation hit with his car a young worker near the ministry building. The worker was standing to direct drivers not to pass through because of road constructions. The undersecretary hit the worker with his car and continued his way through, while many people were watching. The worker was injured in the right leg and was taken to hospital by an ambulance. A member of BCHR advice the victim to press charges against the undersecretary but the young man was reluctant knowing the influence of the undersecretary who is a member of the ruling family. On an “advice” by an employee at the same ministry, the young worker went to the police and canceled the case.

As for Al-Wefaq society, it is not an isolated incident against its members. Although it is supported by 62% of total votes in the last 2006 election, the society was subjected to harassments and defamation campaigns by semi official media. On 30th march 2004, the organization was threatened publicly by the Minister of Labor and social affairs to be closed down if they continue with their campaign calling for constitutional reforms. In April 2004, members of the society were arrested for collecting signature on a petition related to the same issue.

On 21st May 2004, the two main spiritual leaders of Al-Wefaq society and many of its senior members were among hundreds of people who were physically attacked when the Special Police Force suddenly attacked an authorized peaceful demonstration. The king took advantage of the incident to assign a new minister of interior in replacement for the former sick minister and advised the victims to complaint to the court. No investigation was conducted in the incident, and members of Al-Wefaq Society who complained to court lost their cases . To date, no answer has been given for why the demonstration was attacked and the whey the prominent religious and political figures were assaulted and humiliated, leaving a sore feeling of oppression and humiliation.

On 6th October 2005, the society reluctantly decided to re register itself in accordance with the restrictive low on Political societies avoiding its closure, the decision lead to a split in the organization.

In 2006 the society decided to end its boycott to the election despite their continued disagreement to the amendments to the constitution and election system declared by the new King, hoping for gradual reforms. However, in the council which was manipulated by the ruling family, Al-Wefaq was marginalized as minority despite that they are the largest block in the elected council. Furthermore, defamation and threats against the society top leaders continued. Loyal members of the Royal court, such as Shaikh Al-Saedi occasionally attacked the society spiritual leaders using the press and mosque prayers.

During 2008, two representatives of the society were threatened by the Minister of Interior, who is a member of the ruling family, to be imprisoned after delivering critical interventions at a UN conference on discrimination in Geneva and at press conference on sectarian discrimination at the US Congress in Washington.

The government used to put pressure on Al-Wefaq society to use its religious and political influence to suppress other shia’ groups, by blaming the society for any unrest in the Shia’ areas or any activities that does not comply with the restrictive laws. The Bahrain center for Human rights calls for: 1. Implementing the rule of just law rather than the rule of tribal system, where members of the Ruling family abuse their unjust privileges and enjoy impunity 2. An independent and neutral investigation in the physical assault against Fadhel Abbass making the results public, bringing the perpetrator to a affair trial and redressing the victim 3. Amending the political system; in text, institutions and practices to reflect the well of the people by implanting the equal right of citizens to elect their representatives in a fair election and real democratic system where checks and balance are maintained. 4. Securing freedom of association and the ability for political groups to operate freely without restrictions or intimidation as this is a main pillar of a real democracy

As stipulated in Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: • Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. • The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Finally, as stated in the Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”

BCHR: A University Student Penalized for Distributing Critics to Academic Status

A University Student Penalized for Distributing Critics to Academic Status

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is gravely concerned about extending the deterioration in the status of freedom of expression in Bahrain to include university students as the recent victims of attack on the practitioners of that right. The administration of the University of Bahrain (UOB) - the only national university – produced a resolution to punish Miss Noor Husain- a business college student - by revoking a semester of her academic record in reprisal of "distribution of papers constituting abuse to the university and its administration, as well as inciting and provoking students against the university regulations."

Noor (22yrs) -the Student Affairs Officer at the Bahrain Youth Society- is active student in the UOB and was involved in the distribution of a statement issued by the Student Unity bloc and circulated among University students on the Bahraini Student Day, marked February 25th. The statement calls for "setting guiding regulations for private universities under the auspices of the UOB- The National University – responsible for embracing all Bahrainis, warned of a systematic policy within the University which may force students to abandon it to private universities known of its inferior quality of education". The UOB administration considered the statement to be abusive, tarnishing its reputation and provocative to students against its regulations.

In response, the University formed a committee, formed of five members, to investigate into the matter. Miss Noor was interrogated and her case was dealt with as a security matter which threatens the security of the country in terms of the nature of the questions. She was asked for her political affiliation, the political parties which supports her and the type of relationships she has with other students. Noor was informed that the UOB regulations prohibit the distribution of this type of publications.

Noor, on the other hand, expressed her commitment to the regulations of the university and her quest to, peacefully and democratically, develop them. She has affirmed her belief in the content of the said statement which calls for introducing reform in the educational system in Bahrain and providing sufficient fund to the budget of the UOB to ensure its renaissance and development.

The committee's report confirmed the charges against Noor and exhibited sensitivity to the fact that she appeared insistent and "did not show remorse or regret for the content of the statement, rather expressed determination to issue similar statements". Noor refused to sign the minutes of the meeting, which contained many points that were not referred to or discussed, considering it falsification of facts which did not occur.

BCHR considers punishing Noor Husain for exercising her right to freedom of expression is a blatant breach of Bahrain's international obligations as a member of the Human Rights Council and a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by Bahrain in September 2006. In particular, ICCPR Article 19 which refers to:"the right to hold opinions without interference, the right to freedom of expression; which includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice".

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls the University of Bahrain to immediately revoke the penalty against Noor Husain, or any other penalties related to exercise of her right to freedom of expression or student activities. The BCHR calls the Government of Bahrain to positively deal and support student activities in various dimensions; political, cultural, social and human rights, instead of looking at its from the security perspective only.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the Bahraini Authorities to:

1 - Abolish the penalty imposed on Noor Husain, not to harm her academic record or impose any other sanctions because of her stance. 2 - give more space for freedom of expression in the University of Bahrain and eliminate any form of penalties for its students or employees - administrators or academics - for exercising their natural right to freedom of expression. 3 -Amend the laws and regulations of the UOB to conform with the right to freedom of expression as outlined in the international covenants ratified by Bahrain. 4 - To encourage all forms of activities among students (Political, cultural, Social and human rights) and stop the traditional dominance on those activities or deal with it as issues of security.

APPEAL and TAKE ACTION TO:

- Dr Majed Ali Al-Nuaimi Minister o Education and President of Board of Trustees of the University of Bahrain Fax:+973-1768-0161,1768-4493 Email: info@batelco.com.bh, akhbar-alterbia@maktoob.com

- Dr Ebrahim Ahmed Aljanahi President of University of Bahrain Fax: +973 1744 9900

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

MORE INFORMATION: For further information contact Nabeel Rajab, BCHR President, Manama- Bahrain, Tel: +973 3963 3399 / 3940 0720, Fax: +973 1779 5170, E-mail: nabeel.rajab@bahrainrights.org, info@bahrainrights.org, Internet: www.bahrainrights.org, www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=50727622539, www.twitter.com/bahrainrights, bahraincenter.blogspot.com

The Arrest of the BCHR president for his solidarity with Al-Mirbati's Family-Al-Mirbati the Forgotten Prisoner in the Saudi

In Solitary Confinement Since 7 Years

Abdul-Raheem Al-Mirbati the Forgotten Prisoner in the Saudi Jails

The Arrest of the BCHR president for his solidarity with Al-Mirbati's Family

August 2009 The Bahrain Center for Human Rights

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights express their deep concern for receiving information on a serious deterioration in the health of the Bahraini detainee in the Saudi prisons Mr. Abdul-Raheem Al-Mirbati, who has been arbitrarily detained without a clear charge and without presenting him to any judicial body. They also express their concern and protest for the arrest of the BCHR's president Nabeel Rajab for his solidarity with Al-Mirbati's family in front of the Saudi embassy in Manama on Tuesday 25 August 2009.

Several weeks ago, and in protest against the arbitrary detention of Al-Mirbati, his wife (Um-Usama) who is wheelchair bound is sitting with one of her sons and one of her daughters from 10 o'clock in the morning every Tuesday in front of the Saudi embassy in Manama for one hour. She had informed the BCHR that she intends to continue her protest in front of the Saudi embassy on a weekly basis until her husband is released.

Nabeel Rajab was present in the protest on Tuesday 25 August in solidarity with Al-Mirbati family. Before the protest was over a security force made up of three cars and headed by the officer Ahmad Fleifel came and arrested the four protestors and they are three from Al-Mirbati's family and Nabeel Rajab. Fleifel insisted on taking the four to the police station in Um-Al-Hassam, in the police car and refused that they come in their personal cars. The BCHR president stayed for almost two hours in the police station before he was permitted to leave and he was warned that any future protest in front of the Saudi embassy will be suppressed by force by the riot police even if the protestors were only four people. Note that the Bahraini law allows the security forces to intervene to disperse any gathering of more than four people in a public place without prior permission.

The Bahraini detainee Abdul-Raheem Al-Mirbati (50 years old) is a father of three boys and three girls; he is detained in the Saudi prisons since 7 years without being presented to any judicial body. He is languishing in a solitary cell with almost no air and access to the outside world.

Since the moment of his arrest, Abdul-Raheem Al-Mirbati has been transferred to several Saudi prisons, the first was a prison in Medina then Jedda, Riyadh, Asir and was finally brought to the prison of the Eastern Region. Based on what members of his family stated, Al-Mirbati faced in the early years of his detention the worst types of torture, including electric shocks and beating all parts of the body, strapping the legs and hands with heavy metal chains throughout the period of imprisonment, he was even left for years with his hands and legs tied and his eyes covered all the time. Since his arrest, Al-Mirbati is languishing in a small solitary room where he can hardly stretch and lay in, and in light of cold weather without blankets or sheets sufficient to cover his body. Al-Mirbati suffered recently from severe bleeding which is feared to be life-threatening. Since the moment of his detention, his health and mental status led to the loss of half his weight and his eyes protruding, and is almost losing his ability to speak or eye-sight. His family asked the prison administration to present him to a doctor to identify his health condition and if it is life-threatening, however this request has not been responded to until now.

Since his arrest and until now, no one knows why he has been arrested or why he has been kept for such a long period, and that he has not been presented to any judicial body. His wife (Um-Usama) and his family, who he has been supporting, are living in a severe mental suffering for not being able to do anything that can help in the release him. It is believed that due to the suffering and mental pressure, the wife suffered from a stroke that resulted in a physical disability, which made her lose her ability to stand or walk, and was a reason for her stopping to visit her husband in jail since more than two years. During his stay in prison, his mother passed away without seeing her son since his arrest, or being able to say goodbye. His children are usually permitted to visiting him in prison twice a month, on the condition that the period of the visit does not exceed 30 minutes of a recorded and taped visit with videos installed in the ceilings and walls of the visit room, and with the presence of Saudi security officer who sits between Al-Mirbati and his children.

Whereas the Bahraini government failed to take any action or measure to return its citizen Abdul-Raheem Al-Mirbati from the Saudi prisons, it has not even made any statement or presented any protest to this inhumane position from the Saudi authorities, it even failed to demand that he be presented to court. We saw that it instead intimidated Al-Mirbati's crippled wife and her children who are peacefully protesting outside the Saudi embassy, by threatening them to use violence if they returned to protest in front of the Saudi embassy, indifferent to the sufferings that this family is living who lost their supporter since seven years without any known reason. The Bahraini government's indolent attitude raises suspicion on its complicity with its neighbor Saudi Arabia in keeping Al-Mirbati detained in an arbitrary manner for such a long period.

Since the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a member in the Human Rights Council, it consequences international obligations on it more than any other country towards the international conventions and human rights standers, and it is expected to respect the international human rights law and covenants that it is part of. Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile", and Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that, "Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law. 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. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgment."

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights bears the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, members in the Human Rights Council, full responsibility for the health deterioration of the Bahraini citizen Abdul-Raheem Al-Mirbati, or what might happen to him as a result of that. The BCHR demands the two governments to work on:

1. The prompt release of Abdul-Raheem Al-Mirbati from the Saudi prisons.

2. He must be immediately removed from the solitary cell and be placed in a cell shared with others, until he is released.

3. Be presented to a specialized doctor and to provide him with the necessary treatment, and to inform his family of what he is suffering from and how serious it is.

4. Investigating the torture and abuse claims he faced, and to bring to trial whoever is proven to commit those crimes.

5. Compensating the long period of illegal imprisonment and to bring those responsible for that to trial.

Tweet for Human Rights in Bahrain

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights announces the start of its Twitter feed to keep readers up to date with the latest human rights news in Bahrain as soon as it happens. Readers can view and follow the BCHR twitter feed at the following web address:

http://twitter.com/BahrainRights

We also want to start a new trend in Bahrain by encouraging others to make use of Twitter to discuss and report on local human rights issues by using the hashtag #BhRights.

Twitter is a powerful method to communicate in real time and bypass state attempts to censor information.

To learn more about Twitter and how it can be used for human rights activism please read the The DigiActive Guide to Twitter for Activism.

(BCHR/IFEX)- Special forces deployed to prevent public figures from expressing views on Independence Day

Alert Special forces deployed to prevent public figures from expressing views on Independence Day

(BCHR/IFEX) - The Bahraini authorities deployed armed special forces to prevent well known public figures from expressing their views in a public gathering to celebrate the 38th anniversary of Bahrain's Independence Day, on 14 August 2009.

Three days earlier, the president of the Al-Attar Center was phoned by an official from the Interior Ministry advising him that the event was forbidden and utmost force would be used to prevent it. The administrator of Al-Attar was summoned to the Central Governorate at around noon (local time) on 13 August and was advised of the same prohibition, but he gave assurances that the event would not be held at the Al-Attar premises. The security officials did not let the Al-Attar president leave until he signed a statement taking responsibility if the celebration was held. At mid afternoon of the same day, the Al-Attar Center was surrounded and all entries leading to it were blocked by armed special forces personnel, to prevent anyone from coming closer.

Half an hour before the launch of the event, a press conference was held by the organisers and was broadcast via the internet to advise of the cancellation of the celebration at the Al-Attar Center. According to the organisers, they made their decision in order to prevent any form of confrontation between people who were eager to attend the event and the security forces.

In the press conference, the organisers expressed their astonishment at the ban prohibiting the public expression of views in a celebration which aims "to revive a national day." Hasan Mushaima, the secretary general of the HAQ Movement, stated that "the celebration was to enshrine a national day in the sentiment of the people, and was not meant to cause any troubles." In a communiqué released at the press conference, the organisers said, "It is well known that people liberated after a prolonged colonisation celebrate the day of (the colonisers') departure from their territory, as they consider it a sign of victory and pride."

The planned celebration was to be composed of speeches by some popular figures, short clips and poems recited by youth and children, as well as distribution of sweets and a pamphlet shedding light on the historic event in Bahrain during independence in the early 1970s. It should be mentioned that the authorities do not consider 14 August to be a national day, rather, they celebrate a national day on December 16th, when the late Amir was enthroned in 1971.

The president of BCHR, Nabeel Rajab, commented on the event: "It is a very strange action by the local authorities to deploy force to prevent people from expressing their views of what they consider a national day and celebrate in a civilised way." He added, "The authorities are hysterical in dealing with any form of freedom of speech, especially when it occurs in public premises."

BCHR considers the attitude of the Bahraini authorities to be alarming and expresses concern for the deterioration in the level of freedom of expression. BCHR calls for: - the Bahraini authorities to show respect for the basic rights of freedom of expression and assembly, as secured by international covenants. - the authorities to abide by their vows and commitments in the ratified ICCPR, particularly its articulation focusing on the right to freedom of expression. - the Bahraini laws, which have been used as a legal means of repression of all forms of expression, to be nullified or modified to come in line with international human rights conventions.

Source Bahrain Center for Human Rights Manama Bahrain info (@) bahrainrights.org Phone: +97 33 9633399 Fax: +97 31 7795170

http://www.ifex.org/bahrain/2009/08/24/public_event_banned/

The Public Prosecution Restricts Freedom of the Media in dealing with Government Corruption

The Public Prosecution Restricts Freedom of the Media in dealing with Government Corruption

While Allows itself to Use it in Cases against Activists and Opponent

15 August 2009

The Bahraini press on 2 August 2009 quoted the Acting Public Prosecutor, the First Public Lawyer Abdul-Rahman Mohammed , stating that, "The press leading the public opinion in a way that affects the course of justice is a matter that obligates accountability and punishment, regardless of the truth that this guidance might include or the falsehood of it. Therefore, and in order to ensure the proper course of justice and in order to avoid affecting the judiciary and in implementation of the Constitution's provision that decides that the accused is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law that guarantees the right to defend him or herself, and what the Penal law and Press law state about the prohibition of the dissemination of matters that could affect the judiciary and public prosecution in charge of the investigation, or that influence the witnesses that might be called to testify".

This statement was said in relation to a corruption case against officials in the Bahrain Institute of Political Development, a government institution which was established to dominate political work and to guide and train the members of the Shura Council and the House of Representatives and cadres of political societies as a replacement for the the American NDI foundation.

Nabeel Rajab, president of the BCHR stated, "The Public Prosecution by that statement wants to restrict and limit the freedom of media in addressing issues relating to corruption in government bodies, however at the same time it has condemned itself and condemned the state-controlled mass media for the direct influence on the judiciary in several past cases during the last four years, relating to the arrest and trial of dissidents and human rights defenders, the last of these cases was the group of 35 activists who were maliciously accused of being involved in a terrorist plot, and by an order of the Prosecution they were exposed through government television and media before being presented to court and being finally released by a Royal decree". Rajab added, "We stress in this matter on what the Public Prosecutor said That 'the press leading the public opinion in a way that affects the course of justice is a matter that obligates accountability and punishment', and we add 'even if it were by a request or guided by the Public Prosecution'."

The BCHR refuses any legal justifications of restricting the freedom of press and especially in addressing issues of corruption and violations of human rights, and refuses restricts on the freedom of human rights defenders in using mass media in their human rights work. Thus, it asks the Public Prosecution to commit to the principle of the 'innocence of the accused prior to his or her conviction ' by not publishing any information that might be harmful to the detainees and especially human rights defenders and the ones accused in cases of public matter. It also asks the parliamentary and judicial bodies to open an investigation in all trelated violations commited by the Public Prosecution and to prosecute the violators and reform this institution, and to amend the laws in a way that prevents such violations from happening again, and to compensate the affected. The BCHR also calls on the affected to file civil cases in order to reveal the truth and mend the material and moral damages, and to address the specialized international bodies in this matter.

Activist Mohammed Al Sankees Dismissed from his Work Because of his Rights Activism

BAHRAIN: Human Rights Defenders Subjected to Job Dismissal and Income Cut-off

Activist Mohammed Al Sankees Dismissed from his Work Because of his Rights Activism

www.bahrainrights.org 3rd August 2009

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) express their deep concern about the escalation in targeting human rights defenders and opposition activists in Bahrain. The Bahraini Authorities, and without prior notice, have recently taken a measure to terminate the services of human rights activist Mohammed Abdullah Alsankees of his work at the Ministry of Works after more than 22 years of employment in the same ministry.

Mohammed Alsankees, in his forties, is the founder and chairman of the Committee Against Inflation (High Prices), which was founded in 2006. He had a distinct role in the management of his Committee and in shedding light on its theme subject. He was also an active member of the committees for the defense of activists, political prisoners and detainees of conscience, and distinguishably contributed in social work when chaired the Social Center at Maqaba village for a period of time. Alsankees participated in joint activities with the Committee of Unemployed, until just before his arrest last December 21st, 2007 in a campaign waged against activists of popular committees and human rights defenders.

During the nineties, Mohammed Alsankees had been dynamic in the social activities as well as at the popular demands during which period, he was numerously arrested due to his role in the collection of signatures on what is locally dubbed as the 1994 popular petition calling for the restoration of the democratic life and the revitalization of the Constitution in 1973. Mohammed was held hostage by the Security Authorities in exchange for his younger brother, Adel Alsankees, who was wanted by the Authorities for his participation in the said petition and the steady protests during that period. This had had an impact on most of Alsankees family members who were subjected to arrests and their houses were repeatedly raided late at night. In addition to Mohammed himself, this had resulted in the incarceration of 70 yrs old mother- Fatema Ashoor- for a day and his 27 yrs old sister- Malkah Alsankees, a teacher at the Ministry of Education was detained for more than two months without any contact with her family during the detention period. Amnesty International archived numerous reports about the suffering of Alsankees family then.

Mohammed was repeatedly subjected to beatings by Security Forces in more than one popular protesting activity; the most apparent was when participating in a peaceful sit-in in front of the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), calling for the release of detainees of the "Airport" incident which occurred on 25th December 2005. Because of that beatings and collective punishment, Mohammed suffered from deep injury in one of his leg as well as in his back spine, a suffering which he is still enduring. The Security Forces did not cease by the brutal attack on Mohammed, rather, it later filed a lawsuit filed accusing him of assaulting a public officer. Aftermath that ordeal, Mohammed found himself before a trial that lasted until last May, when the case was suspended, among outstanding security cases - a label used by Authorities to identify cases involving detainees in popular protests and other rights activities.

Alsankees was arrested during the protests which came after the death of activist Ali Jassem on December 17, 2007, the commemoration day of the "Martyrs and Victims of Torture" in demands of prosecution of torturers reparation and justice for the victims of torture in the previous period. Since its founding in 2003, the National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture has been annually celebrating that day, which has been fiercely resisted by the Authorities, resulting in arrests and injuries resulted from the use of excessive force to prevent its activities.

Mohammed Alsankees spoke to BCHR detailing the physical and psychological torture he suffered during arrest and interrogation in December 2007. This included beatings with a baton on the sensitive areas of his body, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, sexual harassment, and stripping of all clothes during the interrogation and standing for long hours in the cold weather in the open yard of the CIB offices. After seven months of detention, he was sentenced, among a group of human rights activists of popular committees, to a term of 5-years imprisonment, to be released by royal pardon on April 12, 2009 under a general amnesty to include most of the detainees and defendants in all the cases of rights activities and political protests. After his release from prison, Mohammed returned to work on April 19, 2009 where he resumed his previous post as a laboratory technician at the Ministry of Works until the date of his dismissal on July 20, 2009, i.e. after more than three months from the date of his release and return to work. But what raises suspicion is the backdated discharge of Mohammed marked to 30th March 2009, four months of returning to work, the BCHR believes that this to do with trying to deprive him of the advantage of the amnesty, which was expected during the period in light of the increasing popular protests and the numerous reports about the deterioration of human rights status in Bahrain.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has strong beliefs that the reasons behind the dismissal of Mohammed Alsankees is related his involvements in rights committees. It is also to deliver an indirect message to the rest of the human rights defenders, in order to daunt them and thus dissuade them from continuing their activities in detecting violations and defending human rights values. Targeting and intimidation by the security authorities against human rights defenders in Bahrain have been recurring in different styles, including smear and defamation by involving them in ethical issues, fabrication of criminal charges and remanding them in custody on charges relating to issues of violence and terrorism, abduction and brutally beating them before leaving them on the road in miserable condition. Some of them were harassed or sexually assaulted. Dismissal from work and threatening the livelihood of activists is an old style of harassment the Authorities is reviving after it was ceased during what was known as the political openness since the 2000.

In this regard, Nabeel Rajab- the BCHR president- stated that: "Terminating the livelihood of activists and human rights defenders and targeting their source of income could not be carried out by a State that respects the humanity of its people". He added:"The mounting campaign against them has become a source of concern for all regional and international institutions".

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights call for:

1 – The immediate reinstatement of Mohammed Alsankees in his work, without any reprisals and conditions, as well as cease harassing him through his only source of income. 2 - Stop targeting and attacking human rights activists in any form. 3 – Initiate a serious dialogue with the actors in the society instead of the continued repression process.

Bahrain; state terrorism against opponents at home and in exile

Lord Avebury, the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group Cordially invites you to a seminar on Bahrain; state terrorism against opponents at home and in exile A desperate regime seeks revenge from its pro-democracy opponents through acts of terrorism; its latest addition to a dossier of crimes against humanity. Come and listen to the personal testimonies of victims of Bahrain’s state terrorism 11.00 AM, Thursday 6th August 2008 1 Abbey Gardens (Annexe to The House of Lords), London SW1P For further information please contact: Lord Avebury: 020 7274 4617, Email: ericavebury@gmail.com

Attack on 3 Bahraini activists in London- BCHR calls the British government for an urgent investigation in the attacks

The Attack on Two of the Bahraini H R defenders in London and an Attempt to Burn the House of a political activist After a Campaign Accusing the Current Bahraini Ambassador in London of Violations during his Presidency of the National Security BCHR calls upon the British government for urgent investigation in the attacks

22-07-2009 In a serious and particular progress which may represent a new phase of targeting Bahraini activists outside their country, both Mr. Abbas Al-Omran – board member in the BCHR – and Mr. Ali Mushaima – administrative member in the Committee of Unemployed and Low-income – were subjected to physical abuse in the evening of 2 July 2009 in one of the streets of London, they then received a call warning them from continuing their protests in front of the Bahraini embassy. On 6 July 2009, the house of the Bahraini political opponent Dr. Saeed Al-Shehabi was exposed to a deliberate attempt of fire where the house's front and the car of Al-Shehabi's daughter were burnt. Police investigations showed that the fire was deliberate. It is to mention that Since the last 2 years a group of Bahraini activists obtained the right to political asylum in UK, and it has witnessed as well the escalation of protest acts especially after appointing an intelligence officer accused of Human Rights Violation as an ambassador for the Bahraini government in the UK.

According to the testimonies of Ali Mushaima and Abbas Al-Omran, in the evening of 2 July 2009 and when they were returning from an educational activity heading towards their place of residence in London, they were subjected to physical abuse by people who seemed to have been waiting for them in of the street corners. The group was made up of three people in their mid twenties and who were of African origins, and who were wearing head masks. Both Al-Omran and Mushaima attempted to escape the attack, but the attackers continued to chase them until Al-Omran fell to the ground due to the severity of the beating he was subjected to. His falling on the ground, the rise of screams and the attention of some of the people passing by or the residents of the same neighborhood made the attackers escape. Mushaima suffered from injuries in different parts of the body and a bulge in the upper forehead. Abbas Al-Omran suffered from a swelling at top of the right eyebrow, and a swelling in the lower right shoulder with some wounds in both knees and elbow. After the escape of the attackers, Mushaima and Al-Omran hurried to inform the police who came after 10 minutes to the site of the attack and initiated an investigation in the incident. Apparently, the cameras installed in the streets recorded the attack that the defenders were exposed to.

At 2:30 pm on Sunday 5 July 2009, Mushaima received an unknown call on his mobile phone from an unnumbered call and from a person whose accent seems of African origins, saying, "Do you remember the beating you and your partner got a couple of nights ago? Next time, you will get killed if you continue your demonstrations and protests against the Bahraini government or in front of its embassy in London. You better stay away from the embassy or else you will face the same attack you were subjected to", the call ended in less than a minute. The next day, Mushaima conveyed the updates of the attack and the unknown call to the same security body.

Ali Mushaima and Abbas Al-Omran with a group of Bahraini activists living in London were all known for their continuous weekly peaceful protests, sometimes in front of the Bahrain embassy in London, and sometimes in Hyde Park Speakers' Corner. The aim of their activities and events was to draw attention to the human rights violations that are taking place in Bahrain. Mr. Abbas Al-Omran is a human rights activist who participated in establishing several human rights committees and groups in Bahrain. He was arrested more than once and was subjected to several physical abuses in the past due to his human rights activities before traveling to London in December 2008, where he was surprised to see his name among the list of those involved in the "terrorist plot", and which later the charges against them were suspended with a Royal decision. Mr. Ali Mushaima, who obtained political refugee, had been an administrative member in the Committee of the Unemployed and Low-income before leaving Bahrain, and he is known for his human rights activity amidst the other demand committees. He had been subjected to physical abuses by the Special Security men and sometimes men with civilian clothes. This is the first time that both of them get subjected to abuses outside their country Bahrain.

In another incident and at around 3:30 am on Monday 6 July 2009, an anonymous person attempted to set fire to the house of the well-known political opponent and who is living in London Dr. Saeed Al-Shehabi, who was fast asleep with his family and children during the incident. According to the testimony of Al-Shehabi and his family, the fire was brought under control after the housewife took notice of it, and then they rushed to wake up the rest of the family members who worked on putting out the fire. The fire destroyed the front of the house and the car of Al-Shehabi's daughter and boxes for gathering paper in front of the house. The statements of witnesses and the spread of the smell of kerosene around the house confirm that the incident was deliberate. Dr. Saeed Al-Shehabi had received a warning less than a week before the incident about the Bahraini security apparatuses intention in carrying out imminent attacks against some of the opposition's activists abroad and human rights defenders. Dr. Saeed Al-Shehabi is one of the figures of the Bahraini opposition living in the UK and is heading the Bahrain Freedom Movement.

The Bahraini embassy in London is the only embassy apart from all other Bahraini embassies abroad which is closely linked to the National Security Apparatuses rather than ministry of foreign affairs. The current National Security Apparatuses is headed by Sheikh Khalifa bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, the former ambassador in London. The current ambassador there is Sheikh Khalifa bin Ali bin Rashid Al-Khalifa and he is the former president of the same Apparatuses. During the presidency of the former and current ambassador to this apparatus, it became infamous for the increasing attacks against human rights defenders or the political activists opposing the government. The majority of those obtaining political asylum in Britain are victims of these attacks, however this is the first time where human rights defenders and political activists get subjected to attacks in a European capital.

The Bahraini authorities had consistently pressurized the British government to put an end to the Bahraini opposition's activity in London, or to stop providing refuge for the human rights defenders, but without any significant result. In the same context, during his visit to the British capital last year, the King of Bahrain met both Dr. Saeed Al-Shehabi, head of the Bahrain Freedom Movement, and Hasan Mushaima, president of Haq Movement who was at that time on a visit to the British capital. The King asked Dr. Saeed Al-Shehabi to return to Bahrain, and he even spoke of opening serious dialogue with the the Bahraini opposition, however this dialogue never started and Hasan Mushaima was later imprisoned with dozens of political activists and human rights defenders on charges relating to terrorism. They were later released after the escalation of people's protests and mounting criticism of international organizations and Bahrain's friendly countries. Among those attempts, the Colonel Isa Meselam also met the former president of the Committee of Martyrs and Torture Victims Mr. Abdul-Raoof Al-Shayeb urging him to return to his home country and to work from the inside, however those attempts also failed due to doubting promises that have no confirmations on the ground, especially that the Authorities had tried to put Al-Shayeb in jail on ethical charges which forced him to seek refuge in the British capital.

While the Bahrain Center for Human Rights recognizes and values the positive and humane approach of the British authorities for providing refuge for the activists and human rights defenders that are fleeing the Human Rights violations in Bahrain, it calls upon it for initiating an urgent investigation in the circumstances of the attacks and the relation of the security authorities in Bahrain to those attacks as well, and to reveal the results of those investigations. The BCHR also calls the British Authorities to provide protection to those activists and defenders who chose peaceful work as a means to fulfill their human rights demands. The BCHR demands the Bahraini Authorities to stop targeting the human rights defenders and political opponents, and to open the door for dialogue in order to reach solutions that address all the unresolved human rights files.