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URGENT ACTION: Further information: Three killed by riot police in Bahrain

Further information on UA: 29/11 Index: MDE 11/005/2011 Bahrain Date: 17 February 2011



Three more people died last night in Bahrain after riot police stormed the camp where protesters where spending the night. Five protesters have now been killed in Bahrain since 14 February.

Isa Abdulhasan (60), Mahmood Maki ‘Ali (23) and ‘Ali Mansoor Ahmed Khudair (52) died in the early hours of today after riot police used what appears to have been severely excessive force to disperse protesters camping at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, the capital of Bahrain.. Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that the riot police stormed the area at around 2 am with no prior warning. Men, women and children have been camping at the roundabout since peaceful protests calling for political reform started on 14 February, the ‘Day of Rage’.

The riot police used tear gas, batons, rubber bullets and pellet guns to disperse the crowds. An eyewitness said that one battalion of the riot police was shooting from a bridge over the roundabout while another battalion was shooting from the opposite side, while the crowd was trying to seek refuge. Another eyewitness said: "The protesters are being attacked! Women and children are running around screaming and there is no where to run. Riot police are everywhere and are attacking from every corner. Many are wounded. There is a panic and chaos at the roundabout. Everyone is running and screaming."

According to eyewitnesses, the security forces were blocking ambulances' access to the Pearl Roundabout and paramedic staff from the hospital were scared to access the area for fear of being attacked. The protesters marched from the roundabout to the hospital with those injured to protect them.

Crowds gathered at the hospital to donate blood and human rights activists were present at the hospital in the morning. Some people have reportedly been arrested this morning in relation to the protests and activists fear the number of arrests might increase in the hours and days.

Previously, ‘Ali ‘Abdulhadi Mushaima’ was shot, reportedly with live ammunition, at a demonstration on 14 February in al-Daih village, in the north of Bahrain. Fadhel ‘Ali Matrook, was injured by shotgun pellets while joining a funeral procession for ‘Ali ‘Abdulhadi Mushaima’ on 15 February and later died in hospital.


* Urge the authorities to immediately stop using excessive force against the protesters;

* Urge the authorities to refrain from arresting and immediately free protesters who were exercising their right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression;

* Urge the authorities to set up an immediate, thorough and independent investigation into the deaths of ‘Ali ‘Abdulhadi Mushaima’ , Fadhel ‘Ali Matrook, Isa Abdulhasan, Mahmood Maki ‘Ali and ‘Ali Mansoor Ahmed Khudair , and ensure that any police found to have used excessive force are brought to justice

* Urge the authorities to respect and protect the right of freedom expression, movement and assembly in Bahrain


King Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa Office of His Majesty the King P.O. Box 555 Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 17664587 Salutation: Your Majesty

Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa Prime Minister Office of the Prime Minister P.O. Box 1000, al-Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 17533033 Salutation: Your Highness

Minister of Interior Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah bin Ahmad Al Khalifa Minister of Interior Ministry of Interior P.O. Box 13, al-Manama, Bahrain Fax: +973 17232661 Salutation: Your Excellency

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

Additional Information

The ‘Day of Rage’ protests were called for on several websites, Facebook and Twitter. The protests were organized to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the endorsement of Bahrain’s National Action Charter. Inspired by the protests in Tunisia and Egypt, the protesters have been demanding more freedom, the release of all political prisoners, a new constitution and an elected government. The largest Shi’a political group, al-Wefaq, reportedly suspended its participation in parliament on the 15th of February in protest at the death of the two protestors and the methods used by the police.

Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979, states: “… the use of force by law enforcement officials should be exceptional; while it implies that law enforcement officials may be authorized to use force as is reasonably necessary under the circumstances for the prevention of crime or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders, no force going beyond that may be used”.

FU on UA: 29/11 Index: MDE 11/005/2011 Issue Date: 17 February 2011


Bahrain: End Deadly Attacks on Peaceful Protesters

At Least 5 Dead, Hundreds Injured; Latest Assault Appeared Planned at Senior Levels

February 17, 2011

(Washington, DC) - Bahrain's King Hamad Al Khalifa and Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Al Khalifa should immediately and publicly order a halt to deadly attacks on peaceful protesters, Human Rights Watch said today. The attacks have left at least five dead and hundreds wounded, some critically, since February 14, 2011.

Human Rights Watch also called on King Hamad to explain who was responsible for ordering the 3 a.m. attack on February 17 on a demonstrators' camp at Manama's Pearl Roundabout while most of those inside, including families with children, reportedly were sleeping. The king should hold those responsible fully accountable for the unlawful use of lethal force. The assault, which led to three deaths, involved hundreds of riot police and at least one helicopter, showing all the signs of having been planned and authorized at very high levels, Human Rights Watch said.

"There is absolutely no excuse for this escalating use of deadly force, and apparent misuse of weapons like teargas, against sleeping people," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "King Hamad and other high officials need to explain how and why this happened and to hold everyone who authorized and carried out this attack fully accountable."

At around 3 a.m., hundreds of security forces surrounded and then attacked the camp of protesters who had peacefully gathered earlier Wednesday. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that riot police were armed with teargas, batons, and "birdshot." ABC-TV reporter Miguel Marquez, in a live broadcast from the scene, said police were "firing tons of tear gas" into the encampment. Moments later Marquez was beaten by men in street clothes whom he characterized as "thugs."

Maryam al-Khawaja, who works with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was at a "media center" tent across the street from the Pearl Roundabout when the attack occurred. She told Human Rights Watch that there had been no warning or request to disperse. Al-Khawaja said the police surrounded the encampment from all sides, allowing no escape from the teargas and weapons fire.

"If they simply wanted to disperse the gathering they would have left a way out," she said.

Several hundred demonstrators were taken to Manama's Salmaniyya hospital and others to the American Mission Hospital. Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, told Human Rights Watch that he was at Salmaniyya hospital in the morning and saw the bodies of three people killed hours before. He said he saw many injuries, especially head wounds.

Human Rights Watch also spoke with a man who said he was at the Pearl Roundabout at the time of the attack but who asked not to be named for security reasons. He said that for several hours he observed police blocking ambulances and medics from reaching the trapped protesters. He estimated that at least 3,000 people were in the camp.

As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Bahrain must protect and promote the right to life, freedom of expression and association, and the right to assemble peacefully. Bahrain should also abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, which state that lethal force may only be used when strictly unavoidable to protect life, and must be exercised with restraint and proportionality.

The Principles also require governments to "ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offense under their law" and that "superior officers are held responsible if they know, or should have known, that law enforcement officials under their command are resorting, or have resorted, to the unlawful use of force and firearms, and they did not take all measures in their power to prevent, suppress or report such use."

Protesters had occupied the Pearl Roundabout after police attacks on earlier demonstrations on February 14 and 15 killed two protesters and wounded many others.

CPJ: Attacks on media continue in Bahrain, Yemen, and Iraq

New York, February 17, 2011--Authorities in Bahrain and Yemen have escalated their physical attack on the press in order to censor coverage of spreading anti-government protests, the Committee to protect Journalists said today. Also, in Iraq, at least two journalists were attacked by guards for the Kurdistan Democratic Party's building, local journalists told CPJ. "Governments throughout the Middle East and North Africa cannot deny their citizens coverage of these momentous events across the region," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "Local and international media must be allowed to cover the news."

In Bahrain, ABC reporter Miguel Marquez was beaten early Thursday while covering a violent attempt by authorities to clear Lulu Square (Pearl Square) in Manama by what he described as "a gang of thugs." Marques can be heard shouting "journalist" while being attacked in an audio recording posted on the network's website. His camera was confiscated.

Several journalists also reported today that Bahraini authorities are barring journalists from entering the country. New York Times columnist Nickolas Kristof tweeted: "Bahrain barring journalists from entry at airport. King Hamad doesn't want witnesses to his brutality." Roy Gutman, a foreign desk editor for McClatchy Newspapers, told CPJ that McClatchy reporter Nancy Youssef was denied entry to the country.

Read full release on cpj.org

Bahrain deaths rise as protest camp is broken up

17 February 2011

AI Index: PRE01/068/2011

Amnesty International has condemned the Bahraini authorities' forcible eviction of a peaceful protest camp in the centre of the capital Manama that has reportedly left as many as six people dead.

Several people were killed by security forces using shotguns, rubber bullets, clubs and tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters who wanted to stay the night in the city's Pearl Roundabout.

“The Bahraini authorities have again reacted to legitimate protest by using deadly force and without warning. They must end their continuing crackdown on activists calling for reform,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director.

“They must also carry out a full, impartial investigation into the force used this morning against peaceful protestors, including families with children, and whether the use of deadly force was justified.

"If not, those who gave the orders and used excessive force must be brought to justice."

Amnesty International has received unconfirmed reports that security forces were blocking ambulances from entering Pearl Roundabout to treat and transport the wounded.

Paramedics from the nearby al-Salmaniya hospital were also reportedly beaten by police.

There are fears that many activists have been arrested, after their families reported they were unable to find them in the hospitals.

Eyewitness told Amnesty International that the security forces were indiscriminately attacking protesters as clashes continued throughout the night.

"The riot police are still attacking everyone - we fear that they will attack us at any moment. Six have been confirmed dead, killed by the riot police. Many are still wounded. Many are still out there and they are in need of desperate aid," a Bahraini human rights activist told Amnesty International.

Two people were killed in Bahrain earlier this week following “Day of Rage” protests, organized on Facebook and Twitter and apparently inspired by unrest in Egypt and Tunisia.

“The Bahrain authorities are reacting with brutality to peaceful calls for political reform, inspired by similar movements elsewhere in the region,” said Malcolm Smart.

“They must rein in their security forces and hold them accountable under the law.”

"People should be allowed to conduct peaceful protests freely and the authorities must release anyone who has been arrested for taking part in these peaceful demonstrations."

Last week, Amnesty International highlighted the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain with its report Crackdown in Bahrain: human rights at the crossroads.

The organization called on the government to ensure proper investigations into allegations of torture and other serious abuses by the security forces.


IFEX: Journalists, peaceful protesters violently suppressed

16 February 2011

The ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has reinvigorated protests across the Arab region, resulting in clashes between security forces and protesters in Algeria, Bahrain, Iran and Yemen, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch and IFEX members in the region.

Responding to calls for a "Day of Rage", Bahrain's security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition rounds in a number of villages on 14 February to disperse protesters marching against the ruling Al Khalifa family's tight grip on power, alleged discrimination against the country's majority Shi'a population, and the continued detention of political prisoners, report the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and Human Rights Watch. BCHR and the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) have documented two deaths and more than 20 injuries as a result of attacks by the riot police.

In this video, riot police descend on a peaceful protest in Diraz Village:

According to BCHR, police later used vans and other vehicles to block main roads into the capital of Manama to prevent a mass gathering that organisers intended as an homage to Egypt's Tahrir Square. But they were not successful and protesters remained in central Manama today, 16 February.

"Despite foreign journalist present at the scene, more and more violence is being used at the moment. Officials need to be aware of the situation. International media must be told of this unfair, unjust situation of peaceful protesters being attacked by frequent violence," said BCHR.

Social media sites experienced unprecedented traffic in Bahrain with calls by BCHR, BYSHR and other rights and youth groups to join the demonstrations, a symbolic day in Bahrain as the anniversary of the country's 2002 constitution that led to pro-democracy reforms, including an elected parliament.

Meanwhile, 25 opposition activists will go back on trial on terrorism charges on 24 February, including bloggers Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace and Ali Abdulemam, and BCHR board member Mohamed Said.

Most of the specific charges relate to their political opinions and writings, including "spreading false information" and "inciting hatred of the government". They have not been permitted to meet privately with lawyers, and many allege they have been subjected to torture during interrogation.

They are among at least 450 Bahraini political activists, human rights defenders and Shiite religious figures and 110 children in jail, says BCHR.

For the Iranian opposition - not seen in big numbers on the streets in more than a year - Egypt's success has become a moment to re-establish itself. Tens of thousands of protesters clashed with security forces along some of Tehran's main boulevards on 14 February, which were covered in clouds of tear gas.

"Just days ago the Iranian government claimed to support the popular aspirations of millions of Tunisians and Egyptians who peacefully demanded an end to dictatorship," said Human Rights Watch. "Now Iranian security forces are using batons and teargas to disperse Iranians peacefully demonstrating in support of their Arab neighbours."

Iranian authorities had tried to prevent the protests - held in more than 35 cities and towns - before they even started, report CPJ. They announced they would deal forcefully with any protesters, brought Internet connections to a virtual halt to hamper the uploading of video and photographs from the protests, and put opposition leaders who had sought permission to hold an Egypt solidarity rally under house arrest, report CPJ and Human Rights Watch.

On 11 February, the BBC announced that its Persian Television service was being jammed from within Iran following coverage of the political unrest in Egypt.

And, over the past week, at least five journalists have been arrested, according to news reports.

Last week CPJ and more than 1,000 press freedom supporters signed a petition demanding that Iranian Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei free Iran's jailed journalists. According to CPJ, Iran is tied with China as being the world's leading jailer of journalists, with 34 behind bars. The petition was delivered to Iran's permanent mission to the United Nations.

In Yemen, meanwhile, the protests are about speeding the ouster of the U.S.-allied President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has promised he would step down in 2013. More than 1,000 people, including journalists, joined a fourth consecutive day of protests in the capital of Sana'a on 14 February - a day after police attacked anti-government marchers with sticks, daggers, stun guns and batons, says Human Rights Watch.

The Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate reported acts of violence and intimidation against journalists in the recent unrest, says CPJ. Men in plainclothes tried to kidnap journalist Samia al-Aghbry, says CPJ, but were prevented from doing so by a group of demonstrators – although not before she was knocked unconscious. Al-Aghbry is among the courageous women journalists at the forefront of the demonstrations in Yemen, along with Tawakkol Karman, head of Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC).

In Algeria, security forces prevented journalists from covering anti-government protests in major Algerian cities on 12 February. Kamel Amarni, secretary-general of the Algerian National Syndicate, told CPJ that security forces stopped and searched several journalists before confiscating their equipment. Internet service was shut down for several hours on the day and Facebook accounts deleted across the country.


CPJ: Attacks on media continue across Middle East

New York, February 16, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the continued assaults on journalists covering anti-government demonstrations in the Middle East. In recent days, journalists have been obstructed, assaulted, or detained in Libya, Bahrain, Iran, and Yemen. Authorities have also slowed down Internet connection and blocked websites, according to local journalists. "It's alarming to see Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and Iran, take a page from Egypt and Tunisia to use violence and censorship to stop coverage of political unrest," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. "The international community must speak out against these deliberate acts of media obstruction."

Unrest in the region has been growing since late December when Tunisians began a revolt against President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year rule and since the collapse of the Mubarak regime in Egypt in February.

In Bahrain, the government has selectively reduced the speed of Internet connections inside the country for the past two days, journalists and activists in the country told CPJ. Currently, the Internet is being slowed down selectively in newspaper offices, hotels, and homes but not in governmental institutions, local journalists told CPJ. Also, a number of accounts on the video-sharing website Bambuser were blocked according to CPJ's sources. On Tuesday, Hassan Jamali, a photojournalist working for The Associated Press was summoned for questioning by the Interior Ministry after taking pictures of people injured in anti-government demonstrations, a colleague speaking on condition of anonymity told CPJ. Authorities ordered him to not take additional pictures of the injured.

Read full release on cpj.org

CPJ: Attacks on the Press 2010: Bahrain

February 15, 2011


From Sudan to Bahrain, authorities have used harassment, threats, and restrictions on movements to limit independent coverage on sensitive issues. The effect has been to conceal controversial activities and flawed policies, suppress political opposition, and settle scores with critics. [..] Governments also exploit national security grounds to settle scores with critics and political opponents. In Iran since June 2009 and in Bahrain in the closing months of 2010, such grounds were used to eliminate coverage of the political opposition.

[..] In Bahrain, authorities said they were dismantling "a terrorist network" when they arrested hundreds of people beginning in August and continuing through parliamentary elections in October. Those detained included political activists, human rights defenders, and at least two journalistic bloggers who had been critical of government policies that marginalize the country's Shiite majority.

Independent scrutiny of the crackdown was made nearly impossible by the government's next action. Public Prosecutor Ali al-Buainain issued a gag order barring news media from reporting on the detentions. A defense lawyer noted one exception: The press could publish government statements on the case. The detainees, including bloggers Ali Abdel Imam and Abduljalil Alsingace, were charged with numerous crimes, including "inciting terrorist acts" and trying to "overthrow and change the political system of the country."

"Because of the publishing ban on this case, I can't even comment publicly," said a Bahraini journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Otherwise I'll be sucked into this vortex as well."

Country Summary

In May, the Ministry of Culture and Information ordered the Bahrain bureau of satellite news channel Al-Jazeera to halt operations "for having violated professional norms and for failing to observe laws and procedures regulating journalism, printing and publishing," according to the official Bahrain News Agency. The decision came a day after Al-Jazeera aired a program about poverty in Bahrain. The day the ban was announced, authorities denied entry to an Al-Jazeera crew that had traveled to Bahrain to interview a former U.N. official about poverty in the country, according to news reports. The ban on bureau operations remained in effect in late year.

On August 27, Public Prosecutor Ali al-Buainain banned journalists from reporting on the detentions of dozens of opposition activists in a series of arrests that month. Among those detained were at least two bloggers: Abduljalil Alsingace, who had tracked human rights issues for the opposition Haq Movement of Civil Liberties and Democracy, and Ali Abdel Imam, the founder of the news website BahrainOnline. Both were standing trial in late year on charges of forming an illegal organization, engaging in terrorism, and spreading false information. They remained in custody along with numerous opposition activists.

Read Full report on cpj.org

The police fires on protesters

15 February 2011

The FIDH strongly condemns the violent repression orchestrated by the Bahraini authorities on the peaceful demonstration held last Monday, February 14, 2011 and which is still continuing today in Bahrain, killing two people and wounding several others. These demonstrations that drew tens of thousands of people today February 15 according to FIDH member organizations in Bahrain , take place after the call “Day of Rage” inspired from the Egyptian and the Tunisian experience and launched via the social network Facebook.

To disperse the crowd, the police have not hesitated to fire from live ammunition on demonstrators killing Abdulhadi Ali Mushaima, a former member of the Committee of Unemployed who died last night at the hospital Salmaniya in Manama from his injuries. Today, at a gathering for the funeral of Ali Mushaima, Fadhel Ali Matrook 32 years old was also killed by live ammunition fired by police.

FIDH condemns in the strongest terms the disproportionate use of force against peaceful demonstrators and the use of live ammunition and calls on authorities to take all measures to establish responsibility for these crimes.


Bahrain: Front Line calls for investigation into killing of demonstrators, and restraint by police in dealing with demonstration

15 February 2011

Front Line wishes to express its deep concern at the reported fatalities when armed police violently broke up demonstrations in Bahrain during which two people were killed. Further Information

The deaths occurred in the context of a violent clampdown by armed police on demonstrations taking place across the country. While Front Line welcomes the commitment by the Prime Minister of Bahrain to carry out an investigation into the killings and acknowledges the expression of regret to the families by the King, the organisation calls on the Government of Bahrain to take urgent steps to ensure that demonstrators peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly are afforded the full protection of the law and that all policing is carried out according to international standards for best police practice.

"On the basis of video footage seen by Front Line, in which members of the security forces can be clearly seen filming the demonstrators, Front Line is particularly concerned that human rights defenders who have played a leading role in organising and/or monitoring the demonstrations may be at risk of arbitrary arrest or detention", said Mary Lawlor, Executive Director of Front Line in Dublin today.

For Further information please contact: Jim Loughran Head of Communications Front Line, Dublin Tel +353 1 212 37 50 Mob +353 1 (0)87 9377586


Bahrain protest deaths point to excessive police force

15 February 2011

Amnesty International has condemned the heavy-handed tactics used by Bahrain’s riot police earlier today after the second death in two days of protests calling for political reform in the tiny Gulf state.

Fadhel ‘Ali Matrook was among a crowd of people mourning the death yesterday of ‘Ali ‘Abdulhadi Mushaima’, killed in clashes between protesters and police, when he was shot dead by police earlier today in Bahrain’s capital, Manama. Riot police are said to have opened fire on the crowd without warning during the funeral.

“This second killing within two days is both tragic and a very worrying development,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Bahrain authorities must thoroughly investigate what occurred, stand down the police involved in these shootings and make clear to the police that the use of excessive force will not be tolerated.”

“An independent investigation is also urgently required to establish the facts, particularly whether the level of force used by the police, both yesterday and today, can possibly be justified.”

“Eyewitness reports of today’s shooting received by Amnesty International suggest strongly that Fadhel ‘Ali Matrook’s death was caused by excessive force, in which case the police responsible must be brought to justice.”

Over 10,000 people reportedly joined today’s funeral procession for ‘Ali ‘Abdulhadi Mushaima’, who died on Monday during clashes with riot police in the village of al-Daih, east of Manama.

Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that police opened fired on the procession of mourners without warning, as they chanted slogans criticizing the government and calling for Bahrain to have a new constitution and a democratically elected government.

“Peaceful protesters were chanting ‘Khalifa leave’ and within minutes of the procession beginning, we got attacked by the riot police; bullets were showering the peaceful protesters and there was tear gas everywhere. Several wounded are being rushed to the hospital and many are screaming,” Maryam Al-Khawaja, from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, told Amnesty International.

Fadhel Ali Almatrook was shot dead close to al-Salmaniya hospital in Manama. According to the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, more than 20 people required hospital treatment as a result of injuries caused by the riot police on Monday.

Monday’s “Day of Rage” protests in Bahrain, organized on Facebook and Twitter and apparently inspired by unrest in Egypt and Tunisia, took place mainly in Shia villages around Manama.

“Like many in the region, those in Bahrain who feel their dignity has been compromised are demanding change. The authorities must listen to these calls, rather than retaliating with violence,” said Malcolm Smart.

On Friday, Amnesty International highlighted the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain with its report Crackdown in Bahrain: human rights at the crossroads.

The organization called on the government to ensure proper investigations into allegations of torture and other serious abuses by the security forces.

In August-September 2010, the Bahrain authorities swooped on 23 opposition political activists, detaining them incommunicado for two weeks during which some allege they were tortured.

The authorities have also curtailed freedom of expression, closing critical websites and banning opposition publications. Hundreds of people have been arrested or imprisoned for participating in protests.