Continuing Bahraini State Terror – by Stephen Lendman
For months, Bahraini and Saudi security forces targeted nonviolent protesters and activists wanting the repressive Al Khalifa monarchy replaced by constitutionally elected government, political freedom, and social justice, what Bahrainis never had and don’t now.
Three previous articles discussed it, accessed through the following links:
Still functioning despite authorities terrorizing people brutally, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) provides regular updates on the ground, expressing great concern about King Hamad’s ruthless:
“actions and arbitrary penalties against citizens who it believes participated or supported the peaceful protest movement in February and March, whereas, Bahraini authorities (unleashed) great violence (against them, resulting in) dozens of deaths, especially after” thuggish Saudi and Emirati forces also suppressed them.
On March 15, martial law was declared (the so-called State of National Safety), now lifted but nothing changed. Daily state terror continues unabated against all sectors of society, including opposition leaders, independent journalists, human rights and political activists, students, trade unionists, and other civil society sectors and institutions, targeting women and children as brutally as men.
Moreover, thousands of workers were arbitrarily fired. On May 29, the General Federation of Bahrain trade unions listed 1,724 sacked. In fact, many more are affected, their numbers increasing daily. Many were at the state controlled Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and Aluminum Bahrain (ALBA), including anyone suspected of anti-regime sympathies.
Some weren’t given reasons. Others were asked whether they participated in peaceful protests and about their political affiliation.
These, in fact, are revenge firings, punishing workers for their views, political activities and sectarian affiliation in violation of the International Labor Organization’s Convention No. 111 on Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation. Its Article 1 prohibits it based on race, sex, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, as well as violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Even Bahrain’s labor law was violated, allowing dismissals only in cases of excessive numbers of unreasonable absences, preceded by sufficient advance warning in writing.
Mass Arrests, Disappearances and Torture Continuing
As of June 1, BCHR reports over 1,000 detentions and/or disappearances since imposition of martial law State of National Safety harshness. Many are missing and unaccounted for. Moreover, at least 35 were killed since mid-February and many others injured. In addition, 68 or more journalists were threatened, fired, and/or arrested for revealing information the regime wants suppressed.
Online activist Zakariya Al Aushayri was detained and killed. Others have harmed also, including reporters Faisal Hayyat, Hayder Mohammad, Ali Jawad, and many more, as well as warrants issued to arrest others. As a result, some fled the country for their safety, thankful to get out alive.
BCHR calls Bahrain “a dangerous zone for the freedom of press and journalists.” Those arrested “could die in view of the current security laws (the emergency law,)” as well as arbitrary brutality unleashed against anyone with anti-regime sympathies, especially human rights and political activists, as well as independent writers and bloggers. Many were arrested and/or threatened, including:
— BCHR’s Sayed-Yousef Al-Mahafdha on March 20;
— BCHR President and Vice Secretary General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Nabeel Rajab on the same day;
— Mohammed Al-Masqati, President of the Bahrain Youth Human Rights Society (BYHRS);
— Abdulhdi Alkhawaja, former BCHR President;
— Naji Fateel, BYHRS board member;
— Salman Naji, member of the Committee for the Unemployed;
— Abdul Gani Khanjer, head of the Committee of the Victims of Torture; and
— many others for supporting equity and justice over tyranny.
Military Trials and Sentences
On June 2, BCHR updated proceedings against over 60 targeted individuals. Through May 31, all were unjustly tried and sentenced, some to one or more years, others for life, and at least four so far to death, all on bogus charges, including illegal protests, disrupting public order, rioting, inciting anti-government hatred, murder, and other equally spurious accusations.
Even children were targeted, BCHR accusing authorities of excessive force against some young as six, including arbitrary arrests at homes and in classrooms, using tear gas, rubber bullets, live fire, and other forms of indiscriminate violence, sometimes causing deaths.
Six-year old Mohamed Abd Alhussain was one of many, asphyxiated by tear gas used excessively around houses in Sitra village. Hospitalized on April 29, he died the next day. BCHR, in fact, documented many other incidents affecting children and adults in recent years, and more intensely since late 2010, including arbitrary arrests, abductions, torture, other abuse, and unfair trials.
The Bahrain Feb. 14 Revolution (signifying the date ongoing protests began) puts out regular letters like the following, asking for global support, saying:
“We the people of Bahrain, send a distress call to the international communities and media sources to save us from the Genocide committed by the government and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE and Bahrain) against the Unarmed people in Bahrain.”
Included are You Tube videos of unarmed people with their throats cut, evidence of massacres, and information about authoritarian targeting of people for their activist support for equity and justice. Regular updates follow, spreading the word about Western supported Bahraini terror suppressed in mainstream media reports, especially in America.
Amnesty International (AI) on Human Rights Violations in Bahrain
On June 3, AI said Bahraini and Saudi forces continue to commit human rights violations, including lawless killings, arbitrary arrests, torture, other abuses, discriminatory job dismissals, and military court lynchings.
Moreover, authorities haven’t allowed independent investigations of extreme government violence, including use of excessive and lethal force against nonviolent protesters and medical workers helping the wounded.
A Final Comment
In April, BCHR President Nabeel Rajab said America’s media were told not to cover brutal Bahraini violence, saying:
“In the US, some news agencies and TV stations were asked not to report on Bahrain, and not to embarrass” Obama who fully supports it. At the same time, while terror bombing Libya, he falsely accuses Gaddafi of human rights violations for actions independent observers call self-defense against Western-backed insurgents, cutthroat killers targeting anyone suspected of pro-regime sympathies.
America’s media obliged, ignoring Bahraini state terror while vilifying Gaddafi for justifiable self-defense. In contrast, independent journalists can’t be bribed or intimidated.
Reporting on what’s really happening in both countries, they reveal Western-backed violence and brutality against anyone challenging entrenched pro-Western regimes and America’s imperial interests, backed by bipartisan consensus under all US administrations, each new one worse than its predecessor.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.