Tuesday, June 28, 2011

US Ally Bahrain: Dissidents Given Life Imprisonment & Bahrain's PR v The Brutal Reality

Bahrain ; Reality vs Public Relations
Bahraini government wants the world to believe that it is being criticized unfairly-to put it simply the government and Royal family erroneously claim they are the real victims
Bahraini government still peddling its bizarre conspiracy theories to explain the unrest and calls for reform.
Bahraini government insists on calling the protests as a Shia attempt to overthrow the Sunni government
The reformers and dissidents argue that the uprising is not sectarian but includes both Shia and Sunni who want reforms
Meanwhile even after criticizing the Bahraini governments crackdown on the reform movement the Obama administration refuses to take any substantive moves against Bahrain.
Obama administration's statements about human rights and democracy just more Public Relations and empty rhetoric.
The USA disingenuously is still trying to convince its allies that the Bahraini government maybe over reacting but the reality they claim is that the dissidents and the reform movement in Bahrain was and is being directed by Iran's Hidden Hand.

Bahraini police cracksdown on mourners
June 28, 2011 via Al Jazeera

Life sentences for Bahrain dissidents-AlJazeera

AlJazeeraEnglish on Jun 22, 2011
Police and protesters have clashed in Bahrain after eight Shia Muslim activists accused of plotting a coup to overthrow the Gulf Arab state's Sunni monarchy were sentenced to life in prison.

The court also sentenced on Wednesday other defendants - from among the 21 suspects on trial - to between two and 15 years in jail.

Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reports.

Bahrain Targets Shia Religious Sites
Al Jazeera
Uploaded by bahrainfreedom00 on Jun 28, 2011

Talk by the Bahrain government about dialogue and reconciliation is rather disingenuous after the unnecessary violent crackdown on peaceful protesters and the ongoing unjust incarceration of dissidents and the coerced confessions and the government run "Show trials".

The Bahraini government if it is serious about reform and reconciliation should first release dissidents from jail including medical personnel arrested for giving medical aid to protesters.

At the same time the government is offering dialogue dissidents are still being arrested, abused and tortured in Bahrain's prisons.

And while the Americans continue to bomb the Hell out of Libya the Obama administration refuses to take any substantive actions against Bahrain. For instance the Americans could unleash the Fifth Fleet or at least recall its embassy and cut off all trade to Bahrain while at the same time putting pressure on Saudi Arabia . Unfortunately all of the talk about human rights and democracy is just window dressing since all the American government is concerned about is its business interests and military and strategic interests in the Gulf region.

"Bahrain's opposition to boycott dialogue, elections " english.xinhuanet.com, June 28, 2011

MANAMA, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Bahrain's largest Shiite opposition group says it will boycott the national dialogue next month and the September parliament elections in protest against the authorities for "not doing enough."

Al Wefaq National Islamic Society said it was in no mood to give in to the authorities' call for a national dialogue starting July 1st that would attract 300 participants from political societies, human rights groups and civil society organizations.

"There has to be real dialogue that results in political reforms. We believe the dialogue was a step forward for the country but setting conditions before the process is not acceptable," said Al Wefaq leader Shaikh Ali Salman.

He told Xinhua that it was important for the government to first address all issues such as sacking of workers, arrest of medics, lawmakers and other citizens before entering any dialogue.

"This dialogue will be successful if there is a principal person from Royal Family like the Crown Prince present in the process. He understands the demand and the opposition sees him as a leader, who could solve this crisis."

National Dialogue spokesperson, Isa Abdulrahman said in a statement on Monday that refusal of any group to participate in the National Dialogue will "not mean failure of the initiative." "We hope that all those invited would participate to come out with resolutions that represent the needs and aspirations of all people in Bahrain," he said.

While the government downplays its actions and claiming there was an attempted coup citizens are still be incarcerated for merely speaking out and criticizing the royal family.
In Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and Bahrain etc. it is a crime to criticize the Royal Families.

Kuwait arrests duo over Twitter comments ABC News,June 28,2011

Kuwait will put two citizens on trial for criticising Gulf Arab ruling families on social media site Twitter, a security official said.

Nasser Abul, a Kuwaiti Shiite Muslim, was arrested for posting criticisms of the Sunni Muslim ruling families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and Lawrence al-Rashidi posted defamatory comments of Kuwait's emir, the official said.

He said both would remain in detention for two more weeks before a hearing is scheduled, where they will likely face charges of harming the Gulf Arab state's interests and defaming the country's ruler after being arrested earlier in June.

Democracy activists have used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to debate, organise and share information in Bahrain, where the kingdom's Sunni rulers crushed a protest movement in March led mostly by the country's Shiite majority.

Bahrain called in troops from Sunni-led neighbours such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to enforce its crackdown.

OPEC member Kuwait, which has a Shiite minority, sent naval forces.

Bahrain questioned a rights activist in April for publishing an image which appeared to show signs of torture on a man who died in detention during the unrest.

It is not clear if the case will be brought to court.

Gulf Arab states, run by closely-allied ruling families, are trying to prevent protest movements that brought down Egyptian and Tunisian leaders earlier this year from taking off in their patch.

Given what is actually going on in Bahrain the government's talk about dialogue and reconciliation is just a Public Relations strategy to placate its Western Allies ie Britain and the USA.

And here again we see the Bahrain government prosecuting people for taking part in protests-freedom of assembly
or speaking at the protests
or medical personnel for treating the wounded
or members of the press

Bahrain transfers cases to civilian courts UPI.com
Published: June 27, 2011

MANAMA, Bahrain, June 27 (UPI) -- A decision by Bahrain to refer cases tied to a Shiite uprising to the civilian courts is a sign of a recognition of international rights, an official said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the prison sentences handed down last week to 21 opposition figures in Bahrain. He called on Manama to "allow all defendants" to receive a fair trial and "do everything possible" to create a climate for concrete national dialogue.

Bahrain's Minister of Social Development and Acting Health Minister Fatima al-Beloushi told Gulf Daily News that life was returning to normal and therefore the civilian courts could handle any cases yet to be tried before tribunals.

"Such a step is a strong indication of Bahrain's keenness on applying the highest rights and legal standards," she added.

Meanwhile, the official Bahrain News Agency reported Monday that one unnamed defendant pleaded not guilty though military prosecutors found there was enough evidence from his confessions to indict him. A second trial involving 28 figures accused of spreading "malicious information" was adjourned while the defense reviewed case documents, BNA added.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay complained in early June that her comments in BNA about the conflict were "blatantly" misrepresented.

Treatment of medics in Bahrain Irish Times .com June 28, 2011

Sir, – I was glad to read the letters (June 25th) from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) and Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI), in connection with the doctors who have been arrested in Bahrain. In no other country in the world have we witnessed doctors and nurses persecuted on such a scale as a result of their legitimate humanitarian actions.

I have a few questions with regard to the six visits Prof Kelly of RCSI made to Bahrain, and last week’s fact finding mission to Bahrain undertaken by Dr Donohoe RCPI, which were cited in their letters.

1. Did they request access to visit the doctors and nurses in jail to hear directly from them and if not, why not? 2. Did they make any attempt to meet the wives and families of the doctors who trained in Ireland? 3. Who did they meet to establish the facts? 4. On what basis do they imagine that trials before a military court which contravene international standards can possibly turn out to be “unequivocally fair and just”? Front Line believes that the arrest, detention and subsequent charging of members of the medical profession in Bahrain is related to their humanitarian work during a time of crisis, including providing medical services to patients injured during recent protests.

We have taken up the cases of all the health professionals arrested by the Government of Bahrain, including the Irish trained doctors, Dr Ali Al Ekr, Dr Basim Dhaif and Dr Ghassan Dhaif. These doctors are currently being subjected to an unfair trial before a military court on totally unsubstantiated charges. For more than two months after their arrest, they were denied access to their families or lawyers. There is credible evidence of torture. We regard them as human rights defenders persecuted for their work defending the right to health.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in her briefing on June 24th called for “an immediate cessation of trials of civilians in the military court and an immediate release of all peaceful demonstrators who were arrested in the context of the protest movement in February.”

I was in Bahrain two weeks ago where I met government officials, the American, British and French embassies and a number of human rights defenders. We finally got permission to attend a hearing in the military court for our former colleague Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. I was not allowed to give evidence on his behalf. Last Wednesday, June 22nd he was sentenced to life imprisonment simply for his peaceful work for democracy and human rights (World News, June 24th).

I also met with some of the wives of the arrested medical professionals.

They too are doctors. They have been interrogated, and in some cases ill treated. They have been suspended from their jobs. They feel totally abandoned by the RCSI. They have called on health professionals in Ireland and elsewhere to support them in their efforts to have their husbands released with all charges dropped. Front Line is sending an open letter to the King of Bahrain seeking the release of health professionals, and would be glad to hear from anyone interested in signing this letter. – Yours, etc,



Front Line – the International

Foundation for the Protection

of Human Rights Defenders,

Temple Road,


Co Dublin.

Bahraini blogger Maryam Alkhawaja risking incarceration and torture continues to post her observations of the situation in Bahrain.

A Brave Bahraini Woman Stands up for Justice by William Fisher via ABNA.co June 27,2011

The below is a comment of an American active blogger, William Fisher, who writes about the severe situation of freedom in Bahrain.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Her name is Maryam Alkhawaja. She is a young Bahraini woman who risks her life every day to send me and other journalists emails about the brutal repression of a long-aggrieved people and the kangaroo courts that are throwing their lives away.

Why does she do it?

She gives a simple answer: Injustice and brutality drives her nuts. She can’t be an observer. She needs to act.

And act she does, one, two, three times a day, all at huge and immediate risk.

Yesterday, her communiqué must have been especially tough to write. With journalistic lack of emotion, she reported the trials of her friends and colleagues. They were among the peaceful demonstrators from Bahrain’s Shia majority who have spent the last three months pushing against the Sunni royal family for basic human rights and a voice in the governance of their tiny country.

Eight of those tried by the military court were sentenced to life in prison. One of those eight was her father, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, the founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. “After the sentence was read, my father raised his fist & shouted “WE SHALL CONTINUE ON THE PATH OF PEACEFUL RESISTANCE!”, Ms. Alkhawaja told the New York Times.

Thirteen other activists were sentenced by the same court to terms of between two and 15 years in jail. Just one of the 21 men sentenced on Wednesday was a Sunni. The state news agency described them as “plotting to topple the government.”

and so it goes,

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