The media in Bahrain has tried to make a drama out of a crisis when it proclaimed that the pardon issued by the King to the prisoners was a great step towards restoring the one family spirit and backing security in the kingdom.
Many young men were unfairly detained during the past months either for taking part in demonstrations against the Government policies or for being accused of committing violence against security forces, a claim that could not be corroborated. The tens of young men remained in custody under very poor conditions and without enjoying fair trials.
Many citizens, once recovered from the illusive happiness of being reunited with their imprisoned relatives and sons, soon realized the inhumane practices of the security forces during the detention and the injustice that surrounded their release. The released prisoners confirmed previous reports that the security forces used excessive force against them in an attempt to secure fake confessions.
Several of them had described in some details their ordeal during detention, and described in horrific details the torture techniques used against them from the moment of their arrest. Once inside the torture chambers, the torturers observed no limits to the injuries and pain they inflicted on these powerless Bahrainis. Among the means of torture is severe beating, sexual assault, deprivation of sleep, forced standing and electrocution. Several detainees have described their ordeals openly in Al Wasat newspaper, today’s edition.
As part of Sheikh Hamad’s pardon package, the prisoners were released after being forced to sign confessions that they had committed violence and violated the laws of the country. Those who refused to sign were kept in custody and were not released like others.
The case of the recent so-called pardon reinforces the belief that the Government of Bahrain is determined to continue its illegal and repressive measures against all those who attempt to propagate and/or encourage democratic values. The event also shows that injustice goes along all Government’s approaches to sorting out difficulties and crises that arise between now and then in Bahrain.
On the other hand, the ruling family is moving rapidly to re-habilitate former torturers despite local and international calls to bring them to justice for their crimes against humanity. The most notorious are Ian Henderson and Adel Flaifel. Two weeks ago, one of the agents of the ruling family proposed that Henderson be “honoured” for his role in suppressing the active opposition elements over the past three decades. He had been scrutinized by the British police who had gathered evidence against him over the years. The agent is a member of Sheikh Hamad’s council and has infuriated thousands of Bahraini victims when he presented his proposals. Another serious threat to national accord and harmony came in the past few days when banners were raised on main roads calling for “honouring” the notorious Adel Flaifel. Anonymous names were used as sponsors of these calls. The ruling family has hitherto failed to address the issue of torture, bring to justice those involved in administering it, or rehabilitate or compensate the victims.
Meanwhile, the citizens have organized another week of action to protest the increasing despotism of the ruling family. The activities include visiting graves of the martyrs, raising banners with the people’s demands and calling for justice against torturers and ending the process of making new Bahrainis.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
11 August 2008