The dramatic move by the lawyers to withdraw from today’s court proceedings has shocked the judicial system run by the Al Khalifa ruling family in Bahrain.
The lawyers who attended the forth court hearing of the 25 innocent Bahrainis decided to withdraw after the Al-Khalifa appointed judge had refused to ignore the confessions drawn from the Bahrainis under torture. He also failed to order an independent investigation into torture claims even after the victims exposed their wounds in the court in earlier sessions. The lawyers decided that it would be futile to defend allegations prepared by the torturers to incriminate innocent people, especially when it became clear that the verdict had been decided by “people in higher authority” before the case was heard. The whole judicial system is now under scrutiny after it failed to uphold the values and justice and respect of human rights. The “judge” adjourned the case until 23rd December.
Meanwhile, several international bodies have issued statements and reports about the situation in Bahrain. Reporters Without Borders sent a letter to the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton expressing concern about torture claims. Frontline sent a similar letter to Mrs Clinton about targeting the activists. The Committee for Protection of Journalists (CPJ) sent a letter to Bahrain’s prime minister expressing outrage at the torture of bloggers; Ali Abdul Imam and Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace. Human Rights Watch issued a statement condemning the harassment of human rights activist; Nabeel Rajab. FIDH and OMCT issued a similar statement about Mr Rajab.
Emotions are high among the Bahraini citizens as they commemorate the season of Ashura and the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. The suppression of the natives by the ruling family over the past four months has failed to subdue the people who are preparing to re-live the bloody conflict in Karbala when Imam Hussain (AS) stood up against the tyrannical rule of Yazid ibn Mo’awiyah in the year 61 AD together with 72 of his close relatives and supporters. Bahrainis have always drawn lessons form that event and insisted on maintaining their traditional ways in those commemorations. The political atmosphere is imposing itself in this event in several ways. First is the insistence by the people to re-incarnate the spirit of Karbala with its political connotations in the country which is being subverted by the ruling Al Khalifa family. Second is the continuous intimidation by the foreign-staffed security forces which are roaming the streets, tearing the black shrouds placed by the people along the roads and alleyways in most parts of Bahrain. Third are the ongoing trials of 25 innocent Bahrainis amid serious accusations of human rights violations including torture. The next few days are likely to see more conflict between the Bahrainis and the foreign mercenaries working for the ruling family especially in light of the continued attacks on public liberties and the use of torture against detainees. There were skirmishes between the youth intent on raising banners related to the Ashura events and the enemies of the people whose main aim is to gag people and deprive them of the right to practice their own religious rituals. As mourners hanged banners depicting the events of Karbala, riot and security personnel attacked the youth and abducted some of them. The town of Sitra was raided by scores of the foreign-staffed police to remove the black shrouds near, while the people managing the place were threatened with serious consequences. Four young men were arrested from the area.
In the past few days there were several developments. On 6th December, the youth went out in force near the Jidhafs graveyard, opposite the petrol station. Smoke was seen bellowing overhead as tyres were set alight by protesters. This is in addition to writing slogans on the walls calling for the release of political prisoners and the drafting a new democratic constitution. Se
Meanwhile a court run by the Al Khalifa has sentenced two boys to prison terms of one and three years in jail for their alleged role in throwing petrol bottles on the British Embassy in Manama. The boys denied any role in the incident and experts have still to form an opinion on a case carrying the hallmarks of the security services. The town of Musalla was also raided, black shrouds were removed and more youth detained.
The family of a retarded young man has protested the arrest of their son on the basis of unproven allegations that he had taken part in anti-regime activities. Despite providing all the proofs in their possession of the incapacity of their son, he was kept for more than two weeks behind bars. He has suffered internal bleeding due to lack of care and the bad intentions by the ruling family. Calls have repeatedly been made to international bodies to take steps to safeguard Bahrainis who are being banished or forced to live in dire environment.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
9th December 2010