27/01/2012 – 3:25 p | Hits: 366
January victims of the Bahrain regime’s crackdown on protestors (top) Badriya Ali, 59, Yousif Ahmed Muwali, 24 and Fakhriyya Al Sakran 55
January 14 marked an addition to those driven to self-immolation. Badriya Ali, living just outside the Bahraini capital Manama, climbed up to her roof and set herself alight. Ali, a 59-year-old mother had been diagnosed as suffering from depression since the brutal beating and arrest of her son was carried out in front of her. As well as brutalising her offspring, the arresting officers wrote the words “Long live Khalifa” on the walls of her home.
Badriya Ali is just one on a long list of casualties of the Bahraini protests. Young and old continue to be made victim by the regime’s oppressive forces. 55-year-old Fakhriyya Al Sakran died of excessive use of chemical gases on January 2. 15-year-old Sayed Alawi Sayed Samad was arrested during the night on January 13.
When the peaceful protesters are found, they are met with arbitrary arrests and torture. The body of 24-year-old Yousif Ahmed Muwali was found on January 13, five days after he went missing. An autopsy carried out by the Ministry of Interior, without the consent of his family, found the cause of death to be drowning. When the body was returned to the family, they reported clear signs of torture with bruising all over Muwali’s body and are still waiting for permission to obtain a copy of the autopsy report.
As a strengthening voice condemning the oppressive regime, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, has also been targeted by the security forces. Nabeel Rajab, head of the organisation, was attacked by riot police when heading towards his car following a peaceful protest on January 6. He was severely beaten and then taken by the same officers to Salmaniya hospital where he was held captive. Bound to a wheelchair and suffering from numerous injuries, Rajab was interrogated at the hospital and prevented from meeting with his lawyer.
“The riot police’s assault on Nabeel Rajab and other peaceful demonstrators shows once again the Government’s intolerance of peaceful assemblies,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities need to investigate this incident and hold those responsible for the attack to account.”
The Bahraini Government is well aware of the brute force with which its security officers are attempting to suppress an uprising within the country. The regime’s own investigation commission, BICI, found it guilty of systematic torture and extra-judicial killings in a report released in November 2011. However, any prospects of the Khalifa regime addressing these human rights abuses ended with the resignation of supervisory committee chairman, Ali Saleh Al Saleh.
As the crack down by regime forces continues to intensify, the Bahraini people look towards the international community for support, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has been urged by various NGOs and national governments to take a pro-active stand and send a team of investigators to address the situation.