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In the name of Allah the most Gracious, the most Merciful, WE REJECT ALL ILLEGITIMATE AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION In wishing to actively engage in our national issues and in attempting to define our destiny and the destiny of future generations, in acknowledging all the nation’s past sacrifices in times of struggle, in keeping alive the memory of our heroic martyrs, and in carrying out our national and religious responsibilities, we, the Bahraini Students in UK would like to extend our full support of the declarations made at the Constitutional Conference of February 2004. We wholly back the committee established therein to oversee the recommendations made. As a result of our awareness of the necessity that any changes made to the constitution should be made through the correct legal channels in order to give credibility to any reform process; we commend the popular petition that is due to be launched in April 2004. Such a peaceful and legal initiative only serves as a laudable endeavour to solve the current constitutional crisis that emerged as a result of the illegitimate clandestine amendments made to the constitution by the­ then ­ Amir in 14/4/2002. Furthermore, we strongly believe that any constitutional amendments should be made in accordance with the principles stipulated in the 1973 constitution, specifically in Article 104. We also take this opportunity to remind the Amir of his declared promise made in February 2001, during his visit to the residence of Sayed Al-Ghuraifi, that the proposed Charter would only be a means of reactivating the 1973 Constitution rather than replacing it. As a result of the above, we, the Bahraini Students in the UK would like to champion the demands of our fellow countrymen, summarised in the following points: 1. Reinstitution of the 1973 contractual constitution and abrogation of the 2002 constitution. 2. The abrogation of all institutional and judicial changes based on the 2002 constitution. 3. Any constitutional amendments should be made in accordance to the 1973 constitution (Article 104). 4. Separating the three legislative powers and allowing people’s exercise of their right to sovereignty through participation in decision-making, positions of power and authority as encompassed in the 1973 constitution. 5. Withdrawing the Bahraini citizenship from all who were granted it through channels not in accordance with the relevant articles stipulated in the 1973 constitution. 6. Initiating a true dialogue with the opposition and avoiding any political hurdles to such debate. We also wish to advise the current regime to uphold the promises and reassurances it made to the Opposition prior to the referendum, because of which the seal of approval was given to the National Charter. We also recommend that the government should initiate a genuine dialogue with the Opposition for the benefit of the nation as a whole. We encourage all the students inside and outside Bahrain to sign the popular petition in order to make their voices heard to the relevant authority. We commend the efforts of the organizers of the constitutional conference and the overseeing committee and we reject all beguiling efforts designed to obstruct and delay the popular petition. We ask God for his protection and mercy. Students of Bahrain in the United Kingdom


New Trends Emphasize Old Policies Recent events in Bahrain came to reinforce an already prevailing public opinion that the Government had never been serious in its so-called reforms programme. Ever since the new constitution the Government has been trying to impose on the country came into being, political societies and observers have expressed their belief that such a one-sided constitution can not be responsive to the needs of the political conditions, nor can it give the people of Bahrain their rights. As time passed, any hope of a democratic transition has been quashed by the blemishes the Government of Bahrain has generated in dealing with the parliament and other political issues in the country. Political societies have been repeatedly warned and intimidated to apprehend their move for a popular petition for better constitutional rights. The Government has categorically declared that if these societies continued their efforts in calling for signatures outside the membership of their societies, these societies would be closed. Freedom of expression has suffered many aggressions over the past three years. Many writers have had their articles banned from reaching the public in the local press. This was a move considered a continuation of several other moves against many journalists in Bahrain. This went further to include many Internet Websites through which the people of Bahrain looked for alternatives to express their views and grievances. The big blow came as the Government rejected a request by members in the pseudo-parliament to question three ministers considered responsible for the mismanagement of funds in the two Pension Funds Organizations. The request came as a result of investigations into the disappearance of millions of Bahraini Dinars, huge losses in miscalculated investments and irresponsible spending of money by people at senior management posts in the two organizations. Political Societies now ask the question; if the Government feels there is no fraud and mismanagement, why should it block the question? We are of the opinion that an impotent democracy will never result in positive outcomes for the people. Developments over the past three years have come to reinforce this view. It is time the Government of Bahrain responded to logic, initiate dialogue for true political reforms and abandon its programme of deception. Bahrain Freedom Movement

18 April 2004

Bahrain’s mismanagement of F-1 race Several indicators suggest that Bahrain sports authorities had failed to grasp the full possible benefits of hosting the Formula One on April 4th 2004. These include granting free tickets besides some visitors preferring to stay in Dubai. From the onset, officials were not honest with the public. This was particularly the case with the so-called “parliament” or what is widely acknowledged in Bahrain as the “king’s parliament.” The government made mockery of the body by asking for its endorsement after starting construction of the venue. In January 2003, the government issued US$500 million financial instruments in the international markets, of which some $200 million were set aside for the Formula One project. Some had rejected the proposal for lack of transparency, notably feasibility study of F-1 event. Eventually, the regime applied pressure on the members to reverse their earlier reservations about the project. Second, evidently, the regime struggled to stage the event at any cost. Fearing possible traffic jam, the authorities ordered all public schools to close their doors on the racing day on April 4th. Worse, students at the University of Bahrain were told to stay home for two days. Undoubtedly, school closures illustrate that the authorities have not planned properly for the event. Maybe, the regime does not consider education a priority. Third, business owners complained of limited, if any, benefits. Only the days preceding the event the Chamber of Commerce & Industry moved to promote Manama’s old market (souq) to visitors. But this was too little too late. Additionally, major hotels notably the five-star category reported significant sales, but business was not brisk for lower-classified facilities. The majority of Bahrain’s 90 or so hotels fall into the three and two-star category. Some visitors opted to stay in Dubai (which boasts more than 400 hotels) and visit Bahrain for the climax of competition. Many merchants are not having kind memories of the F-1 mainly because the regime made over-promised but under-delivered returns. Fourth, government departments and officials were the primary buyers of tickets. Crown prince Salman bin Hamad had allocated 7,500 tickets for University of Bahrain students. But much to the dismay of Sheikh Salman, only some 3,000 applied to obtain the free tickets. Additionally, ministries and other governmental departments purchased tickets for their key personnel. Altogether, it emerged that majority of those who attended the event had obtained their tickets free of charge. Fifth, sports officials practiced discrimination in their treatment of participating teams. For example, the Ferrari team, led by Michael Schumacher, was extended preferential treatment in many respects including media coverage. Government-influenced daily newspapers allocated more space for Schumacher and blatantly wished that he would emerge the winner. In short, the regime was merely looking for international credit for staging the event. Not surprisingly, emphasis was placed on selecting a unique date for Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, specifically 04 04 04. This is what absolute dictatorships do, don’t they? Bahrain Freedom Movement

14 April 2004

From Lord Avebury P0410044 Tel 020-7274 4617 Fax 020-7738 7864 Email April 10, 2004 In the Bahrain Brief February-March edition you are quoted as saying, during a visit to Bahrain in February: “We are delighted to see that progress is being made in the areas of democracy and human rights”. Following the published intention of the four ‘civic societies’ or proto-parties – National Democratic Action, Islamic Action, Al-Wefaq National Islamic, and National Democratic Coalition – to launch a popular petition calling for legal and political reforms, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr Majid al-Alawi, wrote to each of them on April 6 threatening them with suspension or dissolution if they collected signatures for demands addressed to the authorities or the King for amendments to the constitution. The Minister’s action, taken no doubt at the behest of the ruling family which is about as democratic as James I, is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The four societies, and other non-governmental bodies, have enjoyed very limited freedom of expression, but there are certain topics which are taboo. No criticism of the ruling family is allowed; no discussion of the endemic corruption; no talk of discrimination in certain fields of employment, and no debate on the wholesale grant of Bahraini citizenship to foreign Sunnis. There are other serious restrictions on the democratic rights of the people of Bahrain, notably of course as the US State Department observes in the 2003 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, that “citizens do not have the right to change their Government or their political system” It goes further than that; they aren’t even allowed to speak about such changes. I appreciate that your Government, like its Tory predecessor, has undeclared reasons for pulling its punches on human rights abuses in Bahrain, but surely this attempt to stop discussion of political reform is inconsistent with the progress you claimed to see in February? The Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, Foreign & Commonwealth Office,

London SW1A 2AH

Bahrain: Anti-Torture Activist Arrested Before Formula One Race Protest Organizer Detained to Preempt Demonstration During International Sports Event (Washington D.C, April 3, 2004) – Bahrain’s detention this week of anti-torture activist `Abd al-Rauf al-Shayeb appears designed to head off a planned demonstration during the country’s first Formula One race, Human Rights Watch said today. The Committee of Martyrs and Torture Victims, al-Shayeb’s organization, had called for a demonstration tomorrow, the final day of the Formula One auto race being held this weekend in Bahrain for the first time. The Committee has organized well-attended and peaceful protests in the past against Law 56, a government decree that effectively confers immunity from investigation or prosecution of present and former government officials alleged to be responsible for torture and other serious human rights abuses. Al-Shayeb was detained on March 30 along with an Indonesian domestic worker whom he was reportedly visiting in the home of her employer without the employer’s permission. “Bahrain promotes itself as a model of democracy and tolerance, and has taken many positive steps towards reform in the past several years,” said Joe Stork, acting executive director of Human Rights Watch. “But such a crude effort to squelch a public protest puts in doubt the government’s proclaimed commitment to respect basic civil rights.” Bahrain’s public prosecutor ordered al-Shayeb held for one week for investigation. As of Friday, April 2, al-Shayeb had not been permitted visits from his family and had not seen a lawyer. Bahrain normally does not publicize arrests in alleged vice cases until after convictions, and even then suspects are identified only by their initials. In this case, government-controlled dailies al-Ayyam and Akhbar al-Khalij on April 1 reported al-Shayeb’s arrest and identified him by name, citing a press release from the Ministry of Interior. Last year the Committee for Martyrs and Torture Victims circulated and presented to King Hamad bin `Issa Al Khalifa a petition that reportedly gathered 33,000 signatures calling on him to annul Decree 56 and to establish an independent commission to investigate allegations of torture by security officials. Two days before his arrested al-Shayeb had returned to Bahrain from Geneva, where he met with Theo van Boven, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, and members of the Committee against Torture. Bahrain acceded to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in March 1998. Decree 56 was issued in October 23, 2002, weeks before Bahrain’s partially elected new parliament met for the first time. The decree extends a February 2001 amnesty to cover acts of government officials. Human Rights Watch has urged King Hamad to clarify that this amnesty should not apply to serious crimes such as torture. For more information, please see Human Rights Watch’s press release at] For more information, please contact:

In Washington D.C., Joe Stork: +1-202-612-4327 (office) or +1-202-299-4925 (mobile)

Bahrain Denies Entry to British Subject Briton Richard Mechan, who was due to fly out to Bahrain this evening to mount a legal case against the Bahrain Government for denial of due process has been informed by the Bahrain Ambassador that he will not be allowed into Bahrain to take up a case against the Bahrain Government. This is a complete denial of rights and shows the Bahrain Government in it’s true light. It is now time our own Government raised this issue with the Bahraini’s as to why they are denying a British Subject access to Justice in Bahrain They’ve obvioulsy got something to hide. Contacts Bahrain Ambassador 0207 201 9170 Foriegn Office 0207 008 0190

Richard Mechan 07792693613

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