Bahrain: Detained pro-democracy leader to go on trial on 29 February

The government of Bahrain decided to bring the detained pro-democracy leader, Mr. Abdul Wahab Hussain to trial on Tuesday 29 February. Mr. Hussain was detained (for the second time) in mid-January 1996 and has since then been subjected to various forms of ill-treatment. Mr. Hussain is a member of the Committee for Popular Petition and had been instrumental in the campaign for restoring constitutional rights to Bahrainis. He was targeted by the security forces and was interned in 1995 and then in 1996.

In 1995, he and several other detained figures, who included Sheikh Al-Jamri, entered into discussions with the Bahraini authorities for resolving the political crisis through political and peaceful means. The interior ministry re-initiated a campaign of terror and atrocities. Mr. Hussain together with his colleagues were re-arrested and the security forces were given the green light to mount repressive operations against the citizens.

Mr. Hussein has been held without charges or trial for more than four years. Political trials are speedily concluded by the unconstitutional State Security Courts which is presided by a member of the ruling Al-Khalifa family with two Egyptian judges imported on a 2-year contract. Such a contract is only renewed if the these judges pass the pre-determined political sentences.

The Bahraini crown prince arrived in the UK on 26 February for talks with British officials. The scheduled visit will include meetings with both the defence and interior secretaries in the UK. The opposition calls on the UK Foreign Office to use its excellent relations with the Al-Khalifa ruling family to urge them to respect human rights and international conventions.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

27 February 2000

Tel/Fax: (+44) 207 278 9089


Bahrain: Crown prince visits the UK ; Opposition calls for activation of UK “ethical policy”

The Bahraini crown prince Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa arrived Saturday, 26 February, on an official visit of several days to the UK. It was announced that the crown prince was accompanied by a senior delegation from the ruling Al-Khalifa family. The delegation will hold talks with senior British government officials and will attend the 10th meeting of the Bahrain-British joint military committee. On the other hand, the Amir Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa met in Bahrain on Saturday, 26 February, the Chief of the United Kingdom Defence Staff General Charles Guthrie. The Bahraini opposition calls upon HM Government to include human rights on the agenda during the meetings with Bahrain ruling family officials.

The UK’s ethical policy has been criticised because regimes like the one in Bahrain continues to receive all kinds of assistance without real improvement in issues relating to human rights and democracy. Military sales to Bahrain ought to be linked to respect of basic rights, as recommended by the European Parliament in its resolution of 1997 article (2) on Bahrain. The latter called on EU Member States to refrain from supplying arms or security support to the government of Bahrain and requested the Council to take initiatives in order to obtain similar restraint at international level.

On 23 February, the International Secretariat of OMCT issued an urgent action regarding the arbitrary arrest of a student and arrest and fear of torture of seven others in Bahrain. OMCT called on the Bahraini authorities to take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of these persons and to order their immediate release. It also called for an impartial investigation into the alleged arbitrary detentions and to guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with the national and international standards.

Bahrain Freedom Movement (2nd Press Release)

27 February 2000

Tel/Fax: (+44) 207 278 9089

Update on 25 Feb:

– The Government of Bahrain will be probed by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racism in the first week of March during the annual meeting of the committee.

The ruling Al-Khalifa family has been accused of institutional racism against the various sections of Bahrain society. The ruling family has a private army made up of mercenaries imported from outside Bahrain. All State officials are appointed on the basis of their ethnic and religious backgrounds. The education ministry and University system is riddled with discrimination amongst the citizens. Citizens are treated and ill-treated in different ways depending on their ethnic and religious background. Racism is banned by the UN which is preparing for a World Conference next year in South Africa to combat racism.


Bahrain: Kuwaiti intelligence department ill-treats Bahraini workers

The fate of a Bahraini citizen, Fadel Al-Ajami, is not yet known. He was handed over by the Kuwaiti authorities last month to the torturers in Bahrain. The Kuwaiti authorities have targeted the dispossessed Bahrainis who work in Kuwait as part of a policy to appease the Bahraini prime minister who has demanded that Bahrainis in Kuwait must be ill-treated in the same way as they would have been ill-treated in their homeland. The Kuwaiti intelligence department handed over many Bahraini citizens without any acceptable justification. Those handed over recently include: Abbas Darwish, Fadhel Al-Ajami and Jawad Ali.

The ordeal of these citizens started when their passpors expired. The Bahrain embassy in Kuwait refused to renew their passports for another five years. Then, the get handed over to Bahrain. The Kuwaiti authorities are also implementing various other repressive measures against Bahrainis. Many with valid passports could not obtain civil identity cards and hence are denied proper treatment in daily life. The Kuwaiti intelligence department regularly interrogates many other Bahrainis and they all receive threats and intimidation.

Meanwhile, the ruling Al-Khalifa family continues the process of Khalifanising the State Administration. Following the placement of Al-Khalifa members as ambassadors and senior State officials, insider sources stated that the ambassadors in both the USA and UAE would soon be replaced and members of Al-Khalifa family will take up their positions. Khalid Al-Khalifa, the present registrar of the University of Bahrain is tipped for the USA post.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

23 February 2000

Tel/Fax: (+44) 207 278 9089

Bahrain: Appointed panel ordered to defend government’s atrocities

Officials from the foreign and interior ministries summoned members of the “human rights committee” for an urgent meeting on 15 February. This committee was appointed by the Amir last October and had been idle since then. The members of the appointed committee were told by interior ministry officials to prepare themselves for defending the government in the forthcoming annual session of the UN Human Rights Commission. The UN commission will be holding its annual meeting from the middle of March until the end of April. Several officials were present in the meeting. Al-Ayyam newspaper showed a picture with three uniformed officers. Non-uniformed officials included the torturer Abdul Aziz Atteyat-Allah Al-Khalifa, Ghazi Al-Quseibi, Salman Al-Zayyani and the Jordanian Ghassan Sheikho.

The powerless members of the human rights committee were told that they have to prepare themselves for defending the government in Geneva and that they will be shown how to act as if they were an “independent non-governmental organisation”.

It is worth noting that this powerless committee had not been able to function since its appointment. The only thing that was proposed by this committee was a plan to celebrate the 10th of December (Universal Human Rights Declaration day). However, the committee was ordered to shut-up and not to celebrate anything as its role is limited to being a publicity stunt fort the government.

It is also worth noting that the Bahraini intelligence department has been operating a station in London with full time employees. This station is behind the publication of some press releases (some of which are in the name of an unknown human rights committee) praising the government of Bahrain.

The unconstitutional State Security Court was back in action on 19 February. Two groups of citizens were dragged before a panel of three judges comprising a member of the ruling Al-Khalifa family and two Egyptians. These “judges” are given unconstitutional powers to sentence Bahraini citizens who demand their basic rights.

On 16 February, local papers published a picture for a new group of interior ministry officers. Two British officers were also spotted in the picture, one of them was Ian Henderson. Mr. Henderson is under police investigation in the United Kingdom for allegations of torture.

On 16 February, at dawn, the mercenary security forces attacked a house in Duraz and detained Seyyed Jalal Alawi Ahmed, 19. The house was ransacked by the forces and the citizen was taken away together with his personal computer and some personal possessions. When the family of the citizen enquired about their son at Budaya police station, they were told that they knew nothing about him since the police station that arrested him was that of “Isa Town”. This reflects the extensive powers that are now given to local police stations for persecuting and intimidating the citizens. In the past arrests were centrally controlled but now a person could be hunted down by two or more units belonging to the interior ministry. It is not known why the 19-year university student had been snatched from his parent’s house. However, the fact that Isa Town police station had arrested him indicates that this might be related to his life in the University of Bahrain, which has some of its buildings in Isa Town. The university is controlled like a military barrack with a military person appointed as its president.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

20 February 2000

Tel/Fax: (+44) 207 278 9089


Bahrain: Renewed attempts to subdue citizens

The government’s attempts to modify, modulate and suppress social, cultural and religious traditions throughout the country via intimidation and threats remain a priority on its agenda of repression. One such recent attempt took place on15 February, when the authorities called the custodians of the Assembly Halls to inform them of the government’s intention to limit the days of the year for people to practice their traditions. Of particular interest to the government is the tradition of “Ashura” (an annual commemoration of the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain grandson of the Prophet Mohammed). Over the past few decades, the authorities have relentlessly been trying to subdue such commemorations to their control. These attempts were fiercely rejected by the people and had aggravating adverse effects.

The security forces arrested persons from Daih area on Monday eveing 14th February and took them to the torture cente at Al-Khamis police station. They included Hassan Al Saqi, 23, Zuhair Al Sahir, 20. No reasons were given for their arrest. Moreover, Last week, the security forces attacked Daih and stormed the residence of Sadiq Jaffer Al-Jaziri. Since the citizen was not at home, they attacked another house and arrested another person, Seyyed Hussain. Nothing is yet known about both citizens. Also, last week, a number of persons were arrested from Karzakan area for no apparent reasons. They are Hussain Darwish, 23 and Seyed Hassan Seyed Adnan, 25. There are fears that they are being subjected to torture and intimidation.

The London-based “Impact International” published an important article about the British torturer Ian Henderson. The magazine explained how Britain recruited Ian Henderson in 1966. Henderson has recently claimed that he is in Bahrain serving an undisclosed “British cause”. He was described by those who met him as a racist person who hated Arabs.

In the UK, Scotland Yard is continuing its investigation into the allegations of torture being conducted by Ian Henderson. Henderson has been leading a team of British officers (such as Donald Bryan and David Darby) and all have up until now got away with their crimes. Human rights organisations are stepping up their campaign for implementing justice and stopping abuse of human rights in Bahrain.

The London Based “Al Quds Al Arabi” Newspaper published on 16 February, an article for the Bahraini writer and member of the dissolved parliament Mr. Mohammed Jaber Sabah, titled “Remarks on the purposes of the Bahrain Human Rights Committee”. Mr. Sabah, emphasised the opposition’s unity, awareness and understanding in regard to the constitutional rights of the Bahraini people. The writer then commented referring to the Amir’s catch-phrase that Bahrain is “one family”. He said that persons of one family do not arrest, torture and exile their family members.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

18 February 2000

Tel/Fax: (+44) 207 278 9089


Bahrain: The Amir refuses to communicate with the pro-democracy movement

The Amir “refuses to receive” a letter submitted by the Committee for Popular Petition (CPP). This was the message members of the CPP received from the inner circle of the Amir, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who is about to complete his first year since assuming power last March. The CPP wrote a letter to the Amir on 23 January requesting a permission to submit the popular petition that was signed in 1994 by some 25 thousand citizens calling for the restoration of the rule of constitutional law. The response from the inner circle of the Amir was very clear “the Amir does not accept petitions”.

The refusal of the Amir to open up channels of communication with the people of Bahrain has come as a direct blow to those who hoped that the new Amir would be any different from his predecessor. The medieval approach for governing remains the preferred option for the absolutist regime in Bahrain. The people had hoped that some of what the Amir has stated would be manifested by a change in approach. In fact nothing has yet happened despite the fact that about a year has passed since the Amir promised to be a different type of person from his uncle who has plunged the country into a series of political crises.

On 12 February, Bahrain TV presented a programme on “economic dialogue” hosted by the minister of labour, Abdul Nabi Al-Shu’la and Dr. Jamal Fakhro. Al-Shu’la repeated his claim that unemployment in Bahrain is only 2.4%. This is a figure that no single person believes. The London-based Economic Intelligence Unit said in its “Business Middle East” of January 1-15 2000, that the “actual figure is believed to be considerably higher. Some 5,500 locals enter the job market annually, many of who fail to find occupations. The government of Bahrain does not provide unemployment benefits, thereby adding to the misery of the jobless. As a partial way to solve the jobless problem, the public sector is encouraging early retirement for the more elderly employees to make rooms for new recruits. But the private sector is resentful to pressures to employ the more expensive locals. Unemployment has been regarded as a chief reason behind the start of unrest in 1994.” The rate of unemployment is at least 15% and most 90% of Bahrainis in employment earn 150 dinars per month or leas (

Show More

Related Articles

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.