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On 26th August 1975, the former ruler of Bahrain suspended the contractual constitution and dissolved the elected parliament. The country has since remained under the absolute power of the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty. As the country prepares to host the Forum for the Future, questions are asked about the volatile political situation in BahrainLord Avebury, the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights GroupCordially invites you to a seminar onBahrain: 30 years of unconstitutional ruleA spectrum of speakers will take part in the seminar, Bahrainis and non-Bahrainis, including political and human rights activists, journalists and academics11.00 AM, Thursday 25th August 20051 Abbey Gardens, London SW1 (Annexe to the House of Lords)

For further information please contact: Lord Avebury on 020 7274 4617

The State is Not Immune

is the true story of recent sufferings in Bahrain Prisons following manipulated Justice as experienced by Briton, Richard Mechan, who had to survive beatings, torture and more for nearly four years alone. The State is not Immune is a must reading for any expatriate who lives and works in the Middle East and for anyone who wonders how they would survive the shock and horrors as told by someone who witnessed them first hand. ‘A door was opened and I was flung inside. There was no light and it took me some time for my eyes to adjust. It was a concrete box, three foot by six foot. There was a floor toilet and a hose pipe in the far corner. It was 50 degrees outside in the boiling sun. The Hole was unventilated. My heart began to palpitate as I struggled for air. I was going to die in here and looked for someway to hang myself to end this torture’ For more, read the preview extracts from the link below.For extracts from the book check

Bahrain’s economy suffers from declining growth Figures released by the ministry of finance point to declining growth rate of Bahrain’s gross domestic product in 2004. The adverse development has occurred despite the rise of oil prices in international markets. According to the National Accounts of 2004, the GDP grew at 5.4 per cent in 2004, down from 7.2 per cent in 2003. The figures relate to constant prices after adjusting for inflation. Bahrain’s economy suffers from inflationary pressures of around 8 per cent mainly due to continued increases in property prices and rents. The declining growth level meant that the GDP stood at BD3.2 billion or around US$8.5 billion. The figure translates into per capita income standing at BD4,578 or just above $12,1000. The per capita income looks marvelous if it was truly reflective of the country’s situation. The figure is merely an average reflecting GDP amount divided on total population. Private studies suggest that many in Bahrain have difficulty generating half of this amount because of salary problems. More than half of the workforce could not earn BD200 per month (or BD2,400 annually). The Bahraini people were shocked to learn of declining economic growth level. It was widely expected the GDP would register a stronger growth rate on the back of strengthened oil prices in the market. The petroleum sector is vital for Bahrain’s economy by virtue of constituting more than two thirds of treasury income and exports. Strangely enough, statistics released by the ministry of finance assert that crude oil & natural gas sector contributed merely 13.1 per cent of the GDP. In effect, this meant a negative growth of nearly 12 per cent in a span of a very special year for oil prices. The year 2004 was marked with firm oil prices, crossing the 50 dollar per barrel mark. A statement by the said ministry has argued that oil production accounted for Bahrain has declined by nearly 13 per cent in 2004. However, the statement has failed to provide details other than a drop of 11.2 million barrels for the entire 2004. Throughout 2004, the regime denied reports that the country’s oil production capacity had dropped.It is believed that Saudi Arabia has decided to reduce oil grants extended to Bahrain after learning of mishandling of public funds. For example, the ministry of finance has confirmed in a report that every minister with a portfolio receives an annual bonus of BD50,000 on top of their salaries and other allowances and benefits. The adverse GDP progress of 2004 is indicative of mismanagement of economic resources. Clearly, the regime lacks the ability to make the best of the country’s capabilities. The solution requires the so-called “ruling family” making way for more qualified people running the economic show of Bahrain.Bahrain Freedom Movement

4 August 2005

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