An Embarrassed Dictatorship Fail to Woo the Outside World The Al-Khalifa are heading in the Wrong Direction Where is Bahrain heading is a question that no one knows. The government and security forces have escalated the situation and killed ten innocent civilians up until 26 March. Moreover, thelawyers defending thosebrought before the State Security Court have evidence that the security forces were behind sabotage. In one case, that of burning Sanabis Club, the accused were arrested several hours before the fire started. While those who are supposed to preserve law and order engage in criminal offenses, ffie government is suppressing international reporting and spreading misinformation saying that they have restored law and order They also tried to seek the endorsement of Bntish Parliamentary delegation and invited four MPs (Mr. Willia n Powell, Mr. Tony Marlow, Mr. Martin Redmond and Mr Bill Ethenngton) who visited Bahrain betwecn 12 and 16 March. Although the government controlled their itinerary very tightly to prevent them from seeing what’s happening it is understood that the delegation advised the government to engage in a dialogue with the leaders of the opposition. While in Bahrain, the opposition managed to speak by phone to Mr William Powell on Thursday 15 March. A letter was prepared by six provdemocracy leaders and faxed to the delegation (see the letter below}. Mr. William powell was also invited by the son of the Heir Apparent (Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa) to chair a halfway seminar entitled Britain and the Gulfb’ to be held on Sunday 27th May 1995, Tom 4pm to 8.30 pm at the Bahrain Sheraton Hotel (which is owned by the Heir Apparent. Otherer invited personalities include Lady OlgaMaitland (Conservative MP), Colonel Michael Dewar and Mr. John Bulloch. All these personalities are well aware of the situation in Bahrain. The ruling family is desperate and would go for anything to whitewash and legitimise its oppression. It is expected that the government would attempt to isolate the invited speaker from knowing what goes on outside the hotel. But the events in Bahrain have reached such a state that the government will find it hard to conceal the situation. More embarrassing for the government is the fact that a major conference is to take place in the Meridien and Holiday Inn Hotels between 10 to 12 April. The Third Annual Gulf Econoniic Forum has been arranged to receive international personalities, including Saudi Finance Minister, Iranian Petroleum Miliister, Mr P. W. de Klerk of South Africa, Lady Thatcher (UK), Mr. Mocen Qllreshi (Pakistan), I)r. Kurt Waldheim (Austna), Mr. Les Aspin (USA), Mr. Claude Cheysson (France), Ms MargretTutwiler (USA), Mr EdgarMeister (Gennany), Mr Tayoo Gyohten (Japan), and many other distinguished people. This is a very important public relation exercise where the government is aiming to attract international business community to think of Bahrain as the financial capital of the Middle East. These people look for stability and security before investing their money. The government of Bahrain is heading the wrong way by killing its own citizens and jailing thousands. The situation is not likely to calm down and indeed the speakers may find it hard to speak while smelling and inhaling tear gas fired at unarmed citizen demonstrating a mile or two away from the hotels. The hopeless infonnation minister (Tariq Almoayyad) went out of his mind (as usual) to announce (27 March) that his govermnent plans to build new hotels and host 8 major tourism conference as part of a drive to lure more tourists. He told Reuters the private sector in Bahrain would build 20 new hotels at costs ranging between $6 million and $30 million each. Itnow has 44 hotels, including lo five-star hotels. “We in Bahrain feel that tourism is becoming more and more important as a source of strength for our national economy”, he said. Almoayyed also said that income from tourism was expected to soar to $800 million before the year 2000 from around $130 million in 1993. She number of tourists is also expected to rise to four million in the next five years from 1.7 million now . The government has spent millions of dollars to restore old buildings and forts, promote traditional crafts, and create more of leisure parks to lure tourists, he said. Travel agencies, airlines and tour operators from many Arab and European states are due to take part in the Arab travel conference opening in Bahrain on April 25, the minister said. Almoayyed said security and safety were important factors to attract tourists. “There were no problems to either tourists or tourist organisations and we don’t expect any,” he said in reference to the uprising since December. From experience, all predictions of Tariq Almoayyad proved to be false and indeed the truth is found by reversing his statements. He is politically dead. In one of the cabinet meetings both Ali Fakhroo and Yosif Al-Shirawi (Education and Developmentministers) attacked him so harshly on his handling of news coverage since the 5th of December. The prime minister seemed to have instigated the harsh remark It was reported that Almoayyed submitted his resignation, but the PM said to him “not now”. The ruling family cannot absorb the fact that the world is changing significantly, and its claim that backward tribal system are best suited for Bahrain do not attract a decent individual. The outside world and all the visitors to Bahrain will testify to the world the extent of internal oppression.
Pro-Cemocracy Leaders Appeal to British Parliamentary Delegation Date: March 16th, 1995 To: Mr. Wllllam Powell MP. Head of British Parllamentary Delegatlon & Members of the Delegation We would like to welcome you and express our pleasure for your visit to Bahrain. It is certainly an opportunity to witness the level of modernity and developmalt which Bahrain and its people have attained. We hope that you have been able to notice the civilised and the cultured attitude of our people, who achieved that despite the limited size of the country and its national income. However, since 1975 our country has been going through a costitutional crisis . In that year the Govemrnent of B. ahrain dissolved the elected parliament and suspended certain articles of thecostitution . Thel3ahrain constitution which was declared on december 6th, 1973, granted the people of Bahrain all human rights and civil liberties. In fact the declaration of the constitution meant that Bahrain shall enjoy a structured political development through the copoperation of the three branches of authority. But since 1975, B. ahrain has not been enjoying real political stability. The GovettLment has used the unconstitutional State Security Law, which was passed without the approval of the parliament to suppress all kinds of opposition. In many cases the Government in fact did not abide by its own laws. Some detainees remained in prison for a penod of nine years without trial exceeding the three years stipulated by the State Security Law. In 1990,withthedemocratic fcrsoursweeping the whole world, we felt optimistic that our political life in Bahrain shall change. We also hoped that after the Gulf Crisis of 1990 restoration of democracy will eventually take place in B ahrain but nothing happened. However, on 15/ 11/1992 a group of approximately 300 political and professional figures petitioned HH the Amir. The petition demanded the re-implementation of the constitution and the restoration of the parliament. Instead, the Government established an appointed consultative council with limited powers. In principle there is no objection to the establishment of that council as part of the executive branch, but it cannot replace the parliament as a legislative body. Recently, another petition which demands the implementation of the constitution and the restoration of the parliament was signed by approximately 22 thousands Bahraini citizens. Regretably, due to the tension engulfing Bah rain since early l;)ecember 1994, we have not bean able to deliver this petition to HH the Amir. In fact, we have tried several times to obtain an appointment with HH through the Chamberlain, but to no avail. Wc must stress that this petition acknowledges the constitutional legitimacy of the regime and its monarchy. In this context, we would lice to appeal to your democratic ideal, and your constitutional legacy for the support and understanding of the democratic cause in Rahrain. We hope that you would use your good offices to persuade the Govemment of Bahrain to open a dialogue to start democratic political reforms. We are confident that your role in supporting the democratic demands in Bahrain will strengthen the friendly historic relations between our two countries and peoples, and shall enhance the common unden;tan&g in the future. Wishing a pleasant time in Bahrain, we hope that you will enjoy your visit. With our best wishes. Signatures: Dr. Abdul Lsteer Al-Mahmood, Shalkh AWul Ameer Al-Jammry, Ahmed Essk Al-Shamlan, All GbazimRsbea,EbrablmKsmal Al-Deen, Abdul Wabab HsXcsaln (arrested on Frlday the 17tb of Msrch).
More Citizens killed, Detained and Tortued Uprising-2: The Arrest of AbdulWahab Hussain * 8 March: MrHussain Ma’atooq, a 12 years old handicapped person died after being paralysed by a security forces helicopter that circled at a low level around the house of his parent in Daih village. The young person was on the roof at that time and as a result his health deteriorated causing his death. * 16 March: A mass demonstration took to the streets of Sanabis, west of the capital Manama, today at 3.30 pm. local time. The ProDemocracy caTnpaigners distributed pamphlets in the past few days announcing that the demonstration would take place. The security forces were put on fx alert around the surrounding areas. Despite the heavy presence of the latter, hundreds of people emerged from the streets of Sanabis (one-third of whom were women) carrying placards with slogans highlighting the nature of the movement. The slogans, written in Arabic and English, included “We are not Saboteurs, We demand restoration of the constitution, Get-rid of Ian Henderson”, and many others. Photographs of those killed by police were distributed showing the bullets-nddled bodies. Afterwards, the security forces attacked the pro-democracy demonstrators with rubber bullets and tear gas. The marching people scattered in Sanabis and Daih. Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-Ekri, 60 years old from Daih, was arrested today. He has been arrested many times before. Last December he was arrested and spent two months in jail. In 1979,hchadbeendetainedfor 50 months without trial. Sheikh Al-Ekri is well known for his opposition to the government’s . . . pollcles. Mr Ahmed Radhi Al-Meqdad (26 years old, and prepanng formarriage) was participating in the demonstrations that took place in Daih and Jidhafs. He suffered from a ditect hit and is in a critical condition in Salmaniya Hospital. Also today, in Sitra, the oil island, another demonstration took to the streets and clashed with the security forces. Last night, demonst tions spread to Karranah, Jed-al-Haj and Meqshaa. The demonstrators raised the usual demands for restoring the constitution and release of political prisoners. Clashes continued until mid-night, and residents could not Bồ to sleep because of the intensity of tear gas and rubber bullets until early hours of the morning. 17 March: Mr Abdul Wahhab Hussain, was arrested from his house in Nuwaidrat village. Mr~ Hussain is a prominent leader of the oppo sition and a member of the conunittee which submitted the pro-democracy petition in November 1992 and a member of the new cornmittee that sponsored the current petition (with more than 25,000 signatures) calLing for restoration of the constitution and parliament. His arrest came after a mass demonstration took to ale streets of Nuwaidrat yesterday following a speechdeliveredby Mr. Hussain. He commented on the prime minister’s statements that denounced the prod-democracy opponents as sabo tours. Mr Hussain invited the pnme minister to initiate adialogue with the opposition to resolve the crisis. This, Mr Hussairl argued, would be better than threatening the use of more force against apeaceful movement. Thesecunty forces responded by staging a mapr crackdown on many parts of the country. Many people, including entire families were arrested. lEe arrest of Mr. Abdul Wahhab Hussain will certainly fuel more unrest. Mr Abdul Wahhab Hussain, one of the opposition leaders, was arrested on 17 March after delivering a speech in his village of Nuwaidrat inviting the prime minister to initiate a process of dialogue to end the crisis. As a responsible person, he sponsored the pro-democracy petition being submitted to the Amir (Head of State) calling for the restoration of the constitution. His arrest sparked-off a new wave of protests and the government’s irresponsible behaviour exacerbated the situation. Mr Hussain had been spotted in Isa Town Police Station blind-folded. Later on, he was to be taken back to his house, hand-cuffed with a bleeding nose. The police searched the house of Mr Hussain, while his family looked with horror at their hand-cuffed bleeding father. This is a government that takes pride in torturing its citizens Mr Hussain is 42 years old holds a senior post in the Ministry of Education. After graduating from Kuwait University in the late seventies, he returned to Bahrain to participate in leading the pro-democracy movement. He was instrwnental in disseminating and campaigning for the first petition submitted in November 1992, calling for the restoration of the constitution. Also, he was a member of the canrnittee which submitted the petition to the Amir. When that petition was ignored by the govemmentt he joined the leadership of the second petition. The security forces attempted to divert attention from the petition by arresting Sheikh Salman on S December 1994. This arrest sparked-off public anger and the uprisin
started. On 15 January 1995, thesecurity forces forcibly exiled Sheikh Ali Salman and several other leading persona]iities. Public anger and frustration increased as the security forces killed more people by the use of live ammunition. The uprising intensified after the end of the holy month of Ramadhan (end of Febnsy) after the prime rninister declared his pride in the way his security forces dealt with the demonstrators whom he decided to call “saboteurs” linked to foreign quarters. This has back-fired agun and fuelled more protests. The government struck with ferocity and arrested the senior leading personality, Mr Abdul Wahhab Hussain. This we believe will ignite more unrest and protests. This has already started. Last night, Sitra, Nuwaidrat, Duraz, Sanabis and Bilad-alQadeem witnessed some of the worst confrontations with the security forces. Bahrain is destined for a ble
Back to index