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The tribal dictatorship turns the blame to the UK

September 1997: Politics of despair


1 September: Ms. Ismat Al-Mosawi, the local correspondent (stringer) of the BBC Arabic Service, has not been heard on the BBC for sometime. It is widely believed that Ismat had been banned for reporting for the BBC as part of the government’s drive to reinforce a total control of political reporting. Attacking freedom of expression is a consistent feature of the regime in Bahrain. Ms. Ute Meinal of the German News Agency, DPA was expelled from the country last July. Mohammed Al-Ghasrah of UPI was detained and forced to resign from the news agency that is based in Abu Dhabi. Last year, in September 1996, the local Reuters correspondent, Mr. Abbas Salman was jailed for one day as a punishment for reporting on the events in Bahrain.

2 September: The GCC Secretary-General Jameel Al-Hujilan said on 31 August that the Gulf leaders had agreed to appoint a committee to start preparations for setting up a consultative council. “The committee will hold its first meeting in Doha on 2 September”, Reuters quoted Al-Hujilan. Kuwait proposed creating a 30-member consultative council at the GCC summit held in Qatar in 1996. The democratic forces in the Gulf hope that the Gulf leaders would adopt a more accountable and transparent institution than an appointed and powerless consultative council.

3 September:

Amnesty International issued a report on 3 September (AI INDEX: MDE/01/05/97 3) stating that “hundreds of Bahraini nationals have been forcibly exiled from Bahrain, losing the protection of their own state”. Bahrain is the only country in the world that forcibly exile its citizens after arrival at the airport, or after completing their prison terms or simple taking them from thir homes and forcing them to board a plane destined for another country, usually Syria or the UAE.

3 September: The Amiri Court summoned the owners of all bricks factories and stone-crushers who have sites located in the south of the country. The undersecretary of the Amiri Court, Sheikh Duaij Al-Khalifa, instructed the businessmen to kill all stray dogs and cats because they disturb the Amir who spends sometime in the time during the months. The businessmen were surprised because they though the meeting was called for something of importance for the Amir who might have though of talking to them about the political crisis.

3 September: Ahmad Mohammed Al-Khalifa, a member of the ruling family, published on of his poems in Al-Ayyam on 3 September insulting the nation and threatening the use of more violence against the peaceful people of Bahrain. The same person exchanged bad-language poems with the head of the crown prince office in 1995 insulting the people of Bahrain. These poems are indicative of the nature of some of Al-Khalifa tribe who are living in a time and a place that reject such backwardness. While the ruling family encourages one of its members to publish insults, it had banned and imprisoned Bahraini poets such as Ali Hassan Yousif and Ali Salim Al-Orrayedh.

5 September: Riot police besieged the Sadiq Mosque in Qafool, Manama, on 5 September, mid-day. As people gathered for entering the mosque to perform Friday prayer, the foreign forces raided the mosque and prevented the Friday prayers. The raiding of the mosque and prevention of people from praying inside it is one of the hate-based polices that are being practised by the government, and provides another proof for intolerance and racism directed against the citizens, in violation of the UN conventions.

5 September: On 5 September, the security forces arrested Aqil Al-Madani, 30, and subjected to him to sever torture. His health conditions deteriorated markedly and the interior ministry released him on 8 September so that he does not die inside the torture chamber.

5 September: The crown prince, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, visited France on 5 September and met with the French Defence Minister. The crown prince had earlier visited the UK and it is believed that he looking for military equipment and training for his new “National Guard” that was created earlier in the year for increasing the capability of repression against the Bahraini people who are demand their basic rights.

AFP said on 12 September that France and Bahrain reached last week an agreement on defense cooperation. No details were given about the agreement which was reached by French Defense Minister Alain Richard and the crown prince Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, in Paris. The Bahrain Defence Force signed with France an agreement of co-operation in July 1995, under which French armament firms sold 95 million francs (15 million U.S. dollars) of weapons. The crown prince was in London before going to Paris. It is believed that he was looking for military equipment and training for the newly imported foreign troops that were used for the formation of the National Guard. The latter is intended for internal repression.

9 September: The interior ministry published, on 9 September, the names of three citizens it accused of carrying put the fire in Dairy Queen outlet in Adari village, about five km (three miles) south-west of the capital Manama. The fire on 29 August was carried out by around 10 security personnel as a form of revenge against a successful Bahraini businessman. The opposition denounces violence and has called on the interior ministry to stop its people from setting places on fire. The three victims selected by the interior ministry are Abbas Khamis Ahmed, Hassan Ali al-Saeed and Ali Abdullah Salman.

The opposition’s view that the security forces have been involved in arson and sabotage are becoming clearer to many people. The security forces burnt Dairy Queen restaurant on 29 August. In the same period a farm belonging to the younger brother of the Amir, Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman Al-Khalifa (an arch-rival of his brothers the Amir and the Prime Minister) was targeted by a group of arsonists. The farm’s guards managed to capture some of the attackers and these had been identified as members of the intelligence department.

12 September: For the fourth week running, the Al-Khalifa ruling family prevented people from performing Friday prayers in Al-Sadiq mosque in Qafool, Manama. The riot police encircled Al-Sadiq mosque on 12 September and prevented people from approaching the area. In a similar show of force, the Al-Khalifa deployed their foreign forces around Mo’men mosque (Manama) and intercepted those people who wanted to enter the mosque. In Ras-Romman (Manama), members of the intelligence department stopped people and turned them away. This is a newly enforced policy of religious intolerance and follows the appointment of a torturer by the name Abdul Aziz Atteyat-Allah Al-Khalifa as a governor of Manama.

In Karranah, the security forces raided several houses, destroying their contents and arresting youths that happen to be in the houses. The collective punishment raid followed a night of clashes last week.

13 September: Local newspapers said on 13 September that the interior ministry detained five citizens last week and accused them of burning a car. The citizens are Jaffar Mohammed Al-Aali, 17, Ali Ahmed, 17, Sayed Hassan Abdulla Ahmed, 16, Abbas Hani Ahmed, 16, and Mohammed Ali, 16, from Bori village, 16-km (ten miles) southwest the capital Manama. The opposition believes in peaceful civil resistance. However, the security forces have vested interests in attempting to de-rail the opposition by engaging and encouraging arson and sabotage. Through this, the Al-Khalifa vent their hate-based polices against the peaceful nation, while at the same time blaming the people for violence.

14 September: An-Nahda Women Association was holding a meeting to discuss details of the commemoration for the late national figure Ms Aziza Al-Bassam. Security officers stormed the Association and brought the meeting to a halt. He also summoned the participant for interrogation the next day. On 15 September, executive members were threatened that if any activity takes place, the interior ministry will hold them responsible. Nothing to be published in press or in booklets. The threats were made by the notorious officer, Abdul Salam Al-Ansari, chief of Manama Police.

When the distinguished members said that they had permission from the Labour Ministry, the interior ministry official replied “we do not care about any permission. You are banned from gathering or publishing anything about Aziza Al-Bassam”. The opposition has called for one-minute stoppage on 1 October, 11.00 am in respect of Aziza. Aziza was dismissed from Radio Bahrain in 1995 following the submission of the pro-democracy “Women Petition” in March 1995.

16 September: The afternoon of Tuesday, 16 September will not be forgotten. A peaceful traditional procession that is guaranteed by the constitution of the country was passing through the streets of Duraz. The foreign-staffed security forces started their attack when the procession reached the National Bank of Bahrain. Rubber bullets, sharp glass particle bullets and tear gas were all deployed against men, women and children. The security forces stopped short of nothing. An eyewitness said “I saw more than 50 riot police personnel surrounding five youth, beating them until blood covered all their bodies”. “I saw the four-year old son of Yousif Ahmad Abdulla bleeding as a result of a bullet”. The child is now in hospital. “Redha Abdulla Al-Shehabi had one of his arms broken as a result of the beating”. Hundreds were taken prisoners. “Falah Mohammed Habib Al-Asfoor was hit by sharp particle bullets”.

Anther eye witness reported how “the riot police poured petrol on a new car belonging to Seyyed Jaffer Seyyed Mohammed. Then they stepped back and fired live ammunition that caused a huge explosion and total destruction of the car. The riot police then turned to a car belonging to Mohammed Abdul Hussain Saleh and set on fire in a similar way”.

“Two village elders who head local congregation halls were detained. These are heads of Matam al-Shehab and Matam al-Noor: Ali Ahmad Shehab and Abdul Razzaq Zain-al-Din. Both matams were shut down”.

“The aftermath of the atrocities speaks of horrific crimes. The riot police intentionally damaged more than fifty cars, and private properties were ruined. For example, the house of Haji Isa Al-Ajami was ransacked and had its contents damaged or turned upside down”. “Sheikh Jaffer Al-Khal, a blind cleric, was attacked when he started praying in the mosque later on. The riot police smashed the microphone of the mosque and roughly-handled the old man”. “Saleh Mahdi Al-Marzooq and his daughter were both arrested from one of the streets”.

Fadhil Abdul Nabi Kadhim Al-Owd, 17 years old, who had been seriously injured by bullets fired by the security forces in Duraz on 16 September, is critically ill. He is now being treated in Bahrain International Hospital. Ahmad Yousif Ahmad Abdulla, nine-year old, was hit in the back and doctors decided not to operate on him as this might permanently endanger his back.

Others injured include a 3-year old Ali Mohammed Saleh, and elderly women (the mother of Ali Seyed Ahmad, another lady; Ghaneya Mohammed Kadhem,, Fardan Mohammed Kadhem, Ali Mahdi, Mohammed Kadhem Ahmad, Hassan Isa Ahmad Ali, and several others.

17 September: The atrocious attack on Duraz happened on the same day when the Prime Minister started an official visit to Egypt. The ruling Al-Khalifa family had recently established security arrangements with the Egyptian authorities. Last month, the Egyptian government handed over a Bahraini university student by the name Ibrahim Abdul Latif Ibrahim Hussain Dhraboh, 20 years old. Many of the judges in the security courts and in the prosecutor general office are Egyptians imported for processing injustice in Bahrain. The recent warming in relations is also related to the recent condemnation resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Sub-Commission on 21 August.

22 September: The residents of Sitra-Wadyan buried one of their dear children: Yaser Ibrahim Ali Sdaif, 22 years old. Yaser was detained in early 1995 and had suffered extreme forms of torture. One type of torture caused bleeding and resulted in the deterioration of his health. It was the insertion of a bottle in his back passage. He later develeped cancer. His conditions became very serious two months ago. His death brings to mind the horrific treatment of prisoners under the hands of the merciless torture-officers headed by Ian Henderson. We call upon human rights organisations to initiate an investigation into the death of Mr. Sdaif and to urge the Bahraini authorities to stop torturing the people of Bahrain.

18 September: The European Parliament issued an historic resolution condeming human rights violations and absence of political freedoms (see special report).

The opposition welcomed the remarks made on 18 September by Mr. Johnny Young, President Clinton’s nominee to be the next Ambassador to Bahrain, in which he said “we will continue to encourage constructive and decisive action, by the Government of Bahrain to address the underlying political, social and economic causes of the unrest”. However, the opposition rejects any claim that might imply a foreign connection to the internally inspired and led community-based movement.

24, 25, 26 September: The people of Bahrain commemorated the days of 24, 25 and 26 September. These were the days two years ago when Sheikh Al-Jamri and his colleagues calmed down the situation in return for the initiation of political dialogue. The security forces realized then that such a clam down would disadvantage their favorable position within the structure of the state. They attacked the peaceful nation and re-ignited the event that continued until today.

Saddened and angered by such an irresponsible behaviour, the people switched-off lighting on the evening of 24 September. The security forces blocked entrances of the home village of Sheikh Al-Jamri, Bani Jamra, aiming to prevent the people from congregating in the village. The grand mosques of Al-Sadiq in Qafool (Manama) and Khawajah in Makharga (Manama) were besieged. Entranced to the capital were manned with security forces for stopping people and turning them away.

The scholar who leads the prayer in Khawajah mosque, Seyyed Saeed Seyed Alawi was arrested on 26 September, 10.00 am local time, together with the two persons in-charge of the mosque. The officer who led the house-raiding of the scholar and the two men was the Yemeni officer Mogbil. The mosques of Al-Sadiq and Khwajah continued to be under siege until Friday night (26 September).

On 25 September, at 6.25 pm local time, the security forces fired tear gas inside al-Khawajah mosque, raided the mosque compound and arrested at least 35 people. These included Ali Al-Moot and Yaser Mohammed Abdul Rasool from Sanabis, Hani Ali Ahmed Radhi and Jaffar Al Shia’lah from Zinj.

The main Budaya Highway (near Jedhafs and Daih) was blocked on Friday 26 September, 8.30 pm local time. The security forces launched an attack against the citizens in that area. Similar skirmishes were reported near Duraz on the preceding nights.

Housing Minister and Acting Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Abulla Al Khalifa met with European ambassadors in Bahrain on 29 September regarding the resolution issued by the European Parliament on 18 September. The Resolution condemned the violation of human rights by the security forces and the absence of political freedoms. The government was also condemned by the UN Human Rights Sub-Commission on 21 August.

The Times – 17 September 1997

“Bahrain rebuffed: Britain has rejected fresh complaints from Bahrain that it is sheltering opponents of the Emir’s rule (Michael Binyon writes).

The Bahraini Government, smarting from the presence in Britain of Islamic dissidents, yesterday, called in the British Ambassador to emphasise its condemnation of those giving them refuge.

In response, Britain denied that it sheltered terrorists and said it would not forbid entry to anyone with proper documentation and clean record”.

Go Back to Data Base News for 1997

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