July 1997: The mercenary forces intensify their collective punishment against the citizens
I July: Reuters reported that “an explosion rocked a hotel in central Manama early on Tuesday, smashing a hotel window but not causing any injuries, an executive of the hotel said. “It was a simple, small explosion outside the hotel,” the executive at the four-star Delmon Hotel told Reuters by telephone from Manama. “One window was broken. I think it was a bomb. No one was hurt, everyone is safe,” he said, adding the blast occurred at around 4.15 a.m. (0115 GMT) this morning..Witnesses said part of the roof of the hotel’s nightclub had collapsed due to the explosion. They said workers were clearing up the area and police were setting up checkpoints nearby”. AP reported “several gas cylinders exploded today in the kitchen of a luxury Bahrain hotel, severely damaging the building but causing no casualties. The cause of the morning explosion at the Delmon International Hotel was under investigation, security officials said. The blast destroyed a kitchen and some furniture and brought down a ceiling of the 120-room hotel. Windows of neighboring shops also cracked and glass pieces littered the street”.
1 July: The information ministry expelled the German agency reporter T he correspondent of DPA (Deutsche Presse Agentur) Ute Meinel had been expelled early Tuesday for a report she wrote quoting the BFM. “The expulsion was criticised by DPA’s top editors in Hamburg who called it completely incomprehensible and a violation of the principles of press freedom,” DPA said. “The German Foreign Office in Bonn summoned Bahrain’s ambassador so it could express Germany’s disagreement with what it called Bahrain’s ‘harsh reaction’,” DPA said. At the same time the gulf News Agency spread its version by saying that DPA and the German Foreign Ministry “apologised”. This is what the official GNA story said; “the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Information received a written apology from the DPA head office in Hamburg”. The world witnessed how a bankrupt government lies without shame.
2 July: Hundreds of people gathered in Hoora Cemetery of Manama to commemorate the 3rd day of martyrdom of Sheikh Ali Al-Nachas, who was killed by the interior ministry while in detention. At the end of the commemoration ceremony, hundreds marched through the capital Manama going through the old city centre, stretching from the American Missionary Hospital, into Sheikh Abdulla Road and ending in Nuaim district. Shops closed down as the demonstrators forced their way while the security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets. This demonstration proved that the will of the people is mightier that the mercenary forces imported from all over the world for the purpose of repressing the nation. Several other places witnessed clashes simultaneously, including Bani Jamra, Daih, Sanabis, Qerrayah, and Duraz.
3 July: The Al-Khalif were angered when the Kuwaiti government refused to hand over Bahrain citizens being held in Kuwait for no legitimate reason. The Kuwaiti interior minister visited Bahrain to explain the complexities.
Clashes in Manama surfaced when riot police besieged the districts of Ras-Romman, Nuaim and Makharga districts of the capital, Manama. In Nuaim, the security forces fired tear gas at mid-night (12.00 am, and early hours of Friday, 4 July). Many residents were arrested and several had been injured. The tense situation continued with further attacks reported around Nuaim and towards Makharga.
4 July: The mercenary forces attacked Bilad Al-Qadim deploying tear gas and rubber bullets. They also deployed the sharp-particles bullets that spread large number of painful particles in the body and started beating citizens indiscriminately. The wife of Seyed Baqir Ali had her chin broken by several direct beating on the face. The mercenary forces arrested many people who gathered for a traditional program at “Matam Al Jishi” of Bilad al-Qadim and attached three local mosques and arbitrarily arrested several people.
4 July: The London-based Al-Arab newspaper published a lengthy interview with the representative of the Popular Front in Bahrain, Mr. Abdul Nabi Al-Ekri. Al-Ekri said that the “Al-Khalifa are still considering themselves as Conquerors owning a conquered nation.
5 July: Reuters reported that a “power generator blew up at a luxury hotel in the Bahraini capital Manama”. “The fire at the Diplomat Hotel was caused by an electricity generator explosion,” the official said. “The blaze occurred on the 14th floor, but there were no casualties or damage.” One firefighter at the 14-storey hotel said: “The fire was small but the smoke was thick.” Residents and local newspapers said a fire had damaged Moonlight Restaurant near Ramada Hotel in Manama on Friday night, but there was no immediate report of casualties. Another blaze on Friday gutted a sweet factory and damaged a nearby building and several residential rooms occupied by Asian workers in Muharraq, linked to Manama by a three km (two mile) causeway. A third fire destroyed a building also in Muharraq”.
Citizens in Duraz and Bani Jamra clashed with the foreign forces on Saturday 5 July. At 03:30 pm, riot police attacked Duraz and smashed 22 cars as part of the collective punishment programme. When the cars’ owners complained to the police, they were told that these attacks were not “notifiable offences”.
6 July: It was announced that the UN overall coordinator in Bahrain, Faisal Abdul Qadir, will be the main guest of party to be organized by the information ministry on 6 July. The Bahraini government has promised Abdul Qadir a Bahraini passport in return for his special services. He had earlier conducted a witch-hunt against Bahraini citizens who handed a letter of complaint addressed to the UN Secretary General. The opposition has complained to the UN Human Rights Centre that the letter might not reach the UN Secretary General. He will also be responsible for any harm caused to the submitters.
6 July: Reuters reported “a Bangladeshi was killed and another was in serious condition when a group attacked a cold store in Sitra on Saturday night,”. The sencond person did later. The opposition deplored the killing of innocent people and blamed the security forces.
6 July: The sige of Kharjeya and Wadyan started today. Brutal attacks on Sitra resulted in the injuring of a five-year old child, Mohammed Abdul Adhim, together with his mother, both of whom are now in hospital suffering from wounds caused by the firing of sharp-particles bullets.
6 July: Ali bin Ahmed Al-Shehabi and Abdul-Razaq Zain al-Din (leaders of assembly halls – matams) were summoned by al-Khamis police station and threatened that the assembly halls will be shut down. Also, the minister of justice, summoned senior personalities and threatened them that more mosques and assembly halls will be ransacked and shut down if the citizens continue calling for political reforms.
7 July: Chase Manhattan Bank, offshore banking unit (OBU) decided to close down the Bahrain offices at the end of July and move to London.The Japanese Okasan International liquidated the company from 1 July.
8 July: Reuters reported “An apparent arson attack destroyed a restaurant in Bahrain, causing extensive damage but no casualties. The restaurant was closed when the blaze occurred.
9 July: The former 3,500-ton USS Jack Williams frigate arrived in Mina Salman to serve as the island’s first warship. The gift’s upgrade work cost $50 million. At the same time the ruling family requested the purchase of 20 F-16 A/B (or 10 F-16 C/D) fighter jets, along with U.S. training and spare parts costing around $300 million. While the US Congress approval is being processed, the Al-Khalifa are using these equipment as scare-crow.
9 July: Sheikh Isa Qassim, member of both the Constituent and National Assemblies issued a statement stating “The initiation of serious dialogue that conforms with the truthful values of justice is a language welcomed by all rational people for solving problems. The people in Bahrain have non-extravagant legitimate demands. The people’s position is solid…. The popular reform movement has its representatives who are on the ground and on the forefront: Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri together with his imprisoned colleagues as well as those forcibly exiled..”.
9 July: The house of Mohammed Dhraboh in Nuweidrat was raided and had its contents destroyed. The ignorant forces demanded that Mr. Dhraboh hands over his son, Jasim, who is FIVE-years old. A teacher from Bilad al-Qadim, Sa’eed Abdulla Al Basri (who works in a school in Isa Town) was arrested accused of refusing to identify a student thought to have written slogans on exam papers. The forces had arrested 57 person from Bilad al-Qadim (20 of whom have been transferred to the “Dry Dock-Hidd” prison while the rest are still in al-Khamis prison).
11 July: The siege and ransacking lasted until11 July. Men, women and children were lined up by security forces in rows and pinched with the sharp knives at the end of the machine guns. Ladies were beaten in front of their relatives with shocking news of manually-handling the women as part of the collective punishment scheme. The news from Wadyan and Kharjeya villages of Sitra Island is continuing to shock the nation. The interior ministry claimed it had arrested four people. In fact, the number is more than a hundred. The four persons (referred to in the official report) are Khalil Ibrahim Makki, 17, Hamad Salman Al-Aali, 17, Makki Abdulla Makki, 14, and Zakarya Jasim Ahmad, 17. The latter was not in the house, so the security forces took his sister as a hostage until he gave himself up.
11 July: So horrific was the news from Sitra that the interior ministry rushed to create a distraction. The evil forces stormed an assembly hall (Matam) in Iskan-Jedhafs and set it on fire at 5.30 am on Friday 11 July. Later in the day, the interior ministry surrounded the area with security forces and some agents working in the local press were ordered to photograph the scene. Witnesses believe that the Al-Khalifa rulers have authorized a dirty campaign. The security forces were setting shops, houses ,and now, matam on fire, then blaming the fires on the citizens, to be followed by house-to-house raids and ransacking. This vicious episode can only worsen the situation as the people realize that this ruling establishment continues to behave irresponsibly.
15 July: A mother was shot with a rubber bullet when she resisted the arrest of her son in Sanabis on 15 July. Mrs. Najeeba Al-Sayyed Ali, was injured while defending her son Mohammed Hassan Mahdi, 22. Also arrested from Sanabis was Seyyed Jaffer Alawi Abdulla, 21. The security forces raided the house of Haji Abbas Abdulla Fardan in Northern-Sehla on 18 July and arrested his four sons: Hamid and Abdulla, 19 (twins), Hassan, 16, and Ammar 18. Also, they raided the house of Haji Ahmad Abdulla and arrested his son, Isa, 21.
16 July: The security forces attacked a demonstration in Sanabis . The people of Sanabis commemorated the 40th day of the martyrdom of Abdul Zahra Ibrahim Abdulla, who was killed by the interior ministry on 6 June. Daih, Ghoreifa and Mahooz were amongst the residential areas witnessing clashes in the past days.
17 July: The public has been outraged at the killing of a 19-year female citizen (Nawal Ahmad Marhoon, from Nuwiedrat) at the hands of a 35-year old Pakistani/Baluchi security officer (Sultan Ahmad Hussain). The government-controlled papers claimed that the security officer murdered the girl because she refused to marry him.
18 July: Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri, the leading political figure has gone on hunger strike together with some of his detained colleagues protesting at the killing of Sheikh Ali Al-Nachas inside the prison on 29 June. Two security officers were responsible for the killing of the religious scholar Sheikh Ali Al-Nachas. Informed sources revealed that the two torturers are a Yemeni (Abdul Sattar) and a Pakistani/Baluchi (Mohammed Hayat). The two had been responsible for ill-treating, beating and depriving the basic needs of the martyred scholar. The hunger strikers are also demanding an access to news from the outside world.
19 July: The Economist published an article on 19 July entitled ‘Bahrain’s spreading flames” saying that unemployment has reached 40% and that demands for political reforms have not been responded to. The article expressed its concern for the death of guest worker, which the opposition deplored. Commenting on arrest of citizens, the Economist said that the methods for rounding-up suspects and the production of confession within hours ensure that the friction continues. “Houses of suspected troublemakers are broken into, valuables often pocketed by the Baluchi mercenaries who make up the bulk of this lightly armed force. Relatives are detained at police stations until the wanted brother, son or father gives himself up. Women report being threatened with rape by their Bahraini jailers. With no resident western journalist left on the island (a German correspondent was recently expelled) and little public accountability, Bahrain’s courts and prisons have a pretty free hand”.
20 July: Local papers said “fires gutted a supermarket and a shop in Isa town over the weekend but there were no reports of casualties.
21 July: Scores of children were among those held including a seven-year-old girl from the village of Bani Jamra.The fate of Iman Hassan Ibrahim, seven, was not yet known after she was summoned by police for questioning.
22 July: The residents of Bani Jamra commemorated the first anniversary of the martyrdom of Zahra Ibrahim Kadhim, 53, who was beaten to death by the Al-Khalifa mercenaries.
24 July: Human Rights Watch issued a mjor 109-page report on Bahrain. Book title: Routine Abuse, Routine Denial. Civil Rights and the Political Crisis in Bahrain. Author: Human Rights Watch / Middle East
ISBN 1-56432-218-1, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 97-73623
Web Site Address: http://www.hrw.org
Bahrain : ROUTINE ABUSE, ROUTINE DENIAL
Civil Rights and the Political Crisis in Bahrain
Human rights abuses in Bahrain are wide-ranging and fall into two basic categories. The first relates to law enforcement and administration of justice issues. These encompass the behavior of security forces toward those under arrest and detention, and when confronting civil disturbances; arbitrary detention; physical and psychological abuse of detainees; denial of access to legal counsel; and denial of the right to a swift and impartial judicial hearing.
The second area of human rights violations relates to the broad denial of fundamental political rights and civil liberties, including freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly, and the right to participate in the conduct of public affairs. In terms of numbers of people affected, the situation has been particularly acute since the end of 1994, with the onset of a period of protracted civil unrest that has continued into the spring of 1997. This unrest has increasingly taken on the coloration of a sectarian conflict between the majority Shi’a population and the Sunni ruling family and military-political establishment.
Human Rights Watch calls on the government of Bahrain to repeal all laws and decrees that unduly restrict the ability of Bahraini citizens to exercise peacefully their rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression. Human Rights Watch also urges an end to the practice of detaining people for unlimited or extended periods without charge, and an end to the practice of interrogating detainees without allowing access to legal counsel.
(2181) 7/97, 120 pp., ISBN 1-56432-218-1, $10.00/£8.95
ALSO SEE SUMMARY
25 July: Kathy Evans (the Guardian, 25 July) commented on the position of the British Foreign Office by referring to the statement made by both the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, and his junior Minister Derek Fatchett. In a speech to aid agencies less than a week ago, Mr. Cook reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to supporting democratic procedures. ” Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his or her country through democratic procedures. These are rights which we have a duty to demand for those who do not enjoy them” In the light of the latter, Kathy Evans questioned the policy towards the all-appointed Shura Council in Bahrain.
25 July: The security forces occupied the girls’ school at the entrance of Sanabis. The school is being used as a garrison for armed forces. Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its report condemned such an attack on education. HRW called for the return of the educational establishment to civil administration. Similarly, the foreign forces besieged Hoora Cemetery in Manama and deployed their units near “Matam al-Safafeer” in the old town centre. Other units encircled principal mosques around the capital.
25 July: Over the past 30 months, mosques and religious places had been ransacked, damaged and recently an assembly hall was burnt in Iskan-Jedhafs. The Al-Khalifa’s forces are waging a dirty war, whereby, public, private and religious properties are being burnt/damaged for enflaming internal conflicts amongst citizens. Three innocent citizens Abdul Redha Taher Mohammed Abdul-Same’a, 17, Ahmad Abdulla Al-Asfoor, 21, and Hamad Isa Al-Mowlani, 21, had their pictures published in the papers accused of burning the matam.
On 28 July, Haji Abdulla Fakhro was arrested for one day. Haji Abdulla spent over a year in detention and was released earlier in the year. He is well known for his outspoken criticism of corruption and abuse of power.
27-29 July: The security forces attacked Sitra again and arrested several people. The house of Radhi Al-Toq was ransacked and the entire family was taken hostage until the son Hussein handed over himself to the foreign torturer. After Hussein handed himself on 29 July, his parents were released together with his sisters. His brother Abbas remained in detention. The policy of taking hostages is being practiced in flagrant violation of Bahrain’s constitution and international human rights standards.
Another child was injured. The 3-year old Mustafa Abdulla was hit by a cluster-bullet that exploded in his body spreading sharp particles. The same types of bullets also hit two sisters: Amal Abdul Jabbar and Narjis Abdul Jabbar. When the two girls went to Sitra Medical Centre, they were refused treatment. The 5-year old boy Mohammed Abdul Adhim is still in hospital suffering from a bullet directed at him by Al-Khalifa mercenary forces during the ransacking and siege of Wadyan between 6 and 11 July. Ali Abdul Nabi Abdul Wahab, 17, was also hit by a rubber bullet. He was arrested and publicly beaten by the foreign forces while at pain. The people of Sitra declared the night of 27 July as a night of solidarity with those arrested and injured. All lights were switched off starting from 7:30 p.m. until the next morning.
30 July: Business sources revealed that Digital Corporation, the well-known high-tech company has decided to close and move its Middle East headquarters from Bahrain to Dubai. The closure will include the training centre, which the Labour Minister Abdul Nabi Shu’la often uses as an example for his training scheme. The opposition is not happy to see businesses closing down and believes that the irrationality of the ruling family is costing Bahrain its stability and long term viability. The Al-Khalifa rulers are comforting themselves with he cash received as donations from Saudi Arabia and Abo Dhabi. They wasted those donations in the importation of mercenary armed units from Yemen and the Syrian desert.
LONDON, July 22 (Reuter) – An exiled Bahraini opposition group said on Tuesday Bahrain had arrested 24 Shi’ite Moslems over the past seven days in connection with political unrest in the Gulf Arab state.
The Bahrain Freedom Movement said in a statement sent to an international news agency that 14 children were among those held including a seven-year-old girl from the Shi’ite village of Bani Jamra, some 12 km (seven miles) west of the capital Manama.
They were held in various areas of Bahrain, it said, adding some had been freed but others were still in detention.
“The fate of Iman Hassan Ibrahim, seven, was not yet known after she was summoned by police…for questioning. She lives with her parents in Bani Jamra area,” the movement said.
The claim could not be immediately confirmed.
Bahraini officials have repeatedly denied the arrest of children but they say that the Gulf Arab state sometimes summoned people for questioning over acts of violence.
More than 30 people had been killed on the island since anti-government protests, bombings and arson attacks by Bahrain’s majority Shi’ite community started in December 1994. Hundreds of people had been detained.
Bahrain: Seven-year old summoned by the CID; Hunger strikers isolated in solitary confinement
A car belonging to the hated security forces parked in front of a house inBani Jamra, northwest of Bahrain. The security men, unashamedly, demanded to see a seven-year old girl, Iman Hassan Ibrahim. At the end of this encounter, the shameless officers handed over a summon for the child to attend for further interrogation and ill-treatment at the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) headquarters in Adleya, Manama, on 21 July. In the past few days, the security forces that are trained to consider the indigenous population as enemies rounded up many children.
Sheikh Hasan Sultan, one of the jailed hunger strikers, had been transferred to the worst solitary confinement cell in the Bourj (the Tower in the Qal’a prison). Other strikers are reported to have also been isolated. The hunger strike by the jailed leader Sheikh Al-Jamri and his colleagues was started in protest against the killing inside jail of Sheikh Ali Al-Nachas on 29 June. The hunger strikers are also demanding access to news.
The burning of the assembly hall, “Matam Iskan-Jedhafs”, by the security forces was followed-up by a pre- planned campaign aimed at inciting internal conflict. The security forces failed to do so, and hence vented their hatred by arrested the following youths from Iskan-Jedhafs: Ismail Ali Makki, 23, Abdul Redha Taher, 22, Ahmad Abdulla Al-Asfoori, 18, Isa Salman Alwani (child), 12, Bashar Naser Matrook, 20, Ali Radhi, 24, Aqil Radhi, 19, Raed (child), 12, Jasim Ahmad Abbas, 19, Ali Redha Ahmad, 18, Jasim, 22.
A mother was shot with a rubber bullet when she resisted the arrest of her son in Sanabis on 15 July. Mrs. Najeeba Al-Sayyed Ali, was injured while defending her son Mohammed Hassan Mahdi, 22. Also arrested from Sanabis was Seyyed Jaffer Alawi Abdulla, 21. The security forces raided the house of Haji Abbas Abdulla Fardan in Northern-Sehla on 18 July and arrested his four sons: Hamid and Abdulla, 19 (twins), Hassan, 16, and Ammar 18. Also, they raided the house of Haji Ahmad Abdulla and arrested his son, Isa, 21.
The following were known to have been arrested in the past days. From Daih: Ibrahim Salman Haider, 13, and his neighbour Ibrahim, also 13. From Tobli: Abdul Hadi Khalil Ibrahim, 20, Seyyed Ismail Ali Ismail, 21, Yonis Mansoor Al-Arnoot, 19, Seyyed Jaffer Mohammed Hashim, 15, Seyyed Baqir Abdul Nabi Baqir, 18, Mohammed Abdulla Hamza, 17, Amer Abdulla Moftah, 18, Shakir Isa Al-Mekbas, 17, Ahmad Abdul Aziz Al-Hindi, 18, Ali Jaffer Al-Hindi, 16, Jasim Ahmad Eid, 20, Ali Mohammed Saeed, 18, Redha Abdul Hussain Al-Haraj, 18, Saleh Ali Saleh, 20, Abdul Redha Ali Saleh, 21, Naser Ali Isa, 17, Hussain Mirza Hasan Al-Haraj, 17, Hussain Ali Hasan Al-Haraj, 17, Hussain Abdulla Moftah, 25. From Nuweidrat: Jaffer Abbas Marhoon, 14, Shafiq Ikseel, 21, Mostafa Ahmad Ikseel, 18, Marhoon Ahmad Marhoon, 17, Abdul Redha Hussain Al-Moalim, 18, the son of Mohammed Al-Farhood, 16.
The following were beaten in public and released in Nuweidrat: Abbas Matar, 24,Yonis Jaffer, 19, Hussain Mansoor, 18, Hassan Mansoor, 15, Salman Ibrahim, 14. From Samahij: Ammar Khalil, 17. From Qerraya: Abdul Amir Mohsin Abdulla, 21.
Local newspapers reported that fires gutted a supermarket and a shop in Isa Town on 19 July. Clashes, loud sound of explosions continued to be reported in the past days. The heavy- handednes of the security forces and the continued ransacking of residential areas as well as the ruining of mosques and assembly halls, are exacerbating the situation.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
20 July 1997
Fax: (44) 171 278 9089
Bahrain: A demonstration attacked in Sanabis; Burning of holy places condemned
The security forces attacked a demonstration in Sanabis on 16 July. The people of Sanabis commemorated the 40th day of the martyrdom of Abdul Zahra Ibrahim Abdulla, who was killed by the interior ministry on 6 June. His death followed the beating and arrest by the security forces during an attack against the residents of Sanabis on 1 June. The people marched through the streets and headed towards the main Budaya Highway. The foreign forces deployed rubber bullets and tear gas.
In Isa Town, the security forces arrested some 15 youths in the past few days. In Arrad, the security forces attacked a procession and arbitrarily arrested Mahdi Abdulla Isa, 26, and his two brothers Mohammed, 16, and Mohsin, 19, Ali Mohsin Jaffer, 21, Ibrahim Ali Hassan, 17, Abdul Ghani Isa Jaffer, 21, Ahmad Ali Ahmad, 24, Isa Mohammed Isa, 27, Ammar Mohammed Isa, 16, Mohammed Hassan, 15, Badr Ali Radhi, 17, Hasan Ali Radhi, 16, Abd Ali Jaffer, Haji Ali Al-Aradi, 69, Abdul Sahib Salman Mohammed, 26, Adnan Mohammed Isa Al-Sabea, 15, Younis Ali Mohammed Rashid, 23, Mohammed Abdul Hussain, 24, Ali Habib Idris, 24, Bassam Khalil, 17.
After committing the crime of burning the assembly hall (Matam) in Isak-Jedhafs, the security forces raided the houses of 15 youths and led them to the torture chambers in al-Khamis police station. The Al-Khalifa rulers have authorized the ransacking and burning of holy places as part of their hate-based persecution of the indigenous community. Religious leaders have condemned the security forces and called on the people to unite against these desperate acts. The security forces are experimenting with the same tactics that were used by the ex-South African apartheid regime. The latter attempted to halt change by igniting conflicts amongst the deprived Black masses. The Al-Khalifa and their foreign advisors will certainly fail, in the same way as the apartheid regime failed to halt the inevitable political reform process.
A joint statement issued on 17 July by the BFM, the Popular Front and the National Liberation Front of Bahrain called on the nation to consolidate their resistance in the face of a dictatorship that attempts to transfer Bahrain’s society into factions, through sectarianism, and through the burning of holy places. The joint statement called on the ruling family to learn from the Algerian case, where the authorities had to release Mr. Abbas Madani and resort to common sense. The ruling family insists on continuing its campaign against the indigenous community in an attempt to colour the struggle for civil right in a certain way. Bahrain under such misguided rule has no bright future. The statement also called on the GCC and friendly countries to use their influence by urging the ruling family to start behaving in a mature manner by recognizing that serious dialogue is the only way out of the political crisis. Such dialogue can only succeed if it were conducted with the Committee for Popular Petition that includes the imprisoned leading figure, Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
18 July 1997
Fax: (44) 171 278 9089
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) 16 July– Security forces raided homes and a religious procession in a Shiite Muslim village, seizing several dissidents demanding political and social reform, an opposition group said Wednesday.
In all, government forces arrested 23 Shiite activists Tuesday and Wednesday in raids on Arrad, a village near the island nation’s capital, Manama, and a handful of other communities, the BFM said.
Bahrain’s Shiites, who are a slight majority of the Persian Gulf island’s 400,000 population, have carried out a campaign for over two years to demand more rights from the Sunni Muslim-ruled government.
The Shiite community has demanded more jobs and political rights, accusing the ruling Al Khalifa family of discrimination. The Al Khalifas belong to the Sunni sect of Islam, which is the majority in most Arab countries.
Bahrain: A “Not-very-clever” campaign initiated by Al-Khalifa
The brutality of the Al-Khalifa regime is now being augmented by a campaign of deception, rumours and “not-very-clever” lies. Had there been a wise political leadership, Bahrain would have been saved from the never-ending crisis. The Al-Khalifa adopted a strategy for discrimination and victimisation against the indigenous community. They assumed, as their torturers always stated to the detained citizens, that “as long as the victims come from the Shia community, then the regional and international political powers will turn a blind eye”.
The hate-based policy peaked on 3 June 1996, when the Al-Khalifa claimed that they uncovered a coup-attempt against their rule. Later on, a handful of youths and teenagers were sentenced to jail terms up to 15 years. Then, the public was told that Qatar attempted to destabilise the country and that the Bahrain Defence Force was being prepared for a hundred wars. Later, the heir apparent, who led that campaign, proposed a full unification with Qatar! Qatari leaders told him that such a proposal needed what he fears most: “public referendum”. Nothing has been heard since then. The complex situation got worse when the events re-surfaced with more martyrs falling in detention centres and during demonstrations.
The regime’s advisors feel they had ran out of fictions. Iran’s relations with Saudi Arabia and Egypt are improving and the small State of Bahrain would not be allowed to accuse Iran in the coming period. Hence another trick must be found. Flagrant repression and discrimination against the indigenous Shia population is being internationally exposed. The UN, as well as international media, are being presented with documentary evidence of the racist policies. The people are arriving at a solid reality: that this ruling establishment does not identify with the people of Bahrain and has shown its preparedness to continue hating. It imported thousands of mercenaries, granted them citizenship, armed and deployed them against the citizens.
All the above explain why the ruling establishment initiated its latest ploy. Following the shocking crimes committed against the citizens in Sitra, the security forces burnt a matam (assembly hall) in Iskan-Jedhafs on 11 July. Another one, in Muqsha’a, was also set ablaze on 12 July. The Al-Khalifa rulers hope that burning the Shia religious places, and then blaming these on the Shia themselves would help them create internal conflicts. This would also provide them with an excuse to continue their original policy of ransacking mosques and assembly halls, which they have been doing for the past thirty months. To their disappointment, all these acts are “not-very-clever” and hence the people have vowed to continue their civil resistance until the end of semi-apartheid racism from Bahrain.
Bahrain, one of the ancient civil societies, is incompatible with the tribal mentality that discriminates against citizens on the basis of tribalism, ethnicity, sectarianism or nationality. The people of Bahrain, from all strands and social groups, have come together to demand a decent life bounded by a constitutional framework.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
14 July 1997
Fax: (44) 171 278 9089
(Updates with government denial, pvs LONDON)
MANAMA, July 14 (Reuter) – Bahrain on Monday denied an opposition report that 17 Shi’ite Moslems, including children, had been arrested in connection with political unrest in the Gulf Arab state.
“The report is completely incorrect,” a government official told Reuters.
But he said that sometimes the state “summon a number of people to question them about crimes connected with acts of violence and sabotage. It is a routine security measure to complete investigations.”
The exiled Bahrain Freedom Movement said earlier in a statement in London that five people under age 16 were among the detainees who were held in two Shi’ite areas.
Ten people were held in the small island of Sitra, linked with the capital Manama by a three km (two miles) causeway, and seven were arrested in al-Qurraiya village, it said.
Bahrain, the Gulf’s main financial and banking centre, said last week it had arrested four people after a deadly arson attack on a cold store in Sitra in which two Bangladeshi workers died.
The Bahrain Freedom Movement said police had also detained, beat and later freed a 13-year-old boy, Sayyed Hassan Sayyed Alawi. It gave no further details.
Bahrain: Crimes against humanity
The siege and ransacking of Sitra lasted for six days from Friday 4 July to Thursday 11 July). Men, women and children were lined up by security forces in rows and pinched with the sharp knives at the end of the machine guns. Ladies were beaten in front of their relatives with shocking news of manually-handling the women as part of the collective punishment scheme. The news from Wadyan and Kharjeya villages of Sitra Island is continuing to shock the nation. Witnesses described how a cluster bullet exploded in the chest of the 5-year old Mohammed Abdul-Adhim, who is now in hospital together with his mother. The interior ministry claimed it had arrested four people. In fact, the number is more than a hundred. The four persons (referred to in the official report) are Khalil Ibrahim Makki, 17, Hamad Salman Al-Aali, 17, Makki Abdulla Makki, 14, and Zakarya Jasim Ahmad, 17. The latter was not in the house, so the security forces took his sister as a hostage until he gave himself up.
So horrific was the news from Sitra that the interior ministry rushed to create a distraction. The evil forces stormed an assembly hall (Matam) in Iskan-Jedhafs and set it on fire at 5.30 am on Friday 11 July. Later in the day, the interior ministry surrounded the area with security forces and some agents working in the local press were ordered to photograph the scene. Witnesses believe that the Al-Khalifa rulers have authorized a dirty campaign. The security forces are setting shops, houses ,and now, matam on fire, then blaming the fires on the citizens, to be followed by house-to-house raids and ransacking. This vicious episode can only worsen the situation as the people realize that this ruling establishment continues to behave irresponsibly.
The opposition calls on the international human rights organizations to intervene and to force the establishment of an independent investigation to put an end to the misbahviour of the foreign security forces and their agents who are attempting to provoke wide-scale violence and arson.
Some of those arrested in the past few days were as follows. From Sitra: Jaffer Hasan Abo-Sara, 24, Mohammed Hasan Abo-Sara, 20, Sadiq Ali Al-Durazi, 19, Ali Abdul Nabi Habib, 18, Hassan Abdul Nabi Habib, 18, Mansoor Ibrahim al-Attar, 16, Mohammed Yasin Mohammed, 19, Jabir Mohammed Ali, 20, Hamza Ahmad Al-Modhbet, 32, Hasan Ali Al-Jerdabi, 24. From Qerraya: Seyyed Mortadha Shobbar Helal, 28, Seyed Abbas Abdulla Ahmad, 19, Seyyed Hashim Husain Mohsin, 17, Seyyed Kadhim Adnan Mohsin, 17, Seyyed Yousif Hasan Yousif, 15, Seyyed Hamid Salih Adnan, 14, Ahmad Abdul Nabi Al-Sari, 15, Seyed Ali Nazar Alawi, 14, and his brother Hassan, 13, Aqil Abdul Hassan Abdulla, 21, Jasim Ahmad abdulla, 20, Ahmad Mahdi Mahfoodh, 16, Mohammed Matooq Ali, 15, Seyyed Mahmood Ali, 15, and his brother Aqil, 14, Abdul Mohsin Isa Abdul Mohsin, Ali Ahmad Abdulla, 14, Jaffer Saeed, 14, Zuhair, 14, Hussain Mohammed Ashor, 14. From Isa Town: Jalal Mansoor, 15, Jabir Ali Redha, 15, Hassan Saleh, 15, Mostafa Ahmad Salman, 15, Fadhil Al-Mahoozi, 18 (he was arrested in Salmanya Hosptial while undergoing a medical testament).
Bahrain Freedom Movement
12 July 1997
Fax: (44) 171 278 9089
Bahrain: Serious dialogue is the only way for solving the crisis
Sheikh Isa Qassim, the distinguished religious and political figure (member of both the Constituent and National Assemblies) issued a statement on 9 July stating “The initiation of serious dialogue that conforms with the truthful values of justice is a language welcomed by all rational people for solving problems. The people in Bahrain have non-extravagant legitimate demands. The people’s position is solid…. The popular reform movement has its representatives who are on the ground and on the forefront: Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri together with his imprisoned colleagues as well as those forcibly exiled. This representation was proven by action, not by words. Negations relating to people’s matters are not like business negotiations. They are the manifestation of painful struggle, values and spiritual feelings… The slogans of the reform movement are rights-based. The government must guarantee the deprived rights. The end of the crisis is in the attainment of these rights. The martyrdom of Sheikh Ali Al-Nachas is the responsibility of the government until proven otherwise. I condemn all the fires and sabotage that destroy properties and that cause death. There are agents provoking the situation. Independent investigations are non-existent. We call on the government to put an end by starting to bring to justice all those known persons who caused the death of people starting with the well-known person who caused death under torture”.
Bahrain: Citizens injured in atrocious attacks
Bahrain suffers from the abuses of a governing establishment that does not identify with the nation. On 4 July, the mercenary forces attacked Bilad Al-Qadim deploying tear gas and rubber bullets. They also deployed the sharp-particles bullets that spread large number of painful particles in the body and started beating citizens indiscriminately. The wife of Seyed Baqir Ali had her chin broken by several direct beating on the face. The mercenary forces arrested many people who gathered for a traditional program at “Matam Al Jishi” of Bilad al-Qadim and attached three local mosques and arbitrarily arrested several people including: Sayed Khalil Sayed Majid, Khalil Juma, Ali Juma, Rhadi Al Hawwaj, Shaker Al Hawwaj, Anwar Al Hawwaj (the three are brothers of Sheikh Hamza Al-Hawwaj who was detained over a year and a half ago), Mohammed Jawad Al-Aradi, Amar Hayat, Nasir Al-Dafani, Jaffer Al-Badrani, Hassan Yousif Al-Khal.
On 3 July, clashes in Manama surfaced when riot police besieged the districts of Ras-Romman, Nuaim and Makharga districts of the capital, Manama. In Nuaim, the security forces fired tear gas at mid-night (12.00 am, and early hours of Friday, 4 July). Many residents were arrested and several had been injured. The tense situation continued with further attacks reported around Nuaim and towards Makharga. The local Nuaim police station that contains a detention centre was reported to be full house with many citizens picked-up from the street arbitrarily.
Similarly in Sitra, the security forces attacked the citizens with rubber and sharp-particles bullets and several people were injured. In Sehla, scores of youths were arrested. In Sanabis, the citizens marched in a mass procession raising the posters of the jailed leaders and calling for the restoration of parliament as well as bringing those responsible for the killing of people to justice. One person, Mamdoh Awal, 22, is known to be amongst those arrested. In Samahij, the following were arbitrarily arrested on 2 July: Jaffer Abdul Redh Mohammed, 17, his two brothers Hassan, 16, Hussain, 15, Shamsan Abdulla Hassan, 15, Mohammed Ahmad Yousif, 16.
Bahrain: Demonstrators march through the capital
Hundreds of people gathered in Hoora Cemetery of Manama to commemorate the 3rd day of martyrdom of Sheikh Ali Al-Nachas, who was killed by the interior ministry while in detention. At the end of the commemoration ceremony, hundreds marched through the capital Manama going through the old city centre, stretching from the American Missionary Hospital, into Sheikh Abdulla Road and ending in Nuaim district. Shops closed down as the demonstrators forced their way while the security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets. This demonstration proved that the will of the people is mightier that the mercenary forces imported from all over the world for the purpose of repressing the nation. Several other places witnessed clashes simultaneously, including Bani Jamra, Daih, Sanabis, Qerrayah, and Duraz.
In a letter to the BFM sent by a person who had been with Sheikh Ali Al-Nachas in prison explained “in January 1996, Sheikh Ali Al-Nachas was brought hand-cuffed and blind-folded, despite the fact that he was blind. He was thrown in a tent that had been constructed in the middle of the Fort, Qal’a. For 17 days, Sheikh Ali remained handcuffed despite his conditions. He was then taken to the medical centre in Qal’a for treatment. The head of the doctors, a Dr. Mohammed Ali, sneered at his blindness and said: (You are old and you are a liar, get out from here, there is nothing wrong with you). When the handcuffs were removed, Sheikh Ali started teaching us Quran and never stopped speaking to the guards, advising them to go back to their countries and to stop ill-treating the prisoners. In turn, they handled him roughly beaten, slapped on the face and pushed on the floor and stepped on”.
The Kuwaiti interior minister is in Bahrain following the failure of the Al-Khalifa to extend its form of repression to the Bahraini community in Kuwait. There are still four Bahraini citizens held in Kuwait. There is a mounting pressure from Kuwaiti circles for the release of these wronged people.
It was announced that the UN overall coordinator in Bahrain, Faisal Abdul Qadir, will be the main guest of party to be organized by the information ministry on 6 July. The Bahraini government has promised Abdul Qadir a Bahraini passport in return for his special services. Last week he conducted a witch-hunt against Bahraini citizens who handed a letter of complaint addressed to the UN Secretary General. The opposition has complained to the UN Human Rights Centre that the letter might not reach the UN Secretary General. He will also be responsible for any harm caused to the submitters.
1 July 1997
Urgent Action – AI Index: 11/08/97
Deaths in custody / Fear for safety
Abd al-Zahra Ibrahim Abdullah, aged 27
Sheikh Ali Mirza al-Nakkas, aged 50
Mass arrests and the deaths in custody of two prisoners in the past months have propted fears for the safety of political detainees in Bahrain.
On 1 June 1997 Abd al-Zahra Ibrahim Abdullah was among a group of demonstrators arrested in al-Sanabes and held incommunicado in al-Qal’a Prison. On 6 June his relatives were officially informed that he had died. A spokesman for the Bahraini Ministry of Interior reportedly announced on 8 June that Abd al-Zahra Ibrahim Abdullah had been released on 3 June and later died as a result of a “blood disorder”. However, information received by Amnesty International suggested that Abd al-Zahra Ibrahim was admitted to al-Salmaniya Hospital in al-Manama on 3 June after his health deteriorated. His body allegedly bore physical marks of torture.
On 29 June Shaikh ali Mirza al-Nakkas, a blind Shia cleric, died in custody in al-Qal’a Prison in al-Manama where he had been held incomunicado since his arrest on 23 April, on charges of incitement against the government. His body was reportedly buried by the security forces on the same day. A spokesman for the Bahraini Ministry of Interior said on 30 June that Shaikh Ali Mirza al-Nakkas had died in prison from natural causes, suffering from respiratory problems. However, according to information received by Amnesty International his death may have been caused by lack of proper medical care.
Shaikh Ali Mirza al-Nakkas had previously been arrested on 22 January 1996 and sentenced to one years’ imprisonment on charges of delivering political sermons in mosques. He was released in February 1997.
No thorough and independent investigations have been carried out into the circumstances surrounding the causes of these deaths or other deaths in custody since anti-government protests erupted in Bahrain in December 1994. The victims include Sa’id Abd al-Rasul al-Iskafi, a 16-year-old student from al-Sanabes, who was summoned for interrogation on 29 june 1995. On 8 July his family was told to collect his body from the Military Hospital. On 13 August 1996, al-Sayyid Ali al-Sayyid Amin al-Alawi, aged 19, was arrested in the village of Karbabad. His body was handed over to his family four days later, reportedly bearing marks of torture.
Amnesty International fears for the safety of other political detainees and prisoners of conscience currently held incommunicado. There are currently hundreds of detainees held in various prisons in Bahrain.
On 13 June Amnesty International wrote to the Bahraini authorities requesting that a full and thorough investigation into the death of Abd al-Zahra Ibrahim Abdullah be carried out and anyone found responsible be brought to justice. No response has been received from the government to date.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams /telexes /faxes /express /airmail letters in English, Arabic or your own language:
– expressing deep concern at the deaths in custody of Abd al-Zahra Ibrahim Abdullah and Shaikh Ali Mirza al-Nakkas, reportedly as a result of torture and medical neglect.
- calling for full and thorough investigations into the circumstances surounding the deaths of Abd al-Zahra Ibrahim Abdulla and Sheikh Ali Mirza Al-Nakkas, for the results to be made public, and for anyone found responsible of their own daeths to be brought to justice
- calling for all detainees to be protected from any form of torture or ill-treatment
- calling for detainees to be granted immediate and continuing access to lawyers, family members and medical care.
Minister of Interior, Fax: + 973 276765 or 290526
Prime Minister, Fax: + 973 533033
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Reuter) – 1 July 1997: Bahrain expelled a German agency reporter for an article which allegedly contained “fallacies and offenses” to the country, Bahrain’s official Gulf News Agency said Tuesday.
“An official source at the ministry of cabinet affairs and information said the correspondent of the German news agency DPA (Deutsche Presse Agentur) had been asked to leave the country for publishing a report containing fallacies and offenses to the state of Bahrain,” the agency said.
DPA said in a story faxed to Reuters in Dubai that its correspondent Ute Meinel had been expelled early Tuesday for a report she wrote quoting an exiled opposition group.
“The expulsion was criticised by DPA’s top editors in Hamburg who called it completely incomprehensible and a violation of the principles of press freedom,” DPA said.
“The German Foreign Office in Bonn summoned Bahrain’s ambassador so it could express Germany’s disagreement with what it called Bahrain’s ‘harsh reaction’,” DPA said.
The story said Meinel had worked in the Gulf Arab state for three years.
The German News Agency DPA reported the news in German language as follows:
Manama/Hamburg (dpa) – Die Korrespondentin der Deutschen Presse- Agentur (dpa) in Manama, Ute Meinel, ist von der Regierung Bahrains des Landes verwiesen worden. Sie mußte das Scheichtum in der Nacht zum Dienstag per Flugzeug verlassen.
Die Regierung hatte der Journalistin vorgeworfen, die Königsfamilie verunglimpft zu haben. Die Chefredaktion der dpa in Hamburg hat gegen die Ausweisung protestiert und sie als “völlig unverständlich” bezeichnet. Eine solche Maßnahme widerspreche den Prinzipien der Pressefreiheit.
Die Korrespondentin hatte in einer Meldung die in London ansässige Bahrainische Freiheits-Bewegung (Bahraini Freedom Movement) mit der Behauptung zitiert, das Königshaus habe mit der Bombardierung schiitischer Dörfer gedroht.
Nach Auffassung der dpa-Chefredaktion geht aus dem Bericht eindeutig hervor, daß der Vorwurf von der in Bahrain verbotenen Oppositionsgruppe und nicht von der Journalistin selbst erhoben wurde.
Die Korrespondentin, die knapp drei Jahre in Manama gearbeitet hat, war nach Erscheinen des umstrittenen Artikels in der vergangenen Woche mehrere Stunden im Innenministerium verhört und danach wieder auf freien Fuß gesetzt worden.
Die Behörden hatten zunächst ihren Paß eingezogen und ihr mit einem Prozeß gedroht. Daraufhin hatte der deutsche Botschafter in Bahrain, Norbert Heinze, interveniert.
Das Auswärtige Amt in Bonn hatte darüber hinaus den bahrainischen Botschafter einbestellt und “Unverständnis für die harsche Reaktion” Manamas ausgedrückt. dpa mo gp
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