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Courier Mail SAT 31 AUG 2002, Page 032 Truth on the rack By: Chris Griffith Former Bahraini intelligence deputy chief Adel Felaifel, now living in Australia, is fighting claims he is a torturer, reports Chris Griffith WHEN Adel Felaifel fled Bahrain bound for Brisbane, it was not only local authorities who felt jilted. According to a report by Bahraini bank TAIB, his disappearance with 24 million Bahraini dinar ($115 million) in loans drove the Bahraini stock exchange down 1823.92 points, or 0.6 per cent, in a week. What was Bahrain’s loss, however, became Queensland’s gain, with Felaifel, the former deputy head of Bahraini intelligence, paying up to $100 million for four inner-city Brisbane buildings and coastal Queensland development sites. The former Colonel Felaifel, 42, is wanted at home for unlawfully obtaining a document by force, unlawfully obtaining property by fraudulent means and issuing cheques without sufficient funds. From his office at 100 Eagle St, Brisbane, the former FAI Insurance building, he denies he personally tortured political detainees. He also denies he oversaw the kidnapping, incarceration and punishment of teenagers and children, many of whom were arrested to force their parents to hand themselves over. Felaifel paints an honourable picture of himself as head of the Shi’a section of Bahrain’s Security Intelligence Service. His 21 years with the SIS was his life-time work. “My role as the head of the SIS Shi’a section meant I was the person directly responsible for the identification, questioning and detention of many members of the Islamic Shi’a movement,” he said in a recent court affidavit. “I was also, by 2000, the most senior person in Bahrain, excluding members of the royal family, who has such a responsibility.” But Felaifel fell from grace when Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the new amir, freed the political detainees, invited exiles back to Bahrain and abolishing Felaifel’s SIS, which by then was devoid of customers. Felaifel says that as deputy intelligence chief he was the frontline trooper in a world-important struggle to ensure his tiny nation did not fall into the hands of Shi’a Muslims intent, he said, on a fundamentalist Islamic government ruled from Iran. The Shi’as comprise 70 per cent of Bahrain’s population of 645,000. He says de facto rule in Bahrain from Iran would bring with it the closure of strategically crucial Persian Gulf US military bases. He extols with passion his mission, which was to shield Bahrainis from “terrorism” and murder committed by Shi’ites. “But there is no torture, nobody gets killed under torture and I will challenge this,” he says. “I have a medal from America (the CIA). They gave it to me last year. They appreciate my services for being anti-terrorism because those Shi’ite people are anti-American.” He defends with equal vigour his immediate superior, Scottish-born former Bahraini security chief Major-General Ian Henderson. Henderson was the subject of a two-year Scotland Yard investigation also involving torture allegations. Far from torturing Shi’ites, Henderson, he says, installed airconditioning in their cells, ensured they had medical checks every two days, and that they ate “the best food”. Felaifel says the allegations faced by Henderson did not stick, and the retired major-general comes and goes from the UK as he wishes. UK legal sources, however, say the fight to bring the now elderly Henderson to justice is not over, and the same applies to Felaifel. The biggest challenge to Felaifel’s human rights records emanates from Eric Avebury, a 73-year-old member of the House of Lords who in 1997 sought to have Felaifel banned from entering the UK. Avebury paints a radically different picture of Bahraini affairs. He says that after gaining independence from Britain in 1971, Bahrain developed as a constitutional monarchy until 1973, when it adopted a national assembly of 30 members and 15 nominated government ministers. But this experiment in democracy lasted just 18 months. The amir dissolved parliament in 1975 after it failed to pass a security bill giving authorities power to detain anyone for up to three years. Bahrain had been ruled by decree from then on. Avebury paints Henderson and Felaifel as the arch-enforcers of this repressive regime, and says there is ample evidence to bring Felaifel to trial in Australia for crimes of torture in Bahrain. “I think, on the Nuremberg principle, he could be held accountable for all of it because he was effectively the chief of the day-to-day operations and these things couldn’t have happened without his knowledge and approval,” he says. “We (also) can say with absolute confidence that there are people living in the United Kingdom who claim to have been tortured personally by Felaifel, and I have met some of them. Some made statements for the purposes of gaining asylum in the UK which included incidence of torture by Felaifel.” The Australian Government, while not admitting an interest in Felaifel, has confirmed the Crimes (Torture) Act 1988 does give it jurisdiction to try non-Australians here for acts of torture committed overseas. Felaifel’s problems are compounded by these alleged torture claims being widely documented in international human rights reports. They are: a 1997 report by Human Rights Watch; a 1998 Voice of Bahrain report detailing the treatment of female detainees; a 1999 World Organisation Against Torture bulletin; a Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Bahrain report in 2000; and a United Nations Economic and Social Council bulletin in 1998. The Courier-Mail has spoken to two London-based Bahrainis who claim to have been tortured by Felaifel, and has received correspondence from a third and written accounts from others. The human rights reports also paint a chilling picture of torture in Bahrain generally. Allegedly common methods included beating and boxing victims on the head, sex organs and belly, beatings with electrified whips, suspension upside-down and immersion in dirty water or urine up to the point of suffocation, electric shocks to sensitive parts of the body, forcing shackled victims to stand for days without sleep or toilet use, forced nakedness and threat of rape to males and females, solitary confinement for months, and beatings while suspended upside-down. Young women, many of them protesting high school students, reportedly were incarcerated, stripped, threatened with rape and detained for up to one month before being released on a payment of $US850. Children aged 13 to 15 arrested in house raids reportedly were interrogated with torture including beatings on the soles of the feet which crippled them for days. A report to the UN Economic and Social Council in January 1998 recounted innumerable deaths in custody at Al Qala prison, a complex that also housed the Ministry of Interior and the SIS. “Some detainees died in custody because of torture, appalling prison conditions or denial of medical treatment; some are released just before they die, a tactic used to avoid scandal,” the report said. In one case, Said Abd al-Rasul al-Iskafi, 16, died in custody in 1995 after being arrested on suspicion of having sprayed anti-government graffiti. Felaifel is the subject of many anecdotes of torture, including of women. One published by the Bahrain Freedom Movement in 1998 alleged he personally supervised the torture of Bahraini woman Salwa Hasan Haider, 30, who was tied up and suspended by her hands and legs then flogged and beaten. ANOTHER told to The Courier-Mail last week involved Afaf Al Jamri, 31, whom Felaifel allegedly brought to his quarters and threatened with rape in front of her already incarcerated father, Sheikh Abdul Ameer Al Jamri, a high court judge and member of the defunct parliamentary congress. Al Jamri had been jailed without trial since 1996. Felaifel says all the reports were concocted by the Bahraini opposition, particularly its members in London who over 20 years had infiltrated all the major human rights groups and had sought out sympathisers like Avebury. “But this Lord Avebury does not represent the British Government, he is representing himse
lf,” Felaifel says. “The British Government is 100 per cent behind the Bahraini Government, and so are the Americans and they are anti-terrorist. The Shi’as are terrorists.” While the debate on Felaifel’s human rights record rages, he faces a more urgent problem of civil court action in Brisbane. Omar Ali Babtain, president and chief executive officer of the United Medical Group, which equips and manages hospitals, and Khalid Bin Nasser Bin Abdulla Al Misnad, president of the Misnad Group and brother-in-law of the amir of Qatar, have lodged a statement of claim in the Supreme Court in Queensland saying the funds Felaifel used to buy his Queensland properties were theirs. The civil court action has led to Felaifel facing Mareva court injunctions which freeze his assets worldwide and prevent him leaving Australia until he details these assets to the court. ALLEGED VICTIMS TELL THEIR TALES JAFFAR AL HESABI I WAS ordered to go to the Security and Intelligence Services at Al Qala prison at Manama. Adel Felaifel came in. He told me that if I did not tell the truth he would put me in a big water tank with weights on my feet and no one would know I was there. Felaifel came and went while the others beat me. Felaifel also personally took part in beating me. About 9pm, Felaifel told the others to take me away. I was very afraid because I did not know where they would take me. I had heard lots of cries and screams and knew that others had been tortured and even killed here. I knew that one 16-year-old, Saied Il Iskaafi, had died under torture. They took me downstairs to the big hall where there were more than 20 other detainees, all standing facing the wall. I was ordered to do the same. About 8pm the next day, two officers came and took me up to the second floor, to Felaifel’s office. They handcuffed me with my hands in front of my body, and then made me crouch down and put a long, heavy stick behind my knees. Then they lifted the stick and placed it between a table and a chair, leaving my body suspended in a very painful position, with my feet uppermost and my body hanging down. This is known as the falqa position. When I was in this position they beat me on my feet with a black plastic hose. I stayed in this position for about 20 minutes, shouting and screaming from the pain. SAEED HASSAN I WAS brought to Adel Felaifel in his office and forced to stand in front of him. Four guards circled me. He said `write what we dictate to you. If you refuse, you will be tortured’. I refused. Felaifel gave his four torturers a signal to beat me. In a minute, I was beaten from almost everywhere — my head, back, legs and belly. Later, his torturers put my hands behind my back and tied them up with handcuffs. My eyes also were closed with a black strip. I was taken later to a room facing a wall. I was left there for six days. I was not allowed to go to the toilet and not allowed to sit. I was standing 24 hours. If my body touched the wall, the torturers beat me heavily. I also was not allowed to pray. They opened my eyes only for meals. After six days without sleeping, I was stinking and completely exhausted. They came early morning and took me to Felaifel’s room. After I refused to confess, Felaifel spoke to his torturers and, within minutes, a piece of wood was put below my legs and I was hung like a chicken being fried. My socks were taken off and put inside my mouth. The torturers started beating me for about 15 minutes. Later, I was taken down and circled by four torturers who took down my trousers and forced me to sit on a bottle. I was left in the room bleeding from my hip. HUSSAIN RAMADHAN MOHAMED SHABAN IT WAS for only two days, but it seemed to be going on for a year. On May 4, 1997, I got a call about 8pm on my mobile from my mother telling me to come home. I got home and my mother was crying. She said `Al-Mokabarat came to arrest you and you were not here so they took your father instead’. They returned about 1.30am. They took me out of the house, blindfolded and handcuffed me. I entered another world. They took me to the Mokabarat Building. I said `Where is my father?’ so someone slapped me across the back of my head. Later, they took the blindfold off and I was facing Adel Felaifel. Black plastic pipes were their main tool. They used them to beat me — all over my body and especially the head. Adel Felaifel left the room and told me that he would return if I said where I was hiding the bombs. As he left the room, they forced me to take off my clothes, and they left me only in my underwear. They said they would rape me one by one. To avoid this, I had to talk. They kept me naked and started to touch me. I said I would confess. After I put my clothes back on, Adel came back. I said `I have done nothing, but if you want me to say things, I will’. Later, all of the guys started to beat me. I woke up in a dark room. I was not able to move my body. I was having difficulty breathing.

They took me in a car to the hospital at Al Qala. The nurse cleaned up my body. The blood was everywhere but I was not able to open my eyes.”

Fugitive in fight for visa Chris Griffith, legal affairs reporter 31aug02 AUSTRALIAN immigration officials will decide whether Bahrain’s former deputy head of intelligence can remain in the country. Advertisement Adel Jasim Felaifel spent up to $100 million buying buildings in the Brisbane CBD and coastal development projects before fleeing from Bahrain in May. He now lives in Brisbane and works from an office where he is planning developments through one of his companies, Falcon Projects. Mr Felaifel faces a Queensland civil case over the origin of his investments funds and, separately, claims of torture from his time in charge of detaining and interrogating Shi’ite muslims for the Bahraini Security and Intelligence Services (SIS). Mr Felaifel denies the torture claims and any financial impropriety. The Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday was told Mr Felaifel’s multiple-entry visa had expired and there was concern about him having conducted profit-making activities on his past tourist visa. His counsel, Ken Bick, QC, successfully sought a court order allowing Mr Felaifel to sell one of his frozen assets: 371 Queen Street, for which he paid $2.8 million cash. The hearing was preliminary to a civil trial launched by Omar Ali Babtain, president of the United Medical Group, and Khalid Bin Nasser Bin Abdulla Al Misnad, brother-in-law of the amir of Qatar, who claim the money Mr Felaifel spent on Queensland properties was theirs. Mr Bick said Mr Felaifel had found another buyer for 371 Queen Street who had conducted due diligence checks before agreeing to the sale. The asking price was at the lower end of acceptable market value. He said the property needed renovation. Mr Bick rejected a claim by counsel for Babtain and Al Misnad, Tony Morris, QC, who said Mr Felaifel’s tourist visa precluded him from profit-making activity while in Australia. Mr Felaifel last night said he had applied for a business skills visa. In the meantime, he had been granted an interim “bridging A visa” while the application was being considered. He said he had not conducted “profit-making” activities in Australia, rather he had worked as a director of companies to increase the value of shares. He had not drawn a salary from these companies. In London yesterday, Lord Eric Avebury, a British House of Lords MP, said he had spoken with the Australian High Commission police liaison officer to put his case that Mr Felaifel should be tried for torture here. Mr Felaifel’s assets have been frozen internationally and he is not allowed to leave Australia. A spokesman for Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock said the Government would not comment on Mr Felaifel’s visa application while it was being considered.

Mr Felaifel faces separate civil proceedings in Bahrain brought by Mr Al Misnad, and Mr Felaifel has issued court proceedings in Bahrain against Mr Babtain for allegedly issuing bad cheques.

ADEL Jasim Felaifel … named in several international reports as having tortured detainees, but denies any act of torture. Investor tortured people, says lord Chris Griffith legal affairs reporter 27aug02 A MEMBER of the House of Lords in Britain will urge Australian authorities to charge with torture a Bahrainian investor living in Queensland. Bahrain’s former deputy head of intelligence, Adel Jasim Felaifel, has vehemently denied to The Courier-Mail that he committed any act of torture while he worked for Bahrain’s Security Intelligence Service (SIS) from 1979-2000. However Lord Eric Avebury, the vice-chairman of Britain’s Parliamentary Human Rights Group and previously its chairman for 21 years, said he would urge Australia to try the former colonel under law reflecting its international treaty obligations. A spokeswoman for Federal Attorney-General Daryl Williams yesterday confirmed Australian authorities had the jurisdiction to pursue non-Australians for torture under the Crimes (Torture) Act 1988, implemented to give effect to some of the treaty obligations. The Courier-Mail has reported that Mr Felaifel spent more than $50 million buying four Brisbane city buildings and coastal Queensland development sites before he fled Bahrain, where he is wanted for fraud, embezzlement, and issuing bad cheques. Lord Avebury said he began amassing information about Mr Felaifel in the mid-1990s while gathering evidence about his immediate superior, Scots-born Major-General Ian Henderson, who headed Bahrain’s state security for 30 years. It is estimated Bahraini security forces had 1500 political prisoners in 1997. Mr Felaifel last night said that Lord Avebury was the captive of Bahraini opposition groups in London and unrepresentative of the British Government. “What about the other lords? What do they say about it? Give me another lord, give me another Member of Parliament. Give me any member of the British Government who says Adel Felaifel or Ian Henderson are torturers,” Mr Felaifel said. “Only one man? What does it mean? It means he is being used.” Mr Felaifel challenged Lord Avebury to fly to Australia and confront him. “Let him come here and question me on anything he wants. I am ready to face him,” he said. Lord Avebury said that as the country’s deputy head of intelligence, Mr Felaifel should be accountable for the incidence of torture, on the Nuremburg principle alone. “We (also) can say with absolute confidence that there are people living in the United Kingdom who claim to have been tortured personally by Felaifel, and I have met some of them.” The Courier-Mail has spoken to two London-based Bahrainis who claim to have been tortured by Mr Felaifel, and has received correspondence from a third and written accounts by two others. Mr Felaifel is named in several international reports as having tortured detainees. They are: a 1997 report by Human Rights Watch; a 1998 Voice of Bahrain report detailing the treatment of female detainees; a 1999 World Organisation Against Torture bulletin; a Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Bahrain report in 2000; and a United Nations Economic and Social Council bulletin in 1998. Lord Avebury said it was unlikely Mr Felaifel would have to face these claims if he was extradited to Bahrain because he could “spill the beans” on high profile figures. The Supreme Court in Brisbane has issued Mareva injunctions against Mr Felaifel to freeze his assets internationally and prevent him leaving the country until he details those assets to the court. Mr Felaifel said the Australian Islamic community had amassed hundreds of signatures of support for him in a petition.

He said the SIS sought to protect Bahrain from fundamentalist Shi’ite “terrorists” who had murdered the people, burnt refineries and military installations, and who wanted to install an anti-American regime similar to Iran’s.

Courier Mail WED 14 AUG 2002 Fugitive tycoon: I will fight By: Chris Griffith EXCLUSIVE CASHED up and wanted in his home country, Adel Jassim Felaifel faces the exile scenario experienced by high-flyer Christopher Skase a decade ago. The intelligence chief who bought $A50 million of property in Brisbane’s central business district spoke openly for the first time yesterday after fleeing his native country in March. The Bahrain media is intrigued that Mr Felaifel — wanted by Bahraini authorities for fraud, embezzlement, and issuing bad cheques — has made Brisbane his home. In his first Australian interview, Mr Felaifel, 40, denied claims that he used torture when he was Bahrain deputy head of intelligence. He said he lives “normally” and not opulently in Brisbane, and loves Australians. He said he is in Queensland for the long term and will beat civil court action focusing on accusations involving his Bahraini properties. “I’m going to fight this allegation until the last fibre of my body, and I’m sure and I know that with the help of God I will win this case.” Mr Felaifel said he was not in Australia “to run away from Bahrain”. “I’m here to protect my interests here and my business, and to develop and to look after my business,” he said. “Secondly, I am here to invest in Australia and other investors are coming. I’m here to help the country, to invest in the country, to employ all the contractors, employ all the people who work here. I’m paying my taxes on time. “My country is an island. We love the water and I found Brisbane is similar to my country. People like to be near the water, have their boat and have their apartment.” In property terms, Queensland was “a virgin state” with many investment opportunities, he said. And he turned the tables on Bahraini authorities by accusing them of “psychologically torturing” him by conducting a political witchhunt against him. “I myself have been tortured psychologically. I left my family. I left my friends. I sacrificed everything. I am the one who has been tortured,” he said. Mr Felaifel said he would be “on the next plane home” if Bahraini authorities guaranteed they would conduct a public, internationally monitored inquiry and members of the royal family with whom he had worked were also subjected to the same inquiry. He said the fraud claims against him were false. The absence of an extradition treaty means Bahrain cannot require Mr Felaifel to leave Australia, just as Australia could not tell Spain to deport Skase. A Supreme Court action in Queensland is to decide whether tens of millions of dollars invested in the state by Mr Felaifel were his to spend. In the Supreme Court he faces two powerful international businessmen: Omar Ali Babtain, the president of the United Medical Group which builds and runs hospitals worldwide, and Khalid Bin Nasser Bin Abdulla Al Misnad, the head of an international construction company whose sister is married to the Emir of Qatar. The pair claim Mr Felaifel defrauded them in six Middle-Eastern property deals. Mr Felaifel, who speaks English fluently, said he studied security law in Saudi Arabia and the UK before joining the Bahraini police in 1976. “They (the authorities) don’t appoint anybody to be a police officer unless they come from a good family,” he said. Mr Felaifel and Brisbane girlfriend, former Gulf Air stewardesses Anne Cherie Windsor, lived at the Stamford Plaza hotel before moving into a $383,000 unit at River Place Apartments in Brisbane, which they bought off the plan. He said he fled to Australia with his projects manager, Mohammed Taqawi. Mr Felaifel has a former wife and three children in Bahrain, but it is understood claims he has a wife in Sweden or any romantic attachment save for Ms Windsor are untrue. Under the terms of a court order, he is restricted to spending $3000 a week on personal expenses and Ms Windsor to $2000. In a court declaration, Mr Felaifel said his ordinary weekly living expenses included $1000 on his mobile phone, $500 on a land phone line, $3000 to travel to attend lawyers, and $1500 on accommodation. He rejects the idea he lives a multi-millionaire’s lifestyle.

“My house is very small, I’m not living a luxury life.” But he does own a sleek 13m Azimut motor yacht valued at about $500,000.

ADEL Jassim Felaifel … identified as the mystery Middle-Eastern buyer of $A50 million worth of prime Brisbane CBD buildings, but is sought by Interpol on fraud and embezzlement charges. Mystery CBD buyer named as Interpol fugitive Chris Griffith legal affairs reporter 10aug02 A MYSTERY Middle-Eastern buyer of $A50 million worth of prime Brisbane CBD buildings has been identified as the fugitive deputy head of Bahrain Intelligence who is sought by Interpol on fraud and embezzlement charges. Former colonel Adel Jassim Felaifel fled to Australia from Bahrain where he is wanted for unlawfully obtaining a document by force, unlawfully obtaining property by fraudulent means, and issuing cheques without sufficient funds. In his intelligence role, Mr Felaifel was responsible for the interrogation of political detainees. Australian property searches show firms associated with Mr Felaifel own the Queensland Government’s old Family Services building in George St, the former FAI Insurance Building in Eagle St, and Australian Alliance House and STC House in Queen St. The portfolio is worth $50 million. Now two powerful international figures have challenged Mr Felaifel’s ownership of these Brisbane icons. Omar Ali Babtain, the president and chief executive officer of the United Medical Group, which equips and manages hospitals throughout the world, and Khalid Bin Nasser Bin Abdulla Al Misnad, president of the Misnad Group, an international trading and construction company, have lodged the challenge in the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Court documents say Interpol sought Mr Felaifel’s arrest following a request from the Bahrain Government on May 20. Mr Babtain’s affidavit said Mr Felaifel has a former wife and three children in Bahrain, a wife and children in Sweden, a relationship with a former Gulf Air Stewardess – an Australian national – and another Gulf Air stewardess “wife”, Brisbane-born Anne Cherie Windsor, who owns five Queensland properties. He said Mr Felaifel sold him and Mr Misnad Middle-Eastern properties for $A59.5 million between June 2001 and April this year, but never transferred the contracts. The two believe their money funded his Australian property acquisitions. “I am informed by the managers of the Bank Saderat Iran Bahrain and Kuwait Bahrain Bank that none of the title transfers that Felaifel was to have effected under the contracts have been effected,” Mr Babtain said in his affidavit. In a court application dated July 4, 2002, Mr Babtain and Mr Misnad seek $A58 million from Mr Felaifel, trust ownership of the properties, and an order for a provisional liquidator to be appointed to his Australian companies. Mr Babtain said currency and jewellery had been found on Ms Windsor, who was interrogated in Bahrain and allowed to leave for Australia. In court documents filed in Brisbane, Mr Felaifel has detailed his role from 1979 to 2000 as head of the Security Intelligence Service “Shia section” in charge of identifying, questioning, and detaining hundreds of members of the Islamic Shia faith. At one stage he had a staff of three officers and 42 other personnel reporting to him. Mr Felaifel has denied “torture” claims against him in one of the court affidavits. In her court statement, Ms Windsor said she moved to Bahrain in July 1998 when she joined Gulf Air. She met Mr Felaifel in August 1998. She later resigned from Gulf Air and began managing Mr Felaifel’s Australian property portfolio. She said the pair were just “boyfriend and girlfriend”. She said she owned properties at Mountain Creek, Woody Point, the Mooloolaba Esplanade, and Hervey Bay (two properties) bought with her own money. Searches show Mr Felaifel and Ms Windsor’s Australian registered company Al Hejra Pty Ltd own 10 southeast Queensland properties at Minyama, Tallebudgera Valley (two), Redcliffe (three), Kippa Ring, Scarborough, Mooloolaba, and Brisbane city. Immigration sources said Mr Felaifel entered Australia on a multiple-entry visa which he obtained in Los Angeles. In a letter to The Courier-Mail this week, Al Hejra Pty Ltd said Mr Felaifel was a reputable businessman with substantial investments in Queensland and elsewhere. In his court affidavit, he denies emphatically the claims of fraud and says his wealth derived from his family property and business interests of his wife’s merged with his own. He strongly contests all wrongdoing and said he himself is owed $25 million in debts. He said he joined the Security Intelligence Service in 1979 as an investigating officer, eventually achieving the rank of colonel. He said his status changed in March 2000 when the King’s father died and his son introduced political reforms. Political opposition and the Shia movement demanded that all people involved in the detention of political prisoners, including himself, be prosecuted, he said.

He said he left Bahrain on May 2 because he was “being unjustifiably targeted in various ways for political motives”.

Abuse Of Constitutional Rights The 1973 Constitution is the keystone of the legislative and parliamentary system in Bahrain. It safeguards the people’s democracy and liberties. Over the last two years, a number of government paid advisors have been suggesting that the 1973 Constitution is “ badly in need of reform” and thus we should embark on a large scale process of “Constitutional reforms”. Since then, these comments have set alarm bells ringing in the minds of many Bahrainis who regard such attempts to “reform” the 1973 Constitution with great reservation, if not suspicion. Unfortunately these comments have been translated in secret by a committee appointed by the King named “The Constitution Amendment Committee”. This committee altered the Constitution to a degree were the legislative powers were vested in the government and not in the people. The new illegal Constitution embodies restrictions on the power of the National Assembly as a legislative body. A review of the king’s decrees divulges some important deviation from the Constitution. This is particularly true of his use (and abuse) of powers. Many directives were issued in the area of internal policy. A superfluous number of these directives were issued in the boosting of an inappropriate course or political purpose. Internal reforms were designed intentionally to achieve improper balance between the nation and the government. It would be unkind to the king to think that he would knowingly seek to go through the tortuous process of a constitutional revolution to replace the original constitution with a new one which piles immorality upon immorality by seeking to suffocate the will of the majority of the people of the entire country. The people of Bahrain believe that the 1973 Constitution is adequate to maintain law and order and protect constituents from abuses of power and authority, including particularly, abuses by the government. The people of Bahrain had in the last 3 decades experienced serious domestic disturbances and openly oppressive regime. It therefore remains for the King to take a firm action to change this image and win the peoples’ confidence that had been lost since 14 February 2002. (Date on which the 1973 Constitution was falsified). At present, the people of Bahrain are on full alert against the government attempts to undermine the constitutional rights that the people should have enjoyed before the falsification of the Constitution. The changes of the Constitution were made without exhaustive, community-wide debate. It was not subjected to any form of independent scrutiny. The opposition now appeals to all Bahrainis to join in upholding their 1973 Constitution to ensure it continues to serve well the coming generations. The people of Bahrain oppose further centralization of government power and demand the government to restore the authority of the Parliament to legislate and to maintain the autonomy of the Judiciary. Bahrain Freedom Movement 7th August 2002 Tel/Fax: +44 207 387 2492


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