FEB 94



PAGE4 VOICE OF BAHRAIN FEBRUARY 1994 The Al-Khalifa May Leam a Lesson International Condemnation of Altack on Mo’min Mosque Amnesty Intemational led the international condemnation of the Bahraini governament and issued the following urgent action referenced “AI Index: MDE 1 lJ02/940” and titled “Fear of Torture/ Legal Concem”, as follows: ((Bahrain: Mohammed Hassan, ‘Abd ‘Ali Sengais, ‘ Ali Said Ja’ far ‘Alawi Shabib, ‘ Abbas Hamid Moharnmed ‘Ali, ‘Isa ‘Abd ‘ Ali ‘Abd al-Hadi Muhsin, Faisal Shakhouri, Hassan Ahmed al- ‘Ikri, Ridha Jawad, Hussein Mansour, ‘Abbas Ahmed Jassim, Ra’ed al-Khawaja, Mohammed Mansour al-Mahari, Moharntned al-Sayrafi, Mansour al-‘Ikri. Amnesty Intemational has received reports of arrests at al-Mu’min Mosque in Manama on 19 January l994. Those named above are be lieved to be among those detained, but the total number of those is not known. They are being held in incommunicado detention, and there are fears that they may be subjected to torture.Their whereabouts are unknown. The arrests allegedly took place on the evening of 19 January as members of the major ity Shi’ acornmunity were gathered at al-Mu’min mosque for he 40th day commemoration cere mony of the death of Ayatollah Golpayegani. The gathering was reportedly a peaceful one. According lo reports the mosque was surround ed by police and those inside given five minutes to leave. The police then entered the mosque using leargas and rubbcr bullets to disperse [he crowd. An unknown number of arrests took place at the mosque while others were arrested later at their homes. Some were allegedly beat en at the time of their arrest.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams /telexes /faxes and airmail letters either in English, Arabic or in your own lan guage: – requesting the authorities to initiate a thorough and independent inquiry into the reports of arrests and beatings by police during what appears to have been a peaceful ceremony i on 19 January atal-Mu’minMos4ue in Manama, | and to make the findings public; | – urging that the whereabouts of all those | detained be made known to their families immediately;[ – seeking assurances that all detainees are now being humanly treated in accordance with international human rights standards, and that

they arc being granted access to lawyers and relatives;- expressing concern at reports that some of those arrested havc been beatcn and sock assur ances that they have received medical attention, where necessary; – urging the immediate and unconditional release of any who arc held solely for the non violent expression of their conscientiously held bel iefs .APPEALS TO: His Highness Al-Shaikh ‘Issa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Officc of His Highness the Amir, The Amiri Court, Rifa’a Palace, Rifa’a, Bahrain. Telexes: 8666 ()asar, BN 8:S00 Qasar BN, Telegrarns: His Highness the Arnir, Manama, Bahrain. Faxes: +973 778884, Salutation: Your Highness

His Excellency Al-Shaikh Mohamed Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Interior, PO Box 13, Manama, Bahrain, Telexes: 9572 PSMKT BlK or X333 ALAMAN BN, Telegrams: Minister of Interior, Manama, Bahrain. Faxes: +973 276337 or 290526 or 754303. Salutation: Your Excellency COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: His Excellency Al-Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa Prime Minister of Bahrain, PO Box 11)00, Manama, Bahrain. Fax: +973 533033 and to diplomatic representatives of Bahrain accredited to your country. PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the Intemational Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 7 March 1994)). The news of attack on Mo’min Mosque was reported by BBC Arabic Service, ltadio Monte Carlo, Radio Qatar, Al-Quds newspaper and Router among others. Router interviewed several people in Bahrain who witnessed part of the attack. Article 19, Arab Organisation for Huinan Rights, Islamic Organisation for Human Rights, Al Khoei Foundation, I)ar Al-Islarn, Religious scholars in Qum, Faith Interanational, Bahrain Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and many other organizations joined in condemning the savage attack and burning of Mo’min Mosque. Article l9 statement said: “Article 19, the International Centre AgainstCensorship, is deeply concerned about the arrest on the evening of 19 January 1994 of 14 Bahraini citizens of the Shi’a conununity. The arrests took place at al-Mu’min Mosque in Manama as members of the majority Shi’a community gathered peacefully in a ceremony to commemorate the 40th day of death of Ayatollah Golpayagani. According to our inforrnation, the police entered the mosque using teargas and rubber bullet to disperse the gathering on the grounds that the meeting was not authorized. The police then started beating people and arrested many of them”. “ARTICLE 19 believes that the authorities ‘ violent dispersion of the religious gathering and the arrest of the 14 Bahraini citizens are grave violations of freedom of expression and religious beliefs guaranteed and protected by Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore, we strongly urge your government to release immediately and unconditionally those arrested and to initiated a thorough and independent inquiry into the attack onthe Shi’areligious gathering by the police and to bring those responsible for this action to . . .. Justlce The Arab Organisation for Hurnan Rights (AOHR) issued a statement condemning the attack. The AOHR expressed “concern about the news from Bahrain that a peaceful gathering on 1 9th January 1994 at blomin Mosque in Manama has been attacked by security forces”. “Attacking religious places is contrary to Bahrain’s constitux tion Article 22 which binds the government to protecting places of worship”. Hundreds of people gathered in Khawajah Mosque (Manama – near Mo ‘min Mosque) on 26 January defying the illegal ban on religious programmed The audience listened to speeches by several distinguished scholars warrung the government of the consequence following the burning of Mo’rnin Mosque. The security forces were positioned at some distance from the gathering and were showing their readiness for a similar attack. It is only the international exposure that saved the peacefulness of the meeting. The Islarnic Organisaticwn for Human Rights stated that “the closure of Mo’min Mosque and the arrest of several people who were praying there is a stark violation of freedom of worship, which is one of the natural rights recognised by Islam and International conventions. We call for an end to these violations and urgent release of those detained, opening the mosque, withdrawal of security forces from the area surrounding the mosque, guranteeing the freedom of religious activities and rebuilding the darnaged mosque”. The London-Based Dar Al-Islam condemned the government of Bahrain saying that: “these repeted attacks on religious activities are insulting to all Muslims and are boud to generate bad feeling amongst Muslirns”. Leaflets were distributed inside Bahrain challenging the government to abide by the constitution and warning that the continuation of these attrocities will damage Bahrain’s financial services positionO A letter was also publicly distributed signed by “Son of Bahrain” and addressed to the llirectore General of Public Security, Ian Hendersonl challengeing him to declare publicly the legal background behind authorising the use of rubber bullets and tear-gas in mosques. Al-Qusaibi’s Novel Banned Dr. Ghazi Al-Qusaibi, the Saudi Arnbassador in London published his novel titled “Sheqqat Al-Hurreyya”, is Flat of Freedom, giving detailed insights on the trends attracting the youth studying in Cairo in the fifties and sixties. Bahrain was mentioned on several occasions. On one of them, the former ruler (father of the present one) visited Cairo and met with two Bahrain students. The ruler asked each one of them what they were studying. One of the students answered he was studying commerce. The ruler was surprised and wondered: Why do you need to study commerce while your father is already a businessman?. Another place where Bahrain was mentioned is the case of the student who returned to Bahrain after completing his studies but was refused entry and was expelled to Beirut. Nothing has changed for the past thirty to forty years . Al-Qussaibi ‘s novel must, therefore, be banned. It is worthnoting that Al-Qusaibi is a very closeperson to bothruling familioes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He grew-up in Bahrain and wrote several peoms about it. He served many years in Bahrain as Saudi Ambassador. Nonetheless, Al-Qusaibi stated somc facts about the low level of intelligence of the former ruler and showed how little has changed since thcn.

PAGE2 VOICE OFBAHRAIN FEBRUARY 1994 While the West Fosters Al-Khalifa Seurity Forces Storm a Peaceful Gathering What started as a peaceful and traditional gathering in a mosque in the E}ahraini capital of Manama was turned into a major unhappy incident. On 19 January, the Bahraini security forces staged an unprovoked show-down with several hundred people who assembled at the ancient mosque of Mo’min at the heart of the capitals Manama. The meeting was a traditional commemoration of the death of a senior religious figure. The Molmin Mosque was encircled by security units led by a member of the ruling family, Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa and the director of Manarna police stations, Abdul -Sal am Al- Ansari. The Al-Khalifa officer gave the gathering in the mosque five minutes to evacuate. Then at 9.45 p.m. local time, the security forces deployed Lear-gas with another form of gas which caused many people to fall down. The prison cells were full of people arrested on the spot. More alarming is the fact that the Intcrior Minister enjoys unaccountable powers under the provisions of the State Security Act of 1974. The latter empowers the Interior Minister to order administrative detention of any political suspect for up to three years, renewable, w ithout trial. Catcgorising religious commemorations and other sirni lar functions as “political” exposcs thc thousands of people participating in these traditional activities to harassment similar to the notorious oppression campaigns witnessed in the Eightics. The ruling family circles have indicated their determination to encounter any call forrestoration of the suspended constitution and parliament with all harsh mcans available to them. Indecd this has been the essence of the unprovoked concentrated attack on Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri, member of thc dissolved parliamcnt and an ex judge at the religious high court, who alongsidc five other personalities sponsored a petition, signed by several hundred personalities and submitted to the Amir (ruler) in Islovember I992, calling on him to reinstate the dissolved parliament and reactivate thc constitution. Sheikh Ab{lul Amir Al-Jamri was again targeted by thc authoritics. Hc has become a regular guest at the secrct police headquarters. This time, he was summoned to Al-Khamis Police Headquartcrs on Wcdncsday lg January (before the meeting of Mo’min Mosque), and was threatcncd of grave consequences if he attcn(led. Although hc did not attend, Al-Jamri was again summoned to thc Al-Kharnis Police Hcadeluancrs on Saturday 22 and on Sunday 23 January. Scvcral hours of interrogations ware concentrated at onc point: either Al-Jamri lists the names of those responsible for organising LhC cornrncmoration at Mo’min Mosque, or he would be held responsible On Sunday, he was informed that those arrested are now bving interrogated by the Intelligence department and that he (Al-Jamri) will bc summoned by the Intelligence after finishing with interrogating the youth. The “finishing with” terms are key-words used by Bahrain’s security forces to signify extreme torturing and harassment. The harsh action takcn by the security forces against the peaceful gathering is hard to understand let alone to justify. Political observers of Bahrain, which enjoys close ties with West, are puzzled by the continuous oppressive policy of the Bahrain government, in the light of moves towards openness in other Gulf states. Three months ago Saudi Arabia reached a deal with its Shia minority which resulted in the freeing of all their political prisoners and the return of their leaders from exile. Bahrain’s security forces stormedthepeaceful meeting at Mo’min Mosque in the capital Manama. Gates were smashed, books were burnt, attendants were beaten, tear-gassed and many were arbitrarily arrested. The meeting was a traditional religious ones but the security forces provoked a confrontation in the hope of frightening those people organising or attending mass gatherings. The Al-Khalifa ruling family, monopolising the government, judiciary, commerce and public functions, fears mass gatherings of any sort since these may serve as platforms for speakers calling for the democratisation of the old-fashioned tribal political system. Thus, the ferocity of the attack on 19 January. Reports from the scene spoke of the mayhem that followed; people stampeded to escape the fire which destroyed carpets and books only to face the truncheons and shields of diee police. Prison cells were packed with those arrested on the spot. Twenty six names were confirmed to have spent several nights after the attack. Sixteen were kn-on to have been released aftcr intimidation and torturing at A1Adleyya prison cells. Ten confirmed names remain in detention for indefinite periods while being ill-treated. These are: (1) Mohammed Hassan Kadhem, 50 years old, from Manama; (2) Mohammed Mahdi AlZayer, 27 years old, from Abo-Sayba’a; (3) Majeed M il ad, 27 years , Ras-Romlman; (4) Hussain Al-Sairafi, 50 years, Manama; (5) Mohammed Al-Mahhari, 27 years, Moqusha’ a; (6) Abd-Ali Sengais, 28 years, Sanabis; (7) Saced Ahmed Abdul-Nabi, 28 years, Sanabis; (8) Ja’afer Al-Ekri, 27 years, Al-Daih; (9) Hassan Aluned Al-Ekri, 22 years, Al-Daih; (10) Ali Hussain Omran, 25 years, Manama. Those detained and released include: Hussain Ma’ayoof (Al-Daih); Aqueel Mattar (Ras-Romman); Redha Al-Shuwaikh (Manama); Tawfeeq Al-Mahroos (Manama); Ali Saced Ja’afer Shchab (Qadam); Abbas Ahmcd Jassim (Qadam), Isa Abd-Ali AbdulISadi (Qadam); Abbas Hameed Mohammed Ali (Qadam); Hussain Abdulla Ahmcd (Al-Dair); Shaker Ahmed Gholoom (Al-Dair); Mahmood Ahrnod Gholoom (Al-Dair); Yaser Abdulla Hassan (Al-Dair); Mohammed Ali Jawad (AlDair); Nazar Saced Eid (Al-Dair); Ahmed Abdulla Al-Howtah (Al-Dair); Hussain Isa AlTaweel (Al-Dair). As usual the government sent its emissaries to sense the depth of frustration amongst the people. The emissaries informed that the government is determined to abolish all programmes which don’t posses s permission from the Interior Ministry and that the decision is still in place for attacking and detaining those defying the new regime. One More Military Agreement With the US On 21 January l95)4, the Defence Minister (memberof the ruling family, KhalifabinAhmed Al-Khalifa, signed another military agreement with United States of America Al-Ayyam daily reported that the agreement concerned the security arrangement in military cooperation in the Gulf. Bahrain has been the station for the US forces smce 1947. In 1971, amilitary agreement swapped the Jufair naval base from Britain to the US. In 1973, the Americans used Bahrain to assist the Israelis engaged in war with the front-line Arab states. The Australian Jewish volunteers were stopping overinBahrain before transportation to the front line. Bahrain was then heavily criticised and that resulted in a verbal suspension of the agreement. The verbal suspension gave the US administration one year to evacuate. In 1974, it was extended (verbally) until 1977, when a modified agreement was signed. The military base changed its title the “Administrative Support Unit”, nothing more. When Iraq invaded Iran, the US, then supporting Iraq, used Bahrain as a front station in its quasi-war efforts. After the invasion of Kuwait, Bahrain emerged as a central base for all US military activities, including harbouring two carriers full of prostitutes to serve the US troops. Since then., there has been an increase in the number of military agreements covering all external security arrangement. It is for this reason that the Al-Khalifa feel secure enough to continue in their absolute and feudal style of governing. While the Amcricans guarantee the external security, the British, through Ian Henderson and other British officers, guarantee the internal security for Al-Khalifa ruling family. The question the people of Bahrain ask is that: How far are both powers prepared to go to protect the feudal regime in the name of Gulf oil security? Premier Antagonises Kuwait Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, is not only the Prime Minister, but also the top businessman in the country enjoying privileged insider info
mmation. This is the secret of the successes of his Unitag Group of Companies chaired by Jamil Wafa. Unitag never suffers from any economic downturn and the Group was eager to get a good share of the business that was to be generated by the post-liberation Kuwaitt This didn’t happen as the Kuwaitis handled most their contract without the need for Bahrain’s services. So Sheikh Khalifa was angry He warned Kuwait in 1992 by calling for restoration of links with the regime of Saddam. Now he is on at it again. However, this time, an “ex-revolutionary” writing in local press is the mouthpiece of his highness the premier. Aqeel Swar column appearing frequently in Akhbar Al-Khaleej is calling for establishing strong links with the government of Iraq. This has angered the Kuwaities, and rushed their foreign minister to Bahrain. Khalifa message is clear; Give me contracts and I will shut the mouth of Aqeel Swar. People close to the premier’s circle speak of an Iraqi offer to Unitag to act as an agent for some Iraqi oil exports and other commercial operations.

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