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Voice Of Bahrain Issue No.167

Voice Of Bahrain Issue No.168

Bahrain: Prisoners of Conscience subjected to serious Human rights violations A peaceful gathering in support of the prisoners of conscience was viciously attacked yesterday by the Al Khalifa mercernaries. Several people were injured by rubber bullets fired by these lawless thugs. The people, including senior religious figures such as Ayatullah Sheikh Mohammad Sanad, had gathered at the Government House where the Al Khalifa court was being held. More than twenty young men were being tried for taking part in a demonstration calling for the release of another group of Bahrainis detained earlier. An order from Sheikh Hamad’s palace was given to the mercenaries to wage an attack on the peaceful citizens. Several people were injured by rubber bullets which were fired without warning. The prisoners issued a statement deploring this state terrorism and calling for those responsible to be arrested. However, in the Al Khalifa kingdom criminals are protected by those in power. Sheikh Hamad had given his personal pledge to protect those who are accused of human rights violations, despite the international call to investigate their crimes. It has been reported that the political detainees have been ill-treated, beaten and tortured on orders of Sheikh Hamad, the self-styled king. The mother of Mohammad Hassan Saif, one of the detainees was horrified when she saw the extent of torture on her son’s body. Last Saturday, she was allowed to see him at the Dry Dock Torture Centre. She said that she had seen her son semi-naked. When she asked him where his clothes were, he told her that they had been torn during torture sessions. He told her that he had been tortured during interrogation. She said that she had put her hand on his forehead and realised he had high fever as a result. She appealed to international bodies to intervene to stop the Al Khalifa oppression against the people of Bahrain. Meanwhile the situation is becoming more volatile. People have resorted to peaceful means of protest in many areas. In Al Daih, Sanabis, Ne’aim, Al Khamis and other places, several fires were reported. It has become a habit of the protesters to burn rubber tyres on the side of the roads to declare their protest and rejection of the Al Khalifa hereditary dictatorship. In Karzakkan, slogans have been written on the walls of the town demanding an end to this dictatorship, the release of the political prisoners and an end to the discriminatory and absolutist policies of the Al Khalifa. Sheikh Hamad, who is one of the worst rulers Bahrain has every seen, has continued his policy of installing members of his family in senior positions. Abdullh bin Khalid Al Khalifa, one of his cronies, has been appointed in charge of the Radio and Television Commission. The Al Khalifa are now dominating the life of the country in every corner. Of 22 ministers, Sheikh Hamad has ensured that half of them are filled by members of his family. The Shia, who form more than 70 percent are allocated only five ministerial posts. The people of Bahrain have now called on the United Nations to intervene in support of the people of Bahrain to determine their future. This position is a serious development and has come 35 years after the British withdrawal from Bahrain. One of the conditions was that the country would be ruled by the Al Khalifa in consultation with the people of Bahrain in accordance with the only binding document, the 1973 Constitution. Now that Sheikh Hamad had torn this document, the Al Khalifa rule is considered illegitimate. The only way this despotic rule would be reformed is through a participatory political process in which the people would take an active part. Bahrain Freedom Movement

24th January 2006

Bahrain: Sheikh Hamad unleashes a reign of terror Appeals for the international community to intervene and put an end to the aggression by the Al Khalifa rulers against the people of Bahrain have been issued by the victims of their atrocities. The ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, has now unleashed a reign of terror against those who raise their voices to protest his dictatorship and despotism, the people have no protection from this illegitimate rule, except the United Nations. Jassim Al Haddad, is a young Bahraini who is now in hospital suffering from severe torture inflicted on him by the Al Khalifa mercenaries because he expressed his opinion calling for the release of political prisoners. He has internal bleeding in the head after being mercilessly beaten by these thugs, under direct orders from Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the self-styled king. A photo taken secretly shows these mercenaries carrying barrels of internationally-forbidden chemicals to use them against peaceful demonstrators. They have orders to inflict as much injuries as possible, hopefully, without leaving traces of their crimes. If such traces remain, the victims would be accused by the Al Khalifa judges of attacking the police who reacted in self-defence. On Thursday, a peaceful demonstration demanding the release of the hostages was mercilessly attacked by the special forces under the command of the ruler. More than 400 demonstrators were injured, scores were hospitalised. It was unprovoked attack intended to suppress the feeling of the people who are re-acting against the hate policies of the Al Khalifa. Among the victims were human rights activists and supporters participating in the demonstration. Mr. Al-khawaja and Mr. Nabeel Rajab (President and Vice-President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights), Dr. Abdul-Jaleel Al-Singace (the Committee of Solidarity) and Mr. Naji Ali(the Committee of the Unemployed). A number of women and children, mainly relatives of the prisoners of conscience, were also injured. In their seminar on Friday night at Al Sadiq Mosque, Mr Hassan Mushaime (who was jailed for six years until 2001 without trial) and Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja re-iterated the grievances of the people under the Al Khalifa hereditary dictatorship. Mr Mushaime highlighted the plight of thousands of Bahrainis who have no jobs or housing, while Al Khalifa members are occupying more than half of the land and the whole of the reclaimed lands. Mr Khawaja presented a serious case against the Al Khalifa, accusing them of harbouring those who have committed crimes against humanity, and who are giving orders to foreign mercenaries to attack unarmed civilians calling for their rights. Both have called for the immediate release of political prisoners who are being held as hostages under the orders of Sheikh Hamad himself. He has now taken the role of the two notoriously hated figures of his uncle and Ian Henderson, to oversee the implication of his inhumane rules of engagement. These include the administering of torture including sexual abuse, not within the walls of the Al Khalifa torture chambers, but in the streets of Bahrain. Bahrain Freedom Movement

8th January 2006

UN intervention needed to protect indigenous people of Bahrain The year 2005 ended on a dramatic note in the Gulf state of Bahrain. December was a particularly eventful month with demonstrations, arrests and intimidations. It brought back memories of the eighties and nineties when human rights violations were rampant and the dictatorship was at its worst. The U-turn in the political situation in the country is now haunting everyone, not least the supporters of the Al Khalifa hereditary dictatorship in Washington and London. The torture chambers built and run by the Al Khalifa rulers are now receiving greater numbers of pro-democracy Bahraini youth. Administering torture is not confined to the torture cells but has been assigned to a large group of mercenaries forming the special forces under the direct command of Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa whose dictatorship has surpassed that of his father. During the month, many Bahraini youth were attacked by his hit squads as they marched peacefully demanding jobs, calling for democracy or calling for the release of other prisoners of conscience. The names of the various repressive bodies may have been changed in the past few years, but the spirit of revenge within the Al Khalifa rulers has taken more dangerous levels. Religious scholars have been persecuted, human rights activists intimidated and demonstrators beaten to near death. Societies have been forced to change their own constitutions to accept the Al Khalifa rules, regulations and laws or face closure. Job seekers are prevented from calling for job opportunities and torture victims are not allowed to call for prosecution of their torturers. It is now clear that the political programme imposed on the people of Bahrain had been designed by American and British “advisors” and that diplomats and semi-official bodies from USA and UK are openly urging the people of Bahrain to submit to the Al Khalifa dictatorship. The US Ambassador in Manama had openly promoted Sheikh Hamad’s programme and promoted the Al Khalifa dictatorship as a beacon for democracy. He went on the record to ask the Bahraini opposition to accept the imposed constitution by taking part in the elections of bodies that are powerless. American and British diplomats are promoting the Bahraini model despite their knowledge that it has nothing to do with democracy, and that the hereditary dictatorship has not given an inch of its power to the people. They are aware of the facts pertaining to the present situation; the prime minister has ruled the country for 35 years, the people have no right to change their government, the elected bodies have no role in forming the government and are only used to act as a rubber-stamp to approve what the Al Khalifa ruling family wants. Furthermore, they have turned a blind eye to, and may have acquiesced in changing the demography of the country. Other American bodies such as the NDI have opened offices in Manama and are engaged in relentless efforts to ensure that the Sheikh Hamad gets his own way. The events of the past few weeks have proven that this is a short-sighted policy that benefits no one and can only confirm the Al Khalifa dictatorship. Demographic Engineering is a risky business and the people of Bahrain will never accept its results. The historical, cultural and religious history of the country are being deformed in line with what Sheikh Hamad and his clique aspire to achieve, with tens of thousands of non-Bahrainis naturalised. This is not done in accordance to the rule of law but through royal acts and decisions that are put into effect with no room for objection or accountability. The daily attacks on demonstrators in various parts of the country has, once more, exposed the incompatibility of the hereditary rule with notions of democracy and modern modes of governance. Experience has proven that dictatorships may succeed in deceiving people for a while, especially if they are supported by foreign powers, but that is unlikely to extinguish the flames of freedom in the hearts and minds of oppressed people. The recent events in Bahrain, including the arrest of a senior cleric, the attacks on human rights activists and demonstrators, the use of torture at a wide scale against activists, the nationalisation of political societies and the adoption of policies of corruption to silence dissenting voices, are testimony to the bankruptcy of the system and the inability of its supporters to comprehend the extent of resilience of people with long experience in civil disobedience. Despite the Al Khalifa’s large propaganda machine, they have failed to silence the people or defeat the civil resistance movement that has mushroomed in the past twelve months. On the contrary, the determination of the popular committees formed last year and the creation of the first movement outside the Al Khalifa domination is a clear proof that civil resistance is on the rise and that the repressive policies of the Al Khalifa have failed to make headway. Once again we appeal to the people of the world to support the struggle by the people of Bahrain against the hereditary dictatorship that has ransacked the country, plundered its wealth, changed its demographic balance and threatened to destroy the historical cultural and religious character of Bahrain. The ruling family which had invaded the islands in the eighteenth century and had always felt alien, is an antiquated political system that must be rejected by the world community which is striving to promote democratic and representative governments. It is an affront to modern civil society to attach itself to absolute dictatorships such as that of the Al Khalifa which has refused to negotiate a code of conduct with the people of Bahrain, repealed the only source of political legitimacy (1973 Constitution) and imposed a tailor-made code that denies the people their right to self-government. In the past few weeks, several senior figures in the country proposed a new referendum to be conducted by the United Nations to determine the future of the political system of Bahrain. The world community is well-advised to support this proposal. The events of the past thirty five years have proven that the Al Khalifa have forfeited their obligations and are thus not fit to rule. A UN intervention has thus become inevitable. Bahrain Freedom Movement

4th January 2006

Detention of a senior scholar sparks unrest In a clear move of provocation, the Government of Bahrain detained a leading Scholar at the Bahrain International Airport. The Scholar, Sheih Mohammed Sanad, was interrogated for several hours on Sunday evening (25th December) by Officials from the Interior Ministry. Upon the spread of the news, hundreds of people rushed to the airport in protest against the detention. The protesters’ main demand, as indicated by the banners they raised, was the immediate release of the senior cleric. The detention was, apparently, in response to a public gathering in which Sheikh Mohammed Sanad was critical of the Government. This detention seems to be part of a systematic campaign to curb opposition figures who are in disagreement with the ill-fated political programme of they self-styled king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Criticism of this programme has been mounting for the past three years amongst politicians and pro-democracy activists. This is caused by the continuous breaking of promises and violation of the Al Khalifa-sponsored National Action Charter. Shortly after the protests started, anti-riot police attacked the peaceful demonstrators, injuring many. The brutal attack on demonstrations has been the norm in the Government response to demonstrations on several occasions over the past 12 months. Sheikh Mohammed Sanad later said after his release that he was accused of encouraging hatred of the Government, an accusation the interrogators could not prove. The undemocratic practices of the ruling Al Khalifa family against the people of Bahrain are gross violation of the principles of freedom of speech and civil liberties. Many fear the brutality of the special forces against them will lead to more chaos and civil unrest. It has been increasing both in intensity and frequency. Bahrain Freedom Movement

26th December 2005

Statement The struggle to achieve democracy in Bahrain continues Five years after the ruler of Bahrain announced his political programme, it has now become evident that the initiative is doomed. This is what observers outside the country have concluded. The Economist Intelligence Unit has given Bahrain a low ranking among Middle Eastern states in terms of democracy and public freedoms. Human Rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and the Arab Programme for the Protection of Defenders of Human Rights, have, once again, focussed in the rapidly-deteriorating conditions of human rights in the country. Two weeks ago, a young man, Moussa Abd Ali, was arrested, tortured and sexually assaulted by the Al Khalifa officers. It was his bravery and courage that brought his ordeal to the attention of international human rights bodies. It has removed the last of the masks that Sheikh Hamad and his clique used to present fake appearances to the world. Over the past twelve months, the reality of the Al Khalifa hereditary dictatorship has been unfolding at a rapid pace. For the first time in five years, the world bodies took steps against this dictatorship and raised their voice against the brutality of the military junta headed by the present ruler, Sheikh Hamad. In March 2005, the UN Commission Against all Forms of Discrimination, issued a damning report against the Al Khalifa, accusing them of institutionalised discriminatory policies against the majority of the population. Two months later, the Committee in charge of the Convention Against Torture (CAT) issued its recommendations to the Al Khalifa dynastical rule, demanding that the notorious Law 56/2000 be amended so that it does not give impunity to the torturers. It was one of the strongest blows to the propaganda machine of the Al Khalifa dictatorship. Few weeks later, the International Crisis Group, published a lengthy report highlighting the programme of political naturalisation that aims at altering the demographic composition of the population. The lists goes on. As the summer approached, more civil unrest became the norm, with demonstrations, pickets and seminars held in various parts of the country demanding real reforms. They were faced by cruel treatment by the Al Khalifa mercenaries who inflicted heavy injuries on the unarmed civilian protesters. More statements and letters of condemnation were issued by international bodies including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. As the Forum for the Future conference drew nearer the movement of civil disobedience took a sharp turn upwards and more activities were carried out, to the annoyance and anger of the Al Khalifa dictatorship. The Forum failed to agree on a final communiqué, leaving a huge embarrassment to Sheikh Hamad and his tribe who had invested heavily in this international conference. As the Day of the Martyrs approaches (17th December), the people’s resolve has become stronger. The President of the Bahrain Centre of Human Rights, Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja, has been on a hunger strike demanding that the torturers who abused Moussa Abd Ali, be brought to justice. Letters and statements of support to this cause have been issued by several organisations and the country is thus becoming more volatile in anticipation of further disturbances. The people of Bahrain are familiar with political tension during the month of December and are thus embracing themselves to receive bear the brunt of the Al Khalifa state terrorism. The people of Bahrain are appealing to world to support their struggle to end the hereditary dictatorship in their country through a contractual constitution, establish a proper democratic regime and uphold the rule of law. Their peaceful struggle will continue despite the state terrorism being adopted by the Al Khalifa rulers whose political and moral bankruptcy has been exposed to the world. Bahrain Freedom Movement

12 December 2005

Five years after the ruler of Bahrain promised to reform the political system of the country, the situation has remained volatile and a new state of tension is developing.. The Economist Intelligence Unit has given Bahrain a low ranking among countries of the Middle East on freedom and democracy.Lord Avebury, the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights GroupCordially invites you to a seminar onBahrain: Five years of lost opportunitiesSeveral speakers, Bahrainis and non-Bahrainis, will discuss the dilemma of change in a country governed by absolute rule in light of the ongoing political discontent11.00 AM, Thursday 15th December 2005Moses Room, the House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW

For further information please contact: Lord Avebury on 020 7274 4617, email:

Chief Engineer dismissed for opposing the government policiesSuppression, Arrests, physical and sexual assaults and dismissal, are only some of the illegal practices adopted by the Al Khalifa regime in Bahrain against those who oppose its policies. The list continues to grow as the people show more determination to achieve their legitimate rights. The Government is resorting to old practices to suppress the opposition to its policies. These policies were employed during the reign of terror in the eighties and nineties during which the notorious state security law was imposed on the people of Bahrain. These practices are now common in the country.Last night, the streets of the Capital Manama were full of anti-riot police for the second consecutive night. Many visitors who were spending the weekend in Bahrain were astonished by the intensive security presence on public roads. Few days ago, Jalal Fairooz, was dismissed from his post as a Chief Engineer working with the Bahrain National Gas Company (BANAGAS). The press releases published in the official papers following the dismissal justified it on grounds of poor performance. However, reports from inside the BANAGAS confirm that, prior to his dismissal, Mr Fairooz was given an award by Senior Management in recognition of his dedication and outstanding performance. Earlier this year, another scientist, Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace, was demoted from the post of Head of Department at the University of Bahrain for his political activities. Reliable sources suggest that the dismissal came in an instruction from the Prime Minister in response to the many seminars held during the past few months, during which Mr Fairooz publicly criticized the policies of the Government. The sources also confirm that this dismissal is the first of a series planned against popular and prominent opposition figures in the country. It has now become a policy of the ruling family to adopt repressive measures, including spreading hunger and poverty among the people, to subjugate them. The ongoing “uprising of the hungry” claimed more victims last night as the Al Khalifa mercenaries attacked peaceful demonstrations in the capital, Manama.The new strategy of employing old repressive measures is aimed at terrorizing the people of Bahrain and scaring prominent figures out of the opposition groups. Such measures proved ineffective during the era of the state security law for three decades. They will certainly fail to realize their objective today, as the people of Bahrain are equipped with stronger determination and will to continue their struggle for their rights and freedom.Bahrain Freedom Movement

1st December 2005

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