1 July: The interior ministry continued its programme for re-arresting those people who had been released in April and May following a visit by the Red Cross. Many of those released were told by security officers that they would be re-arrested after few days.

On the other hand, the interior ministry refused to release many of those who had been found innocent even by the State Security Court. An example of such behaviour is evident in the refusal to release a group of people who were acquitted by the State Security Court on 16 May 1998. The group (ten of them in Bahrain and one is outside Bahrain) was accused of burning a shop more than three years ago (on 25 March 1995). The group was tortured and held in detention since then. They were first brought to a trial on 27 December 1997. And on 16 May 1998, they were found innocent from all charges against them. However the interior ministry refused to release them.

The said group includes Adel Abdulla Yousif Sengais, 29 years old, who is outside Bahrain. Others remaining in detention are: Seyyed Hassan Ali Mosa, 19, Abbas Yaquob Yousif Mohammed Al-Uleiwat, 31, Seyyed Aqeel Yehya Al-Qallaf, 20 (was 17 years old when arrested in 1995), Saeed Isa Ali Hassan Ali-Hammar, 24, Seyyed Adnan Saeed Ali Al-Setri, 17 (child), Mohammed Abdulla Ali Al-Haddad, 17 (child), Seyyed Adnan Majid Hassan Al-Saffar, 29, Mahmood Ibrahim Abdulla Al-Jamal, 19, Abdul Amir Ahmad Mahdi Al-Gas, 25, and Abbas Isa Hassan Al-Hammar, 24.

The following remain in detention without trial or charges for more than three years: Mohammed Jawad Ahmad Jaffer Al-Oreibi, 25, from Kawarah; Ahmad Shaaban, 24, Kawarah, Mirza Khamis Qambar, 19, Sitra, Salman Makki Marhoon, 20, Sitra, Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Tawwash, 25, Sitra, Mohammed Ghannam, Sitra.

2 July: In the past days, several loud explosions were heard around the country while the security forces failed to remove pro-democracy slogans from the wall. A recent development is the increase in writing of slogans in English language. One such slogan in Duraz, said, “All the sectors [of Bahrain society] are demanding the parliament”.

4 July: The Kuwaiti Appeal Court held its session on 4 July to look into the sentences passed against a group of Bahraini workers in Kuwait. The session was adjourned until 25 July. The group was accused of possession of leaflets critical of the regime in Bahrain, an accusation that is not punishable by Kulaw. A junior court convicted six Bahrainis to prison terms ranging between 3 months to 3 years last March.

7 July: The residents of Sanabis, Daih, Duraz, Karzakkan, Demestan, Malkeya, Sitra and other places commemorated the third anniversary of the martyrdom of Saeed Al-Eskafi who was tortured to death on 8 July 1995 by the notorious officer Khalid Al-Wazzan. The people called for the punishment of Khalid Al-Wazzan before a fair trial.

July 10 (Reuters) – The International Free Trades Union Confederation on Friday named and shamed close to two dozen countries for failing to respect trades union rights during the last four years. [Bahrain was amongst the condemned countries]. The Brussels-based CISL, upholding workers’ rights to set up trades unions enshrined in a 1993 International Labour Organisation convention, named countries from around the world for murder, torture, police beatings, arrests and total bans onunions struggling to win their mem

Earlier a US state department official responded to an enquiry by the Bahrain opposition saying that the US Administration supported the recent declaration of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) ” we strongly encouraged countries to support it” the official said and added that “the US strongly urged Bahrain to support the Pact”. Bahrain abstained from signing the pact. The pact aims to protect the right toform and join trade unions and bargain collectively, to eliminate forced labour, end discrimination in employment and to bring about the effective abolition of child labour.

8 July, the security forces raided the house of Abdulla Ahmad Marhoon, about 48 years old, and arrested him. The citizens own a bookshop, which was also raided and many of its equipment were confiscated. His two sons, Elyas and Hussain, had earlier been detained on 23 June.

9 July, the torturer Khalid Al-Wazzan led an attack on several houses in Iskan Jedhafs. The torturer and his group smashed doors and windows of houses in an attempt to terrorise the residents. They also briefly arrested and beaten Mohammed Khalil Ibrahim, 22, Karim Maki Kashkool, 22, Jamil Hassan Ahmad, 17. On 14 July, the security forces attacked Daih arrested Bashar Al-Shajjar, 22, and Hani Matooq Fakhar, 22.

While Asaad Mostafa Ali, 24, was walking in Mossalla, a group of foreign security men stopped him and started beating him severely. This is one of the methods adopted by the foreign forces for intimidating the nation.

10 July: The following were known to have been re-arrested in Daih on 10 July: Abdul Zahra Ali Mushaima’a, 18, and his brother Hussain, 16, Jawad Nemat-Allah, 18, Ahmad Al-Sarsawi, 23. These were detained for 18 months without charges or trial. They had been released a month ago, and have now been re-arrested as part of the on-going programme for re-arresting those released recently.

15 July: Ian Henderson, the top British Security Chief, has been shown standing behind the interior minister on 15 July. His recurrent appearance on TV and in newspapers indicates how entrenched Mr. Henderson is. He continues to direct operations against the peaceful people of Bahrain to fulfil his duties as a protector of dictatorship.

17 July: A fire that might have been started by arsonists working for the security forces gutted Bu-Kannan furniture show room. The fire was extinguished on 17 July, at 11.00 am. The furniture show room is located on Sheikh Salman Road, near Isa Town.

It is widely believed that the security forces have blacklisted several business people. There are many drivers for this type of arsonist action. The intelligence department targets any businessperson that is suspected to be helping the poorer sections of the society. The family of Bu-Kannan is amongst a number of business families who are targeted by the intelligence department.

21 July: The people of Bahrain mourned a new martyr today, 21 July. Nooh Khalil Abdulla Al-Nooh, 22 years old, was arrested in a raid on his parent’s house in Nuaim district (Manama) on Saturday 18 July. Few days later, the interior ministry telephoned the family of the martyr and ordered them to collect the dead body of their son from the mortuary.

As the family went to receive the body of their dear son, the foreign security forces had already encircled the district of Nuaim. Nevertheless, the citizens penetrated the siege and about 1500 people attended the burial and funeral of the young man.

The people photographed his body. It was full of torture, the kind of which is applied to all citizens taken into custody for interrogation.

The tortured body carried signs of electric shocks, sever beating and drilling-penetrations. The people chanted for the freedom of the nation and called for the punishment of torturers.

24 July:Hundreds of citizens marched through the streets of Manama, the Bahraini capital, on 24 July (7.00pm) protesting against the killing of Nooh Al-Nooh on 21 July. Nooh was arrested by the intelligence department on 18 March and tortured with electric shock, burns, drillings and painful lashing until death. He died within 48 hours of his arrest.

Early on the day, the security forces encircled the house of the martyr’s parent and ordered them to cancel the gathering that usually takes place on the third day of a person’s death. However, these threats never frightened the honourable citizens from converging into the district of Nuaim. The people gathered and listened to speeches condemning the torturers and demanded that those responsible for the death of Nooh Al-Nooh be brought to justice. The photos of Nooh ‘s body in the mortuary were distributed. All the photos showed the extent of torture that caused the death of Nooh.

The government of Bahrain ratified the UN Convention against Torture last February. However, torture never ceased and indeed it had been increasing in scale and type. The photos of Noah’s body are further evidence of the criminality of the regime that employs mercenaries from all over the world for the sole purpose of torturing Bahrainis.

Security forces encircling the district of Nuaim fired at the protestors, but the youths charged towards the mercenaries and clashed with them in defence of honour and dignity. The clashes spread to the heart of Manama Town Centre and as a result dozens of shops were damaged.

Youths in other parts of the country also clashed with the mercenaries. Columns of and clashes were reported in Daih, Sanabis, Durza, Karzakkan, Sanad, Sitra and many other places. Witnesses spoke of the return of the “intifada” defying the atrocities of the regime.

The interior minister, Mohammed bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, was pictured standing near the notorious British security officer, Ian Henderson, in government’s paper on 23 July. He thanked the staff of the interior ministry and encouraged them to continue their operations as usual. This statement is indicative of the nature of the murderous regime, which declares its pride after the killing of citizens. The murdering of the Nooh Al-Nooh is part of a policy adopted by the unconstitutional and feudal regime, which refuses to stop torturing the citizens, and refuses to respect the country’s constitution. The struggling nation of Bahrain will never succumb to the mercenaries and those who commissioned them for torture and murder.

25 July:The torturing-to-death of yet another innocent citizen by the security forces rallied the nation to denounce the irresponsibility and criminality of the regime. Protestors vowed to continue struggling against the feudal dictatorship and to continue demanding their basic rights of dignity, respect and freedom of expression. Security forces were put on high alert and were ordered to camp in public areas. Patrolling have been intensified in a desperate attempt to silence the nation.

On 25 July, protesting citizens from various parts of Bahrain took to the streets protesting against the torturing-to-death of the 22-year old, Nooh Al- Nooh on 21 July. Amongst the areas that witnessed intensified activities were: Bani Jamra, Duraz, Shakhura, Daih, Sitra, Karbabad, Abu Sayb’a, Quraya, Dair (where protestors block the highway leading to the International Airport) and Nuaim (where its entrances have been besieged by the security forces to prevent the citizens from paying their last tribute to the martyr Nooh). Later on the same day, the security forces waged an offensive raid on an assembly hall in Nuaim where people had been gathering for commemorating the martyr. Many of participants were arrested and contents of the assembly hall were completely ruined.

Arrests and raids on citizens’ houses have resumed in an even more cruel and brutal way. Citizens have been rounded up from across the country in the most intimidating and terrorising manner. The following are known to have been arrested in the past few days. On 25 July, Mahmood Abdulla Khalaf and his four brothers, from Karbabad, were rounded up in the early hours of the morning. On 24 July, Mohammed Abdulla Khadim, 41, and his four brothers (Khalifa, 36, Taha, 31, Ali, 25, Mahmood, 23) were arrested during a midnight raid on their family house in Karbabad. On 19 July, Hussain Abdulla Hassan, 22, from Jirdab , was arrested from his house in the early hours of the morning. In the second week of July, Abdul Amir Abdulla Al Janahi, 24, from Ras Romman, was arrested and brutally tortured. He was released after three days of exhaustion.

26 July: Kuwait Times said on 26 July that “appeal verdict on Bahrainis postponed until September 14”. Kuwait’s criminal court earlier this year sentenced six Bahrainis to three years imprisonment after accusing them of distributing leaflets against the government in Bahrain.

27 July: The notorious mercenary Ian Henderson has again appeared on Bahrain TV escorting the Prime Minster upon the latter’s departure for a 10-day “private” visit abroad.


22 July: Asylum in Britain for Bahraini clerics (From the newsroom of the BBC World Service): Britain says it has granted asylum to three Bahraini Shi’ite Moslem clerics who were deported from Bahrain three years ago, after they’d campaigned for the restoration of the Bahraini parliament which was dissolved in 1975. Last November, the three men were each sentenced in their absence to five years in jail for violating state security. Before being deported, the clerics Sheikh Ali Salman, Sheikh Hamza Ali Kasim al-Diri and Sayed Haider Hasan Ali al-Sitri had also called for the release of Shi’ites detained during anti-government demonstrations to press for political reforms.

LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) – Britain has granted asylum to three Shi’ite Moslem clerics deported from Bahrain over three years ago, who have since been sentenced to jail terms in their absence for trying to overthrow the Manama government.

The news that the three had won their battle to stay in Britain indefinitely came in a written parliamentary answer from junior Home Office minister Lord Williams of Mostyn on Tuesday.

They are Sheikh Ali Salman, Sheikh Hamza Ali Kasim Kadhem al-Diri and Sayed Haider Hasan Ali Al-Sitri.

Immediately before their deportation in January 1995, they had been campaigning for the restoration of Bahrain’s national assembly, dissolved in 1975, and the release of people detained in riots in Shi’ite villages.

In November last year, the three were given five-year jail terms by a Manama court following a trial of eight opposition leaders in exile on charges of violating state security, including setting up an illegal group to overthrow the government by force.

The other five defendants were sentenced to 15-year jail terms.

A spokesman for the Home Office, Britain’s Interior Ministry, said the government never commented on the reasons for granting or refusing applications for political asylum.

Lord Eric Avebury, a prominent minority Liberal Democrat human rights campaigner who asked the question to which Williams responded, was not immediately available for comment.


27 July: The notorious mercenary Ian Henderson has again appeared on Bahrain TV escorting the Prime Minster upon the latter’s departure for a 10-day “private” visit abroad. The prime minister is expected to visit South Africa upon his return from this visit. According to close circles, the Al-Khalifa prime minister intends to import South Africans to the country to compete with others imported from Russia, Asia and the Syrian desert. These are primarily deployed for “tourist/fun” purposes or are recruited in the security forces. Recently, problems have surfaced in the Ministry of Defence involving Jordanians and Syrians firing shots. A high ranking officer was injured in one of these incidents.


10:57 a.m. Jul 28, 1998 Eastern

LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) – Arrests and raids on homes have resumed in the Gulf Arab state of Bahrain following the death of a Shi’ite Moslem man, allegedly at the hands of the island’s security forces, an exiled opposition group said on Tuesday.

The London-based Bahrain Freedom Movement said Nouh Khalil Nouh, 23, was tortured to death on July 21.

A Bahrain government official said last week: “No one has died in custody.” He declined to deny or confirm that Nouh had been arrested before his death.

The opposition group said security forces were put on high alert and were ordered to camp in public areas. Patrols had been intensified.

“Arrests and raids on citizens’ houses have resumed in an even more cruel and brutal way,” the movement said in a statement. “Citizens have been rounded up from across the country in the most intimidating and terrorising manner.”

Two families of five brothers each were among those arrested, it said.

Bahrain, the Gulf’s banking and financial centre, has been the scene of sporadic unrest since 1994. Members of the Shi’ite Moslem majority have been demanding economic and political reforms from the state’s Sunni Moslem rulers.

Bahrain residents said protests, mainly in the capital Manama, after Nouh’s funeral were the most serious trouble this year. They said he had been arrested three days before he died in hospital.

Police clashed with protesters and demonstrations continued in some villages until Sunday night, the residents said.


Hawar dispute with Qatar

Qatar said on 7 July that Bahrain will violate an agreement signed in 1987 between the two countries if Manama builds a causeway to Hawar island, controlled by Bahrain but also claimed by Qatar. A foreign ministry spokesman in Bahrain responed by saying “any changes in Zubarah (a village in Qatar and the place which Al-Khalifa lived in before coming to Bahrain) is an infringement of Bahrain’s sovereignty”. On 9 July, the Kuwait’s Al-Rai Al-Aam said “War of words flares up again between Qatar and Bahrain”.

Reuters reported on 14 July saying : The United Arab Emirates is stepping up efforts to end a sovereignty dispute between Qatar and Bahrain over a cluster of Gulf islands, al-Hayat newspaper reported on Tuesday. The London-based daily said UAE President Sheikh Zaid bin Sultan al-Nahayan was considering sending his minister for foreign affairs to Doha and Manama to bridge differences between the two Gulf Arab capitals. The UAE’s official WAM news agency reported on Monday that Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani had started a two-day visit to the UAE capital Abu Dhabi. It said the Qatari minister delivered a letter to Sheikh Zaid from Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. The disputed islands are barren but are believed to have oil and gas reserves.

They have been controlled by Bahrain since the 1930s but are also claimed by Qatar, which took the row to the International Court of Justice in the Hague in1991. Bahrain said in June it was planning to build a 22.5 km (14 miles) causeway to link it with Hawar, largest of the islands at the centre of the dispute. Qatar criticised the plan and said Bahrain had no legal right to build the causeway.

Mr. Abdul Rahman Al-Nuaimi, the leading Bahraini opposition figure, wrote an article in Al-Quds on 21 July analysing the escalation in border dispute between Qatar and Bahrain. He said, “the two countries must strive to solve the dispute. The Bahraini government has persistently sought to divert attention from the on-going struggle for political reforms in Bahrain.


Bahrain: State-sponsored vandalism, violence and repression are a recipe for instability

Repression in Bahrain continues as a means to protect the tribal regime and the privileges of the ruling family. State violence combined with the lack of judicial redress for citizens form are a recipe for continued instability in the country. The torturing-to-death of Nooh Al-Nooh is a crime committed after the regime ratified the UN Convention Against Torture. This is a message of ill-intention and disrespect directed against the international community.

State-sponsored crimes have encompassed a variety of acts from stealing and vandalism of private properties to torturing citizens to death. State-sponsored vandalism has taken place during the past few days where private and public properties were targeted in an apparent undeclared policy. Mosques, assembly halls, houses, shops, and other properties have been targeted by the foreign mercenaries. Amongst the properties damaged were: Al Dasma Supermarket in Karbabad, a Bakery in Sanabis, and a hairdresser shop in Sanabis.

Political detainees have been packed in the crowded prisons and new prisons are being built to accommodate the non-stopping flow of innocent citizens. Prisons have substituted schools, hospitals and clubs. Children are being forced to experience the trauma of growing up in prison’s environment instead of their right for proper schooling and education. The following teenagers are known to have been unlawfully arrested: Saeed Sahwan, 19, from Markuban (Sitra). From Karanah: Fahdil Isa Nasir, 17, Abdul Rasul Ibrahim, 17, Jaffar Ahmed Fahdl, 17, Qasim Mohammed Ali Kadhem, 17. From Ara’d: Bdul Mun’im Ahmed Jassim, 15, Jassim Ahmed Abdula Al Darawqa, 15(was in detention for 6 months, released for 5 months and re-arrested again), Abdula Ahmed Abbas, 14, Ali Abdul Hussain Al Bahrani, 14, Hassan Ali Hassan Al Fula’the, 15 (was in detention for 8 months, released for 3 months and re-arrested again). From Aa’li: Abbas Nasir, 19, Hussain Ali Hussain, 17. From Karbabad: Mohammed Ali Al Fara’sh, 17, Fahdil Abbas Al Sa’ri, 18 (was detained for a period of 7 months, and re-arrested again). From Manama: Seyed Baqir Seyed Mohammed Seyed Adnan Al Alawi, 15. These youths have been arrested in the past few days: Hassan Isa Nasir, 25, from Karanah, Jameel Hassan Ahmed Jousif, 22, from Dair.

Hajji Mahdi, The custodian of Nuaim’s assembly hall (where the commemoration of the martyr Nooh took place) was arrested on Friday 24 July. It is worth mentioning that in the following day (25 July), the security forces waged an offensive raid on the same assembly hall where people had been gathering for commemorating the martyr. Contents of the assembly hall were completely ruined.

The authorities have started cutting electricity services from certain areas at certain hours because of high loud factor. This is failure of policy and planning. Moreover, the cutting electricity will be directed in accordance with the discriminatory policy of the state.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

29 July 1998

Fax: (44) 171 278 9089


Opposition Memorandum

The Bahraini constitutional opposition submitted a memorandum on 15 July to the United Nation Sub-Commission on Human Rights, expressing appreciation “for the “historic resolution No.E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/50 which you adopted on 2lst August 1997” on the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain. “The timing of your decision was very significant because it came in a crucial period in the history of our political struggle for democracy and human rights in Bahrain”.

“Though Bahrain enjoyed two years of partial democracyin 1974 and 1975, unfortunately, in spite of its limitation this experiment was not tolerated and the National Assembly was dissolved in August 1975. However, in 1992 and 1994 two petitions were produced by a new democratic movement which emerged embracing the 1973 constitution”. “Currently, there are two members of the CPP (Committee of the Popular Petition) among the political detainees namely; Sheikh Al- Jamri (6o years old) and Mr. Abdulwahab Hussain. We believe that both are unequivocally innocent of any wrong doing, and we demand their release. Another elderly detainee is Mr. Abdulla Fakhroo (68) who is in jail for expressing his opinion openly but he did not conduct any violent act. We are extremely concerned for the health and well being of these two elderly citizens in particular, and for all those who have been held without [fair] trial in Bahrain”.


 The Lebanese news agency stated that a Bahraini person “working for Bahraini intelligence” was found killed near Beirut. Tawfiq Abdul Nabi Ibrahim Al-Bahranah, 46, was killed on Sunday 19 July in mysterious circumstances. A Bahraini governmental official denied the allegations made by the Lebanese official source that the person worked for the intelligence. (see reports below)


BEIRUT, July 22 (Reuters) – Lebanese Foreign Minister Faris Bouez insisted on Wednesday a Bahraini killed with a bullet to the head was an intelligence officer working undercover, despite official denials from Bahrain.

The man identified as Tawfik Abddenabi Ibrahim, 46, was found on Monday with a pistol in his hand and a bullet in his head in a tourist area northeast of Beirut.

“The man (Ibrahim) was identified as an intelligence officer. We do not have additional information,” Bouez told reporters.

According to Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) Ibrahim was in charge of observing Bahraini opposition circles based in Lebanon.

Bahrain swiftly denied on Tuesday that the man belonged to the Gulf Arab state’s security agency or any other state body.

Bahrain has been the scene of sporadic unrest since 1994 led by members of the Gulf island’s Shi’ite Moslem majority against the Sunni Moslem-led government. Some opposition groups are based abroad.

There is no Bahraini embassy in Lebanon, but the two countries have diplomatic relations with each other.


22 July: BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — A Bahraini intelligence agent has been found shot to death in a mountain town, news reports said Wednesday. Bahrain dismissed the reports as false.

An-Nahar and other newspapers reported that the body of Tawfik Abdel-Nabi al-Baharna was found Monday in the mountain town of Beit Mery with a gunshot wound to his head and a pistol in his left hand to imply that he committed suicide.

The state-run National News Agency said the victim was a Bahraini security officer and apparently was on a mission to monitor the activities of Bahraini opposition figures in Lebanon.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Fares Bweiz said Wednesday the ministry has received confirmation from the government of Bahrain that al-Baharna was working as an intelligence agent.

Bahrain’s official Gulf News Agency, however, said al-Baharna “had no connection with state security or any other official body in Bahrain.” It did not say what al-Bahwas doing in Lebanon.

Bahrain’s ambassador in Lebanon is authorized to pursue the “false allegations” with Lebanese authorities, the agency added.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry instructed Lebanon’s ambassador to Bahrain, Zuhair Kazzaz, to follow up the case, NNA said.

It quoted investigators as saying that al-Baharna had entered Lebanon eight times using different names last year.

Al-Baharna, initially described as a tourist, was staying at a Beit Mery hotel.

An-Nahar said preliminary investigations indicate that al-Baharna was killed and his body thrown near a road in Beit Mery.


BEIRUT (July 22) XINHUA – A Bahraini intelligence officer has been found dead here with a bullet in his head, the National Broadcast Network radio reported Wednesday.

“The initial investigation showed that Tawfik Abdanabi Ibrahim, who was found on Monday in a tourist area of Beirut, is an officer of Bahraini intelligence apparatus,” the radio said.

The 46-year-old Ibrahim was found with a pistol in his hand, the radio said. The cause of his death remained unclear.

It seemed that Ibrahim, who entered Lebanon eight times last year using different names, was in charge of monitoring the activities of Bahraini opposition figures living in Lebanon, the radio added.

Despite Lebanese Foreign Minister Fares Boueiz’s claim that Ibrahim was an intelligence officer, Bahrain on Wednesday formally denied the allegation.

Boueiz has asked Bahrain to provide more information about Ibrahim, and he didn’t rule out the possibility of conducting a joint investigation with Bahraini officials.

Bahrain does not have an embassy in Lebanon despite the existence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.


B, July 21 (Reuters) – Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) said on Tuesday that a Bahraini intelligence officer working undercover in the country had been found dead with a bullet in his head in a tourist area northeast of Beirut.

But Bahrain swiftly denied that the man belonged to the Gulf Arab state’s security agency or any other state body.

Lebanon’s NNA said in its report: “The preliminary investigation showed that the Bahraini, Tawfik Abddenabi Ibrahim, is an officer who worked for his country’s state security.” The body was found on Monday, it added.

Bahrain’s official Gulf News Agency (GNA) quoted a government official as saying he was “astonished” and rejected the report as “baseless.”

“The official said that this person…has no link to the state security body or any official authority in Bahrain,” GNA said.

The 46-year-old Ibrahim was found with a pistol in his hand, the Lebanese agency said.

“He entered Lebanon eight times during last year using different names. It seems he was in charge of observing Bahraini opposition people who live in Lebanon,” NNA added.


Lebanese investigate death of suspected Bahraini secret agent

Lebanese officials say they are investigating the death of a Bahraini citizen who was killed in Beirut on Monday, after preliminary findings suggesting he was an agent working for the Bahraini secret services. A Lebanese prosecutor said the man, Tawfik Abd al-Nabi, had entered Lebanese territory eight times during the last year using different names on what appeared to be missions to monitor Bahraini opposition groups in Lebanon. But Bahrain’s official news agency GNA quoted a government official denying any links with the suspected agent. From the newsroom of the BBC World Service


BC-Lebanon-Bahrain, 1st Ld-Writethru Lebanese minister retracts statement on slain Bahraini


BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — Lebanon’s foreign minister on Thursday retracted a statement that a man found shot dead in a mountain town this week was a Bahraini intelligence agent.

“Preliminary information had indicated that the slain Bahraini (was an intelligence agent),” a statement issued by Foreign Minister Fares Bweiz’s office said. But the Bahraini foreign minister “did not confirm this, pending more accurate information on this subject,” the terse statement added.

It did not elaborate.

On Wednesday, Bweiz had said that “it became apparent” from conversations with Bahrain officials that the victim dead found Monday was an intelligence agent. In remarks carried by Lebanon’s official National News Agency, he also said “information in our possession” showed the man was an agent.

Lebanese newspaper reports identified the victim as Tawfik Abdel-Nabi al-Baharna. Bahrain confirmed the name but denied that he had any link with the country’s security apparatus. However, Bahrain also did not say what he was doing in Lebanon.

Al-Baharna’s body was found in Beit Mery town with a gunshot wound to his head and a pistol in his left hand to imply that he committed suicide.


Prostitution and AIDS in Bahrain

The Al-Khalifa government has transformed Bahrain to a centre for prostitution. Fun-girls are imported from all over the world, primarily Russia, to sell sex in the Exhibition Road in Manama and in the hotels, most of which are owned by the Al-Khalifa.

A recent addition in the government-sponsored prostitution industry has been African girls. As a result of this policy, AIDS is now widespread in Bahrain.

** Bahrain TV screens rare AIDS interviews

By Isa Mubarak

MANAMA, July 1 (Reuters) – In a rare look at a subject scarcely acknowledged in the conservative Arab Gulf, Bahrain television this week screened frank interviews with AIDS sufferers in an attempt to raise awareness of the killer disease.

“My husband had the disease and he did not tell me about it. I lived with him for a long time without knowing that,” the widow of a Bahraini AIDS victim said.

“My children and I htested for HIV. Fortunately my children were safe, but I had contracted the virus,” said the veiled woman, using the fictitious name Hawa.

The television programme coincides with the 12th World AIDS Conference in Geneva, attenby scientists from around the world. Conference delegates on Tuesday urged governments to become more active in fighting the disease.

Bahrain is making efforts to demystify the disease. In many other parts of the Gulf, the subject is strictly taboo and people with the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) are treated as outcasts, while expatriate workers found to have HIV — which precedes full-blown AIDS — are promptly deported.

The drive to prevent the spread of AIDS among the island state’s population of half a million has been stepped up ahead of the summer holiday season, when many go abroad to escape soaring temperatures at home.

Preachers at mosques have been instructed to urge the faithful at Friday prayers to take measures against the epidemic by adhering to Islamic values.

Sumaiya al-Jowder of AIDS prevention committee at Bahrain’s Health Ministry told Reuters more debates on the disease would be broadcast later this year.

No official figures are available on the number of AIDS victims on the island.

Without a figure, AIDS awareness campaigners say it is even harder to fight the disease, as the extent of the problem is not widely known. They say AIDS is probably not a big problem in Bahrain, but the more it is talked about, the greater the chances are of halting its spread.

“I advise everyone to make sure to get a blood test of future husbands and wives before their marriage to make sure they are not carrying the disease,” Hawa told TV viewers.

She said her husband, who died recently, had been a frequent traveller and had probably got AIDS after with another woman with the virus.

Another AIDS sufferer, Youssef, complained he could not get dental treatment for two years in Bahrain because of his sickness. Abdullah, 40, who contracted AIDS aftaking drugs intravenously, faced similar problems. “I have been trying to visit a dentist for seven months. I could not find a doctor who is willing to treat me,” Abdullah told Reuters.

The Health Ministry’s Jowder said Bahrain planned to establish a special dental clinic to treat victims of AIDS. She holds weekly round-table meetings with AIDS victims to discuss their problems and improvements to their treatment at a government hospital.


Although Bahrain had ratified the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC), it is one of the main abuser of children in the world. Its defiance of the UN conventions is encouraged by the presence of a UNDP official by the name Faisal Abdul Qadir, who is used by the government of Bahrain to whitewash the atrocities. He is saying that Bahrain ranks the “top in the Arab World” in “human development”. This person was quoted on 11 July by local press as saying “the population could double in just over 10 years, severely threatening development and quality of life…”. He is implying that Bahrainis are enjoying a quality of life at present. Of course, he never bothered to collect data about existing poverty and about the “quality of life” in the jails and detention camps of the regime.


July 1998 

Declining oil-prices shakes up the region

Khalifa versus a tripartite alliance

A converging pattern of alliances seems to be developing in the Gulf, and is likely to shape the regional political scene in the foreseeable future. With the sharp decline in oil prices, the region, and specifically the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are now exposed to political upheavals due to the anticipated economic crises. The net result will be a tendency towards either more liberalisation or more serious repression. The western countries which enjoy good relations with the GCC rulers are anxious to avoid a dramatic change in the political map of the Gulf. They have, so far, refrained from bringing down the regime of Saddam Hussain of Iraq and improving relations with Iran. However the situation appears to be different when it comes to the Gulf.

The continuing decline of oil prices, which is the main income in the Gulf, is threatening the stability of the region and is likely to have serious economic and political consequences unless the situation changes. Oil from GCC states now sells for as low a price as $9 per barrel, less than half its prices two years ago. This means the total oil revenues for these countries will be almost half the anticipated values. The economies of these states cannot sustain this sharp fall in their main source of revenue, and it is likely that their budget will have a serious deficit. This will undoubtedly be reflected on the development plans and could lead to freezing or abandoning social projects. The overproduction of oil by states inside and outside OPEC has led to a glut in the market thus forcing the prices down. On the other hand the financial crisis in South East Asia and Japan, has contributed negatively to the oil prices, the net results being the dramatic fall that has precipitated a major crisis.

Over the past quarter of a century, the lid was kept on the boiling political situation using the heavy weight of oil revenues that enabled the rulers to take a more robust attitude against political reforms. Now that the inherent weakness of an economy based on a single commodity has been exposed, it will be difficult to visualise the extent of the anticipated problems. What is certain, however, is the fact that the financial rewards made possible by large oil revenues throughout the past two and a half decades are likely to disappear, thus paving the way for discontent. Expression of this discontent could take any form, the most likely of which is political agitation. Reform of the traditional political regime is thus more pressing and only wise rulers will pre-empt upheavals by introducing political reforms gradually and sincerely.

It is now reported that a new axis is gradually taking shape in the Gulf. Prince Abdulla bin Abudul Aziz of Saudi Arabia has been seen as being keen on some reforms in his country, a step that has been awaited for long. The advent of the Consultative Council has done little to satisfy the aspirations of a rapidly-rising middle class, and a move toward a more open and representative regime has thus become a necessity. Prince Abdulla has forged a new friendship with the Amir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who is reported to have taken personal interest in the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia during last year’s emergency session of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. The two worked together and have apparently succeeded in pulling Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, along the path of reforms. The three have thus become a strong alliance within the GCC, an eventuality that has not been received well by the prime minister of Bahrain.

Over the past twelve months Sheikh Zayed has undertaken two major initiatives; one to mediate in the political in Bahrain, and the other to improve the relations between Qatar and Bahrain. The prime minister of Bahrain has not reacted positively to either, thus angering Sheikh Zayed and causing the relations between the UAE and his government to cool. This may not necessarily lead to hostility between the two countries but the impact on the regional alliance is not to be underestimated. The tripartite alliance seems to have several features in common; strong economies (before the recent downfall in oil prices), less hostility towards Iraq, an improved attitudes towards Iran and a more receptive attitude towards political reforms. Bahrain, however, does not share any of these criteria. The dependence by the Al Khalifa on financial support coming from Kuwait prevents them from going all the way towards Baghdad, whilst their sensitivity towards political reforms means they are less receptive to mediation.

The Government of Bahrain has embarked on a road that does not necessarily lead to a more stable situation on the internal front. The policy of no-dialogue with the constitutional movement cannot lead to the required aim and the likelihood is that a more aggressive opposition will eventually emerge. The Bahraini government has lost both financially and politically as a result of the prime minister’s policies. The realignment of the three governments are being watched carefully to assess the nature of the new status quo in the Gulf which is vital for the interests of the western world. The Bahraini opposition has been moderate and has not called for a fundamental change in the region. The governments that are friendly with the Al-Khalifa are wise to take certain steps to bring home that the time for totalitarian regimes has gone. It will be a major mistake on the part of Bahrain’s regime to assume that repression alone could win the day against the constitutional movement. The requirements of modern civil society are based on the needs for more openness, more respect of human rights and more political freedoms. It is a futile exercise to attempt to change the course of history. The wise step to take is that which leads to the settlement of the crisis on the basis of the demands articulated by the Popular Petition of 1994. Failing to do so could only lead to more instability especially in light of the weak economies exacerbated by the dwindling oil prices.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

1 July 1998

Fax: (44) 171 278 9089


“The Atlanta Journal-Constitution”

In the sandy little neighborhood near the mall with the J.C. Penney’s, a graffito cries out for any foreigner who might pass.

“We are reformits. Not a terrorist,” it says, though it is likely to be covered quickly by police wielding rifles and paint buckets.

Most Americans know little about Bahrain, but many of the Arabs here speak English. They eat at Dairy Queen and Hardree’s, work in banks and resorts or live off the sailors at the port center for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

While Americans celebrate their independence this weekend, tidy little Bahrain has everything American except democracy.

Facing tough restrictions on free speech, an opposition movement is trying to bring back a parliament that was banned 23 years ago.

Human rights monitors regularlcriticize Bahrain, a country with 586,000 and only four times the size of Washington, D.C., for jailing dissidents without trial and mistreating prisoners.

The Bahraini government counters that its opponents are “foreign-backed militant extremists” responsible for thousands of arson and bombings. They note that nearby Iran has backed attempts to destabilize the government.

But some observers say Bahrain’s leaders exaggerate the outside threat becauit strikes a nerve with their American ally. A real terrorist army, they say, probably would firearms and cause more bloodshed.

“It’s a surprisingly patient movement,” said Graham Fuller, a researcher with the Rand Corporation and a former high-ranking official in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Fuller called the Bahraini opposition “a genuine push for democratization.”

The movement’s most frequent tools appear to be graffiti, the Internet, vandalism, and arsons – which have killed several. Activists enjoy jamming tires around household propane tanks and burning them until the tank top blows with a loud, but harmless, bang.

Perhaps the most prominent opposition group is the Bahrain Freedom Movement, with an Internet site featuring pictures of the movement’s martyrs.

The group shows no signs of anti-Americanism, despite the U.S. support for Bahrain’s rulers. It asks for an elected parliament, the release of political prisoners and implementation of the country’s constitution.

But many question if the opposition will keep its relatively restrained approach, given political climate on the steamy islands.

According to a 1997 U.S. Department report, up to 1,100 Bahrainis were in jail for opposing the government. Many are there just for speaking out. The report said they are sometimes beaten on their feet and heads, burned with cigarettes or subjected to electrical shock.

But Bahrain is perched in the volatile Persian Gulf, important for the United States’ watch over oil shipping. It consistently supports U.S. pressure on Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.

“Bahrain is a state that has been long a friend and partner of the United States in the important work of ensuring the security and stability of the Gulf region,” U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering said in Bahrain recently.

Said Nathan Brown, director of the George Washington University Middle East Studies Program: “Security concerns trump human rights concerns … even though the human rights record on Bahrain is worse than any other place on the Arabian Peninsula.”

The country has been run like a family business by the Al-Khalifa monarchy since the 1700s. Power is mostly held by Sunni Muslims who, according to the State Department, hold a “favored status” for jobs over the two-thirds of the population that are Shia Muslims.

The Al-Khalifas, who are Sunnis, live in palaces and drive luxury cars with the low-numbered license plates.

They get credit for making Bahrain modern before its neighbors. It has the world’s largest aluminium plant, good health and literacy rates around 80 percent.

But unemplois rising, even though a third of the population comprises foreign workers who have been brought in to do much of the manual labor and police work. The population has grown quickly and is restless.

The Al-Khalifa family dissolved the country’s parliament in 1975 and allows no political parties. The family appointed a council to serve in place of the parliament, similar to councils throughout a region not known for democracy.

The current unrest began in 1994 with a petition drive and street demonstrations calling for parliament. About 40 people have been killed in the dispute, with the two sides differing on who has lost the most. Some activists have died in prison, while some police and civilians have died in arson fires.

The country now runs under a “security law” under which people can be jailed up to three years without trials.

Sometimes, when their terms come up, they are re-arrested immediately.

Bahraini officials note they frequently release prisoners and that anyone who wants change can speak directly to the Amir, Sheikh Isa bin Sulman Al-Khalifa.

“But when you talk about some groups which commit crimes, by killinpeople or burning houses or destroying public utilities, such kind of people you don’t deal with through dialogue. You deal with them through the court,” Bahrain’s Minister of Information Mohamad Al-Mutawa said in a statement.

Bahraini officials count more than 7,300 arsons and 179 explosive or incendiary incidents “by a textbook example of a 20th-century insurgency campaign.”

Al-Mutawa said the country allows free speech, but the State Department report said the government restricts Internet access and satellite dish ownership. Sensitive to adverse publicity, it deported a reporter for a German company last year. Most Bahrainis will not let their name be used when talking about the government to foreign reporte.

The government says it acts with restraint, and observers agree things could be worse. Bahrain has not executed its opponents and frequently release them once they agree to cease their activity.

The Red Cross is often allowed to monitor prison conditions.

But that is little consolation to the wife of the most prominent opposition leader Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri, 59, is a religious leader and was a member of the parliament before it was abolished. He has been prison since 1996 without being charged or brought to trial.

“Sheikh Abdul Amir insists on using peaceful methods to restore the parliament,” said his wife, Zahra Yousif Atiya, known as Um Jameel.

Her son, Jameel, is also in prison and she wants the world to know what is going on in the tiny island state.

“America controls everything. It’s all in their hands. If they wanted Bahrain to restore parliament, they could do it in the first day, she said.

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