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January 1997: PM stays out, the Crown Prince forms a “National Guard” and attacks mosques

1 January 1997, about twenty tyres were burnt around Duraz and the main Budaya Highway was blocked during the clashes. The foreign forces had deployed rubber bullets and tear gas against the citizens of the country. In Sitra, at around 4.00 pm a large column of fire was seen following similar skirmishes. At the evening in Sanabis, the youths clashed with the foreign forces and responded to the rubber bullets and tear gas with stone-throwing which blocked the main streets. In Daih, at 7.30 pm, the youths burnt dozens of tyres during the clashes. In Kawarah, a similar action was reported. In Nuaim (a district of the capital), the youth set fire to tyres and rubbish containers during the confrontation with the mercenary forces. “Commandos jeeps” were deployed around the capital in nervous show of forces.

2 January: Protests re-surfaced and most residents joined in the demonstrations. A group of security officers clashed with the residents and then withdrew after setting fires and causing damage to properties. Reuters and local papers reported (2 January) that an Asian man was killed and two were injured in the Tobli area, eight km (five miles) south of the capital Manama, on Tuesday (1 January) evening. The victim, Abdul-Hameed Mohy Eldin, was found dead in a building in the area where clashes were reported.

On 2 January, afternoon, a women demonstration marched in Duraz and reached the main highway. The foreign forces regrouped themselves and attacked the women using rubber bullets and tear gas. Graffiti (wall-writings) war intensified between the citizens and the foreign forces, with the latter depicting their insults against the nation.

3 January: Thousands of people gathered for the Friday prayer in the grand mosque of Ras-Romman (Manama) that was attacked by the foreign security forces last week during the prayers. The mass gathering chanted slogans calling for the restoration of the dissolved parliament, the release of Sheikh Al-Jamri and an end to attacks on the mosques in Bahrain. Seyyed Jawad Al-Weda’i delivered a speech stating “We are demanding the release of Sheikh Al-Jamri . He continued to sacrifice for us. We will continue to work for his release. We reject and oppose any attempt to impose restrictions on our prayers or religious affairs”.

4 January: The leading Bahraini personality and member of the dissolved parliament, Sheikh Isa Qassim, issued a statement warning the government of the grave consequences if they continue to insist on their policy of attacking the mosques and assembly halls. “It is not appropriate for the Bahraini government to adopt a role similar to the one that was followed by the ex-communist regimes in the world. The Bahraini people will not accept the policy of confiscating, closing or marginalizing the mosques in the land of Muslims”.

5 January: The French news agency (AFP) reported that the “Bahrain authorities have arrested more than 100 people after a fire at a bakery killed one person and injured two others during anti-government unrest last week, Bahrain residents said on Sunday. Police made most of the arrests in the village of Tobli, outside the capital Manama, where the fire occurred, and also ransacked several homes, said the residents..”. At around 1.00 pm, fire fighters were seen extinguishing a column of fire near the Finance Ministry in the Diplomatic Area of the capital, Manama.

6 January: It has transpired that a coward security court presided by a member of the Al-Khalifa family has sentenced four citizens from Ras-Romman to long terms of imprisonment about a week ago. Three of the four are known to have received 10 years jails sentence. They were Nader Habib, 26, Taher Mobarak, 29 and Shafiq Ahmad Salman, 29.

7 January: Following the announcement last month by the crown prince, the Amir issued a decree on 7 January establishing the “National Guard”. The decree was outlined as follows: “Article 1 of the decree stipulates the establishment of an independent regular military armed force, which shall be called the National Guard. Article 2 stipulates that the Amir is the supreme commander of the National Guard. Article 3 stipulates that the National Guard shall be considered a military backup for the Bahrain Defence Force and a security shield for the Public Security Forces to protect the homeland and safeguard its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”. Another decree was issued shortly afterwards naming one of the Amir’s son (Mohammed bin Isa) as its commander with the rank of a minister.

A young Bahraini who arrived from Abo Dhabi (where he works) only to disappear upon his arrival back home. Ai Hussain Mohammed Ali Draboh, 22, was arrested while his family was waiting for him in the arrival hall.

8 January: A bus loaded with youths arrived in Kawara from the prisons of Al-Khalifa, all of whom spoke of their ordeal at the hands of people who have no link to Bahrain other than receiving salaries paid by the ruling family in return for the torture and oppression they continue to commit against the citizens. The people renewed their protest activities in the principal uprising areas defying the threats of the ruling family that has formed new forces for suppression. The main road between Sanabis and Jidhafs was the scene of scores of fires in the afternoon around 3:00 pm.

Fires were seen from far distances in Daih, Salhia, Duraz and A’ali. In Bani Jamra, the security forces attacked several mosques and started beating attendants. In one of the mosques, the eldest person was picked-up, beaten in front of others an taken as a hostage. The arrested person is in his late forties and is well-known social figure, Mr. Hassan Habib Hassan. In the night, many areas witnessed more protests. In Karbabad, the residents defied the attacking foreign forces and set tyres ablaze on the main highway.

10 January: Ap reported “Hundreds of Shiite Muslims clashed outside a central Manama mosque Friday – the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan – and witnesses said riot police fired tear gas at worshipers after noon prayers. “We didn’t know what was going on. As we walked out (of the mosque), riot police started firing tear gas at us,” Abdullah Mohammed, 50, said wiping his eyes. The surrounding area was littered with tear gas canisters and broken rocks and bottles that had apparently been thrown in the melee. Police blocked streets leading to the mosque after the incident. Police rounded up men and loaded them into at least 10 jeeps. One man had bruises on his face, and a riot policeman was seen kicking and slapping another man.

Dr. Ahmad Al-Mahmood, a lecturer at Bahrain University, in a speech delivered in a mosque in Hidd last Friday (10 January) condemned the deployment of the army under the name of the National Guard and stated that the money spent on this scheme is a waste of national resources and would worsen the crisis rather than solve it.

14 January: Twelve youths from Kawarah and Tobli were dragged by the foreign security forces to the scene where an Asian guest worker had died in a bakery in Tobli area. The exhausted youths had signs of torture evident all over their appearances. These youths were arrested during mass demonstrations in the area early in the month. The residents of Tobli and Kawarah believe that the security forces had caused the death of the guest worker and used it as a pretext for arresting hundreds of youths. The ten victims were brought for video-tapping near the burnt bakery.

Sheikh Abdul Mohsin Atteya of Bani Jamra was released on 14 January after one year in detention without charges. Sheikh Abdul Mohsin was amongst the many thousands of people detained arbitrarily last January when the ruling family betrayed a deal struck with opposition leaders to calm down the situation in return for initiating a process of political dialogue.

14 January, the Amir issued a decree reorganizing the education ministry which is run by a military officer since June 1995. This is part of the policy of the ruling family to further militarize the country and transform Bahrain into a country led by military and security officers.

A respected elderly man was released after spending one year in detention. Haji Abdulla Fakhro explained how he and other detainees were badly treated by the foreign jailers recruited by the ruling family to oppress the citizens. Before his release, Haji Abdulla met with ICRC for 45 minutes and explained to them the miserable situation of the political prisoners in Bahrain.

15 January: many places witnessed protest activities and jeeps of foreign forces were deployed heavily along the Budaya Highway. In Bori, the foreign forces stormed the houses and arbitrarily arrested twenty youths. This day marks the second anniversary of the exiling of three pro-democracy campaigners.

17 January: The ruling Al-Khalifa family ordered the siege of the grand mosque of Rass-Romman. During the week, Seyyed Jawad Al-Weda’i had received the usual messages from the interior ministry not to hold the prayers. The senior cleric replied that he would pray in the open if the mosque was to be closed. On Thursday night (16 January), large number of foreign forces were seen inspecting all roads and avenues leading to the grand mosque in Rass-Romman. Hence, on Friday 17 January, the entire area of Rass-Romman was blocked preventing any person not resident in the area from approaching the grand mosque. Seyyed Jawad led the Friday prayers with 200-300 people, mainly the residents of Rass-Romman.

18 January: Members of the Al-Khalifa family were back in action passing arbitrary sentences against the citizens of Bahrain. There were two trial one involving four citizens and another one involved eight citizens. The four citizens from Nuweidrat were Abdulla Yousuf Al-Sameekh, Hussain Mohammed Hussain Nasser, Adel Hussain Ali Hussain and an underage young person by the name Khalil Ibrahim Habib. The first two were arbitrarily sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, the third one received ten years, while the child was transferred to another member of the ruling family who specializes in sentencing the children of Bahrain. The child is in the hands of the torturers awaiting an arbitrary sentence.

The eight other victims were: Hani Abdulla Khalaf (10 years jail), Hussain Ali Ibrahim Hussain (10 years jail), Abbas Abdulla Khalaf (5 years jail), Abdulla Isa Abdulla Ahmad Kadem (5 years jail), Abdulla Ali Abdulla Ali (3 years), Seyed Hani Jabir Alawi (3 years), Seyyed Haider Isa ali (3 years), and Seyyed Dhia Faisal Helal Abdulla (3 years). The defendants, who were together fined 37,100 dinars ($100,000), were also wrongly accused for an attack on a house in the village of Karana, six km (four miles) west of Manama. Reuters reported that the court, whose verdicts cannot be appealed, has jailed more than 180 people since the government, seeking to speed up judgments, last March ordered it to try hundreds of detainees.

The foreign security forces announced that they have selected four people from Tobli and accused them of causing the death of an Asian on 31 December. The four are Mahmood Ali Salman Ahmad Nasif, Hussain Ali Mirza Yousuf, Ali Mosa Hasan Al-Oreibi and Taher Abbas Hassan Mahfood. The residents believe that the security forces had committed the murder of innocent guest worker.

20 January: Sounds of gas-cylinders explosions and tyres were set ablaze near Duraz and Bani Jamra. Some 200 people were arbitrarily arrested in Sitra.

The military man installed as president of the University of Bahrain summoned one of the lecturers, Dr. Zahra Isa Al-Zeera, last week and ordered her to submit her resignation. He accused the female lecturer of expressing views in front of the students that harm the state security. Dr. Al-Zeera (PhD in Education from the US and a Masters from the UK) refused to sign the papers, but the military man gave her the choice of forcible resignation or transfer of the case to the intelligence department.

21 January: People gathered in assembly halls and mosques in large numbers and called for the release of Sheikh Al-Jamri and his colleagues who are held hostages by the foreign security forces. In Arad, the residents went out in a mass demonstration after 9.00 pm and clashed with security forces that launched an attack around 10.00 pm (local time).

22 January: The crown prince and Mohammed received the chief of staff of the UAE armed forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nayhan. Since the announcement of the National Guard, the two sides have exchanged several visits. It seems the moody crown prince has dropped plans to call in the Jordanians (as he had threatened last year) and opted for an alliance with Mohammed bin Zayad. Qatar had accused this alliance of attempting to topple the Qatari government last year. The proime minister left the country in early December following his failure to check the spread of Hamad power.

23 January: The foreign forces attacked a gathering in Nua’im Cemetery where people congregated around the grave of Saeed Al-Eskafi, 16, who was tortured to death by Henderson’s men in 1995.

24 January: The foreign security forces besieged Ras-Romman again and prevented people from entering the area. The senior scholar, Seyyed Jawad Al-Wedai led the Friday payers with few people from Ras-Romman itself. In other areas of Manama, the foreign forces surrounded the gates of the main mosques of Khawaja, Momin and Qafool. Three jeeps full of riot police were positioned near Momin mosque’s gates, one near the north gate and two near the south one. Members of intelligence department (mukhabarat) established check points for interrogating people on the spot.The sounds of exploding gas cylinders were heard in Sanabis area, the scene of protests and clashes with the foreign forces.

25 January: Security helicopters flew over Sar area on 25 January around 20:30 local time following the occurrence of a loud explosion. Columns of fire were also seen along the residential areas stretching from Sar to Duraz and Bani Jamra. In the past few days gas cylinder explosions were reported in several places following attacks by the foreign security forces on mosques and residential areas.

Mr. Hassan Ali Yousif, 40, from Dair, was arrested in a dawn raid on his house on 25 January. Hassan works with the ministry of information (monitoring section) and had authored a book on poetry entitled (Isharat) containing implicit comments about the situation in Bahrain. The book -in two parts- has been in circulation for some time, but it took the intelligence department a long time to understand the writings. During the one-day arrest, the security officers ordered him to withdraw the book from the market or face further harassment. Mr. Yousif was reportedly ordered to resign his position in the ministry of information.

Two women are reported to have been arrested in Muharraq: Sakina Salman, 24, a student in Bahrain University and Om Afnan (the wife of a person by the name Ayyob). No reason is known for their arrest. Two brothers from Arad were also arrested: Maitham Ali Abbas, 22, and Mofid Ali Abbas, 17.

One of the latest victims of the Al-Khalifa is Jaffer Yousif Ahmed (from Ras-Romman) who was sentenced in 1980 for fifteen years. The victim was not released in 1995 when he completed his term, but recently his family was informed that he had been transferred to hospital suffering from a sickness affecting his brain.

29, 30, 31 January: The security forces created difficulties to prevent people from reaching the grand mosque in Ras-Romman on 31 January. Worshippers headed towards Momin Mosque and performed their prayers. The worshippers denounced the foreign forces and raised the pro-constitution demands. They called for the immediate release of the jailed leaders headed by Sheikh Al-Jamri. On 29 and 30 January, the foreign forces together with the known torturers Flaifel and Mogbil (a Yemeni), were seen stripping down the large posters hung on the walls of Manama with photographs of the jailed leaders and martyrs. On 29 January at 3.30 am (at dawn), the foreign forces stormed Matam Salloom (religious assembly hall) and searched all the carpets, kitchen, cupboards and contents while pointing their guns as if they had been in a military operation. They arrested many people in the morning amongst them were Jawad Al-Halwachi and Jaffer Bu-Hamad. Simialray, in Nuaim (Manama), the foreign forces pointed their machine guns to the chests of the citizens in a coward show of force. Thousands of people attended the mass processions carrying pro-democracy posters with demands for restoring the parliament. The foreign forces stormed houses in Bilad al-Qadim and arrested many people

Religious processions marched through the streets of Manama and other parts of the country challenging the orders distributed by Ibrahim Al-Khalifa (the Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry). The citizens raised the pro-constitution demands and called for the release of the jailed leaders and political prisoners. They also vowed to continue their civil resistance until the achievement of political rights.

A respected elderly man was released after spending one year in detention. Haji Abdulla Fakhro explained how he and other detainees were badly treated by the foreign jailers recruited by the ruling family to oppress the citizens. Before his release, Haji Abdulla met with ICRC for 45 minutes and explained to them the miserable situation of the political prisoners in Bahrain.


The Centre for the In dependence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL)

Geneva, 29 January 1997



The Centre for the In dependence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL) intervened today with His Highness Sheikh Issa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, expressing its deep concern over the continued detention of Judge Abdul Amir Al-Jamri.

Judge Abdul Amir Al-Jamri, a former member of the dissolved National Assembly and a judge of the Bahrain courts, was suspended from duty in July 1988. He was then arrested on 1 April 1995 and [subsequently released on 25 September]. [Again re-arrested] on 21 January 1996 and remains in detention without charge or trial to this date. His detention seems to be related to the fact that he supported pro-democracy petitions calls mainly for the restoration of the National Assembly and all constitutional provisions relation to parliamentary life.

The CIJL considers that the arrest and detention of Judge Al-Jamri contravene Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the to freedom of opinion and expression as well as Article 9, which prohibits the arbitrary arrest or detention of a person. They also violate Article 10, which provides for the right of each person to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations.

The CIJL believes that no person shall be deprived of his freedom without being charged with a criminal offense. Judge Abdul Amir Al-Jamri has been detained without ever being charged of any crime and he has never had the opportunity to defend himself in a fair and public trial. Since his detention, he was kept in solitary confinement without access to his family until September 1996, and to date he has been denied access to a lawyer.

The CIJL urges you to join its intervention, requesting that Judge Abdul Amir Al-Jamri be released or at least tried by a court which provides the essential guarantees of fairness, independence and impartiality.

Pleas write to: His Highness Sheikh Issa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa Office of His Highness The Amir P.O.Box 555 The Amiri Court Rifa’a Palace



30 January 1997 Early Day Motion

Fear of Torture in Bahrain

This House notes with concern the urgent action called by Amnesty International About the eight leaders and religious figures arrested by the authorities in Bahrain on 22nd January 1996 who have now spent more than one year in incarceration without trial and who are being held and believed tortured under the notorious State Security Law passed in 1974. The House notes that the Government of Bahrain gave Assurances to the UN Commission on Human Rights in February 1992 that “there would be not further detentions under the 1974 State Security Act” and that that assurance was relied upon by the British Government in correspondence in August of that year.

The House notes mounting international concern about the imprisonment without trial of those agitating for a return to constitutional government in Bahrain and the role played by the head of State Security, the British mercenary Ian Henderson in the torture and murder of demonstrators and detainees and calls upon Her Majesty’s Government urgently to intercede with the Government of Bahrain with a view to ending the excesses of the State Security forces, the use of the State Security Law which allows prisoners to be held for up to three years without charge and the State Security Court within which dozens of prisoners have been sentenced with everything from imprisonment for three years up to life imprisonment and in some cases sentenced to death.

George Galloway MP Irene Adams MP John McAllion MP Willie McKelvey MP Jimmy Hood MP Bob Latherland MP Jimmy Wray MP Tommy Graham MP


BAR HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE 4 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn London WC2A 3RJ Tel:0171 404 3800 Fax:0171 404 3900

Chairman: Nicholas Stewart QC

20 January 1997 Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa His Excellency The Ambassador of the State of Bahrain Embassy of the State of Bahrain 98 Glouster Road

London SW7 4AU

Your Excellency,

We are writing to express our extreme concern at the continued detention of Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri.

We understand that on 21 January 1997 Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri will have been detained, without charge, by the State of Bahrain for exactly one year.

We further understand that up to September 1996 he was kept in solitary confinement. During that period he was transferred to hospital on three separate occasions. His family has had access to visit Sheikh Al-Jamri only twice since his detention began. As stated in our previous correspondence, the Bar Human Rights Committee is committed to ensuring that the rule of law is upheld and that lawyers and judges are protected form human abuses.

The continued detention of Sheikh Al-Jamri is clearly contrary to the rule of law and to internationally recognised standards of justice.


Fear or torture / Medical concern

BAHRAIN: Shaikh ‘Abd Al-Amir Mansoor Al-Jamri Shaikh Hassan Sultan Shaikh Ali Ashour Shaikh Ali bin Ahmed Al-Jeddhafsi Shaikh Hussein Al-Deihi Hassan Meshema’a Sayyed Ibrahim Adnan Al-Alawi Abdul Wahab Hussein

and many others

The eight prominent Muslim Shi’a leaders and religious figures named above, arrested on 22 January 1996, are among hundreds reported to have been arrested and held in incommunicado detention following recent protests in Bahrain. Amnesty International fears that all those so detained are at risk of torture.

Security forces launched mass arrests in January 1996 after they clashed with protestors demonstration against the security forces’ closure of a number of mosques where prominent Shi’a clerics had been calling on the government to restore democratic rights. The renewed demonstrations had begun in October 1995 in protest against the continued detention of about 500 people in connection with earlier unrest, between December 1994 and April 1995, in which protestors demanded the restoration of democratic rights.

The government has put the number of people detained since the recent unrest at 186 and said it will try the eight leaders named above for instigating violence and sabotage. Opposition sources and lawyers say about 2,000 people are currently detained, most of them with no access to families or lawyers.

Shaikh Al-Jamri is a prominent Shi’a Muslim and religious scholar from the village of Bani Jamra, and a member of the former National Assembly which was dissolved in 1975. Shaikh Al-Jamri, Hassan Meshema’a and Abdul Wahab Hussein embarked on a hunger-strike and were reportedly moved to the Military Hospital at the end to January 1996. Their present medical situation and whereabouts are no known. The eight leaders were detained in the 1994-1995 unrest, and held without charge or trial until their release in September 1995.

Reports that some detainees held during the 1994-1995 unrest were tortured to extract information has heightened Amnesty International’s fears for those currently detained.


US State Department report on human rights in Bahrain

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (COMPASS) – The Bahraini government’s human rights abuses increased in 1996, as unrest in the country grew and a tough new security law was enacted, the State Department said in its annual human rights report.

According to the report, made available Thursday, efforts by security forces to contain disturbances resulted in five deaths, most of them as a result of police firing on crowds of anti-government demonstrators but in one case as a result of beating by police.

The report quoted “credible reports” as saying prisoners are often beaten and tortured in Bahrain. “Prison conditions are reportedly deteriorating,” it added and “there are credible reports that, because of overcrowding, the Government is now experiencing difficulties in providing prisoners with adequate sanitation, sleeping areas, food, water, and health care.”

It said the security forces had regularly used the State Security Act, which was strengthened in March 1996, “to detain persons believed by the Government to be engaging in anti-regime activities, as well as those attempting to exercise their right of free speech, association, or other rights deemed to be in opposition to the Government.”

Those detained for security-related offenses were often held incommunicado for long periods, it said, citing the example of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Abdul Amir Al-Jamri, who has been detained without trial since last January for security [crimes], along with several of his associates. The report noted that the number of women detained for questioning or arrested for anti-government activities increased in 1996, but added that they were generally not held for long periods. It said there was “credible evidence that persons accused of anti-government crimes and tried in the criminal courts were denied fair trials,” and that “procedures in the security courts do not provide for even the most basic safeguards” of detainees’ rights.

“Bahrainis are not, in practice, free to express public opposition to the Government in speech or writing,” the report said; “however, local press coverage and commentary on international issues is open, and discussion of local economic and commercial issues is also relatively unrestricted.” Freedom of association is severely restricted, with all political demonstrations prohibited and religious gatherings strictly controlled.

“On a regular basis from January through July, the security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets, and, occasionally, live ammunition to disperse gatherings during which protesters called for the reestablishment of an elected parliament and the release of prisoners; objected to Al Khalifa rule; denounced police brutality; protested foreigners in the security forces and in the labor force; and demanded increased employment opportunities,” it said.

“After each of these incidents, suspected leaders and active participants were arrested.” It said at the beginning of last year mosques and Shiite community centers were closed to prevent clerics from making political speeches.

It added that the country’s Shiite majority were subjected to discrimination by the Sunni rulers, and that the Persian-origin “bidoons” are stateless, even if they are second- or third-generation residents, and “enjoy less than full citizenship.”

The report mentions the bombings and arson attacks which took place in Bahrain last year, but not assign blame for them to any group in the country.

31 January 1997: Mohammed Al-Mutawwa, the minisrter of cabinet affairs and ind information concluded a five-day visit to France. He held a series of meetings with French officials, led by the talks with the advisor to the French president and the president of the Arab World Institute, with whom he discussed the holding of a major exhibition in Paris ion the outset of 1999 entitled “Bahrain Dilmun”.

Other sources revealed that Al-Motawwa held the talks with specific aim: To complain against the AFP coverage of Bahrain.

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