Bahrain Freedom Movement

Mr Hassan Mushaime, the Secretary General of Haq Movement and Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, have said they would not attend their trial on Monday 21st May. The trial was ordered by the Al Khalifa ruling family in revenge for the comments by the two popular leaders criticising the ruler, Sheikh Hamad for his dictatorship, blundering people’s wealth and imposition of a strict tribal regime on the country. The statement said the trial as “Politically motivated”, and refused to cooperate with the attempts to intimidate the people by threats, arrests and show trials.

The charges levelled against the three activists include: attempting to change the political system of the country by force and with illegal means, spreading hatred the regime, spreading false news which may lead to social unrest, encouraging non-compliance with the laws and criticising the king openly. The total imprisonment sentence for these “offences” could reach 14 years. These charges have been made up in revenge for peaceful expression of opinion by those public figures. It is an attempt to curtail public freedoms and end any form of freedom of expression. It is a serious setback and an indication of the authoritarian rule of Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who is becoming one of most brutal dictators  in the Middle East.

Today, a peaceful demonstration in support of the two leaders was attached by the riot police using repressive tools. The demonstration was due to start from Nu’aim district of Manama when large numbers of foreign riot police attacked the Bahrainis from all directions, using tear gas and rubber bullets extensively. Some reports speak of some casualties among the demonstrators. Helicopters were seen hovering the area as the people sought to move their demonstration to another spot.

More protests and demonstrations are planned for the next few days, with the largest-ever demonstration on 21st May. The people are risking their lives as they take part in peaceful demonstrations and face an army of heavily-armed riot police and death squads. Sheikh Hamad stands accused of ordering the extra-judicial killings that have taken place in the past few years. He has refused to order any inquiry into the murder by the death squads of several Bahrainis.

More than forty religious scholars have signed a statement condemning the trial of the two leaders. The statement outlined a series of failures by the Al Khalifa in running the country and accused them of politicising the case of Mr Mushaime. They warned of serious repercussions if he is arrested or maltreated by the regime’s death squads. Among the signatories are: Sheikh Abdul Jalil Al Miqdad, Sayyed Kamil Al Hashimi, Sheikh Mohammad Ali Al Mahfoodh, Sheikh Mohammad Habib Al Miqdad and Sheikh Munir Al Ma’tooq.

Several people were arrested by the death squads of the Al Khalifa last night, following a public meeting to commemorate the martyrdom of Sheikh Ali Al Nachas, who was murdered while in jail in 1997. His killers have never been identified or charged. Among the detainees are: Sami Ahmad Meftah, 27, Mohammad Abdulla Ibrahim, 17 and Sayyed Mohammad Sayyed Saeed, 16. They are all from Tubli village. Nothing has been heard of them since their brutal arrest. There is a grave concern that they may be subjected to torture and ill-treatment by their abductors.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
18 May 2007

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