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(Beirut) – Bahrain should provide victims of torture with physical and psychological rehabilitation, Human Rights Watch and other human rights groups said today, based on a letter they sent to King Hamad.....
Bahrain accepted the BICI’s finding that its security forces tortured people in 2011, so it should face up to its treaty obligation to help the victims recover.These 13 prisoners should not be in jail in the first place, but that doesn’t mean Bahrain can ignore its obligation to help them recover from torture by its security forces.
Families of Bahraini political prisoners say their children and relatives are suffering from horrible torture and sexual abuse in Al Khalifa regime jails.
A Sunday report by the Bahraini al-Wasat newspaper expressed concern about health condition of several prisoners who have been gravely tortured in jails while they are denied access to any kind of treatment.
Some families said tortures and abuses occurred even at the interrogations in al-Howdh al-Jaf prison.
They said regime forces blindfolded the prisoners there and used electric shocks at their genitals; “They let go of them when they confess to prepared confessions against themselves,” the report quoted a relative of a prisoner.
The paper also quoted several people who spent some time in regime jails as saying that they were forced to stand fully naked for hours of interrogation which in some cases lasted for days.....
It has recently been reported that a number of detained children in Ward ‘6’ in the Dry Dock Prison – specified for the detained children aged between 15 and 18 years old – were subjected to beating by the police and guards, as well as abusing and cursing them, their cursing was not devoid of sectarian language.
Bahrain’s main opposition group, al-Wefaq, says Bahraini forces have arrested at least 82 people over the past month as the Al Khalifa regime steps up its crackdown on dissent.
In a report released on Wednesday, the Liberties and Civil Rights Unit of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society also said that women and children were among those arrested in November.
The regime forces also raided 125 houses during the mentioned period, it said, adding that several people were tortured by the forces.
“There has been a continued deterioration in the general human rights situation, focusing on arbitrary arrests, house raids and other violations that the country has experienced regularly for 3 years,” the report noted.
The Al Kahlifa regime is under fire for its brutal crackdown on rights activists and pro-democracy protesters....
Prominent opposition leaders, who were jailed in the crackdown which followed Bahrain’s uprising in 2011, are being denied medical treatment for their conditions. They are among a group of opposition activists who received harsh jail sentences as the Bahraini authorities sought to crush resistance to the repression.
Abduljalil Al-Singace (top right), a former professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bahrain, gained his PhD at the University of Manchester in the UK. He has been denied medical treatment for a perforated eardrum and other ailments and family visits because he refuses to wear the prison uniform. He is a leader of Al-Haq opposition movement. His case was recently taken up by the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), an international network of academics, which wrote in protest to the Bahraini authorities at his treatment.
Abdelwahab al-Husain (top left) co-founder of the Al-Wafa’ movement, an opposition political movement, was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2011. His daughter Aqeelah contacted MENA Solidarity Network last week:
“My father was severely tortured during his arrest in March 2011 and is now suffering from torture-related injuries that are yet to heal. He is also suffering from numerous medical conditions; my father was diagnosed with non-insulin dependent type II diabetes mellitus and as a consequence of both physical & psychological torture, and being in prison since March 2011, his blood sugar has not been under regular control.”
Abdelwahab is a carrier of sickle cell disease and suffers from chronic anaemia and is also suffering from neuropathic pain, Aqeelah added. Neither of these conditions are being treated properly in prison....
‘It would be a slap in the face for many Bahrainis if EU officials were to visit Bahrain and not publicly call for the release of prisoners of conscience’ - Nicolas Berger
Amnesty International has urged the EU to speak out about prisoners of conscience being held in Bahrain as it hold its annual EU-Gulf states meeting in Bahrain. ....
DUBAI — Hundreds of people from Bahrain's Shiite Muslim majority clashed with police on Friday as they demonstrated to demand the release of Shiite prisoners held by the kingdom's Sunni-dominated government, witnesses said.
Demonstrators, who included women, shouted "Free the prisoners!" and held up photos of people being held.....
The sentences given the 17 men have angered human rights lawyers in the Gulf island kingdom.
They point to the acquittal of police in the cases of deaths in detention of pro-democracy activists, and the relatively light sentences given recently to two officers who were convicted of manslaughter. In that case the officers received 10 year terms for the beating to death of Ali Saqer, a Shia activist.
Mr Saqer died in custody in April 2011. His body bore marks of severe torture when it was returned to his family....
The lack of condemnation or action from influential international players is glaring. Believe me, people here have noticed. Although human rights groups have pressed our case with the U.S. government, we’ve seen double standards from the Obama Administration, which has aggressively condemned crackdowns against peaceful protesters in other Middle Eastern countries. The United States has a military base here and often says publicly that Bahrain remains an important military ally.
Last week, on February 14, we marked the second anniversary of our uprising. The King of Bahrain recently kicked off another round of empty “dialogue” with us. We had one of those in July 2011, and it was just a sideshow. What’s needed is for the attacks by the police to stop, the political trials to end, and for those opposition leaders and activists convicted with me and more than 1,000 other political detainees to be released.
The senior members of the government who are responsible for ordering or condoning torture must be brought to justice – this is something the U.S. and other countries should be demanding clearly and loudly. It’s hard to imagine real political negotiations while the abuses continue.
Bahraini protesters have staged demonstrations to show solidarity with over a dozen prominent activists sentenced to jail terms earlier this week.
The rallies were held on Thursday in the towns of Bilad al-Qadim and Sitra despite the Bahraini regime’s continuous crackdown.
Bahraini forces tried to disperse the crowd by using tear gas and shot guns. Several people were reportedly injured in the violence.
On Monday, Bahrain’s top court handed 13 opposition figures jail terms ranging from five years to life in prison.
The activists, including prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and opposition leader Hassan Mushaima, were arrested on charges of involvement in anti-regime demonstrations in 2012.....
The United Nations and the European Union on Tuesday slammed a decision by Bahrain's highest appeals court to uphold lengthy prison terms against opposition activists.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon "deeply regrets" the decision and called on Bahrain to carry out promised reforms, his spokesman said. The European Union said the activists should receive amnesties.
"The secretary general deeply regrets the decision of Bahrain's Court of Cassation on January 7 to uphold the harsh sentences, including life imprisonment" against the activists, said Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky.
"He reiterates his firm belief that the only way to promote peace, stability, justice and prosperity in Bahrain is through a national dialogue which addresses the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis," the spokesman added.
"The secretary general also calls on the government of Bahrain to follow through on its recently reiterated commitment to judicial reform."
Bahrain's Court of Cassation on Monday upheld jail terms ordered by a lower court on 13 activists found guilty of plotting to overthrow the monarchy. It also upheld punishments against seven others who are on the run.Seven defendants are serving life terms, including Abdulhadi Khawaja, who last year staged a lengthy hunger strike against his imprisonment.
The activists took part in anti-government protests which have shaken the Gulf state since February 2011 and which the authorities say are being fuelled by Shiite Iran.
They were convicted by a military tribunal on charges that included "setting up terror groups" to topple the government.
Bahrain's actions have made its Western allies increasingly uncomfortable.
"The EU has repeatedly asked the Bahraini authorities to consider an amnesty for all those arrested last year and tried on charges relating to the expression of their political opinion," said a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Ashton's spokesman Michael Mann said the European Union "fully respects the independence of the Bahraini judiciary" but "remains concerned about the lack of advancement of national reconciliation."
"All sides should engage in a peaceful, inclusive and constructive dialogue, abstaining from all forms of violence and intimidation," he added.
Human Rights Watch deputy Middle East director Joe Stork said Bahrain's highest court "has proven its inability to protect the most basic rights guaranteed in Bahrain's constitution and the international treaties it has signed."
"The mind-boggling verdicts in these cases did not mention a single recognisable criminal offence, instead pointing to speeches the defendants made, meetings they attended, and their calls for peaceful street protests in February and March 2011," he said in a statement.
The head of a European Parliament human rights delegation is urging Bahrain to release political prisoners as a step toward easing an anti-government uprising in the strategic Gulf nation.
The visit comes less than a week after Bahrain's crown prince called for new efforts for talks between the Sunni leadership and the kingdom's majority Shiites, who seek a greater political voice.
Inese Vaidere of Latvia told reporters Thursday that authorities should free all "prisoners of conscience" as a crucial step toward negotiations in the 22-month uprising.
Vaidere said the European team met with jailed opposition leaders including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been sentenced to life in prison.
More than 55 people have died in Bahrain's near nonstop unrest since February 2011. Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.