Little Sajida Faisal had only just come into this world. But five days after her birth, she was dead, killed by suffocation from tear gas. She died on 11 December, a Sunday, in 2011 in her family home in the Bahraini village of Belad al-Qadeem.
Her father later told how Bahraini riot police had been firing tear gas into the streets for several days without stop. The whole village was under a toxic cloud of chemical gas, and with military checkpoints everywhere, the residents of Belad al-Qadeem were effectively held hostage, forced to breathe in the deadly fumes.
The family tried their best to shield the baby from the smoke seeping into the home. Her mother dabbed Sajida’s face with water and that of her older sister, three-year-old Sarah. But it was no good. Sajida’s father said the newborn baby’s skin began to turn blue and then she died. He managed to get past the checkpoints hemming in the village to rush the infant to the hospital. But it was too late. The doctor confirmed that the baby girl had died from suffocation. Even if she had survived, the doctor said the lack of oxygen would probably have left her brain-damaged.
Ever since that day, Sajida’s family has been living with the pain of her horrible death. That pain is compounded because the Bahraini regime wrote in the official death certificate that the cause was bacterial meningitis.” Of course, the regime is lying. To say “suffocation from tear gas fired by Bahraini police” would be admission of the crimes against humanity that the civilians of Bahrain have been subjected to, ever since they began protesting for the democratic overthrow of the Al Khalifa monarchy in mid-February 2011.
According to records kept by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, over the past two years at least half of the total deaths caused by the Bahraini regime security forces have resulted from tear gas suffocation. The very young, elderly and infirmed are most at risk....