Human Rights and the Will to be free
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Bahrain, MENA & Arab Spring
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Farcical Bahraini (in)justice..... release murders, and imprison freedom fighters!

Farcical Bahraini (in)justice.....  release murders, and imprison freedom fighters! | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

A Bahraini appeals court acquitted two policemen and reduced a jail term for another accused of killing anti-regime protesters in 2011. However, it confirmed jail sentences to protesters charged with attacking police forces.

The two acquitted police officers faced charges of shooting dead an anti-regime protester in November 2011, AFP reported.

In a separate case the court cut a 7 year prison sentence of another officer to six months. The policeman was sentenced in January for beating to death a Shiite protester.

A number of policemen are on trial for allegedly torturing hundreds of detained Shiite protesters after crushing rallies against the Sunni-led government in March 2011.

In addition the court confirmed 5 year jail terms of 19 Shiite anti-regime protesters, which were charged each with attacking police forces.

This comes in the wake of clashes on Friday between police forces and thousands of Shiites in the village of Diraz, west of the capital Manama.

The protesters threw stones at hundreds of riot police who fired tear gas and water cannons, a witness said as cited by Reuters. The violence continued for about an hour before the police dispersed the crowd.

The protests were prompted by an unauthorized raid by security forces on a home of a top Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassim on May 17.

Following the incident the main Bahraini opposition group Al-Wefaq announced on Wednesday that it would withdraw from reconciliation talks with the government for two weeks.....

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US Double Standard on Bahrain | Interview with Brian Dooley

Published on Feb 21, 2013

Abby Martin interviews Brian Dooley, Director of Human Rights Defenders program at Human Rights First, about the ongoing political crisis in Bahrain and the lack of US government and media attention on the issue.

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Russia to Mediate in Bahrain Talks Aimed at Ending Unrest

Russia to Mediate in Bahrain Talks Aimed at Ending Unrest | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

Russia promised to mediate between Bahrain’s ruling Sunni Muslim royal family and the majority Shiite opposition in talks aimed at ending two years of unrest in the Gulf country neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Bahrain’s largest Shiite political group, Al-Wefaq, took part in a round of national dialogue with the authorities on Feb. 10 in the capital, Manama, two days after the group’s secretary-general, Ali Salman, held talks in Moscow with Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov. Also on Feb. 8, Bogdanov met Bahrain’s ambassador to Russia, Hashim Hasan Al Bash.

“Russia will continue to hold contacts with the kingdom’s leaders as well as representatives of opposition groups, in firm support of efforts to resolve internal problems through a national consensus in the interests of all Bahrainis,” the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said in an e-mailed statement today....

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Is Bahrain serious about reform?

Is Bahrain serious about reform? | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

....

What’s more, the government seems unwilling to recognize that its national dialogue will hardly lead to a just result so long as the leaders of the country’s opposition and human rights organizations are not at the negotiating table. Instead, they are languishing in prison following coerced confessions and patently unfair trials. “You can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail,” President Barack Obama said in 2011, addressing the situation.

By allowing us to visit the prison and meet and photograph these detainees, the government amply demonstrated that it appears to be detaining these men in humane conditions. It was both a relief and heartbreaking to see Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Abduljalil Al-Singace, and Nabeel Rajab, three human rights activists who have worked with Human Rights Watch for many years – it was they who urged us to stay steadfast in our commitment to peace and reform in Bahrain. But the fact is that they are in prison solely for calling for political change and demonstrating peacefully.

Several of these detainees, including religious clerics, leftist and religious party leaders, and scholars, had a much worse story to tell. They said they had endured gruesome torture, including electric shocks, beatings so brutal their clothes were soaked with blood, and sexual assault. “They made me repeat the chants I said at the demonstration, ‘Down with [King] Hamad,’ and each time I did they struck me so hard I would fall to the floor,” one said. “Then they would lift me up and do it again.”

It was very difficult to tell the detainees that, in fact, there is virtually no international body that can compel the government to release them. It now depends on the king to realize that their ongoing imprisonment will keep the country imprisoned in conflict as well.

 
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Talks to end Bahrain crisis begin amid mistrust

Talks to end Bahrain crisis begin amid mistrust | Human Rights and the Will to be free | Scoop.it

...But mistrust runs so deep on all sides that even the prelude to the negotiations has been a study in the kingdom's divisions and suspicions, and suggests a difficult route toward any possible accords.

The country's Sunni rulers — supported by the West and other Gulf allies — seek to bring the main Shiite factions back into the political fold in hopes of starting a gradual reconciliation on the strategic island, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.

Envoys from the Shiite groups, however, remain wary of opening a process that they believe has no chance of reaching their goals: forcing the ruling monarchy to give up its monopoly on power and allow an elected government that would certainly include the majority Shiites.

Meanwhile, hard-line Shiite protesters demand nothing short of toppling the two-century-old dynasty. Such a showdown would likely prompt another round of military action from neighbors such Saudi Arabia, which sent in troops to aid Bahrain's Sunni leaders after the uprising began in February 2011. ...

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