Sayed Hashim Saeed was 15 years, nine months and six days old the day he died. Two years on, his father remembers every detail. It was New Year’s Eve 2011, and the family was visiting Sayed Hashim’s grandparents in a suburb of Bahrain’s Hamad City. At 5pm, the high-school freshman slipped out of the house and joined a nearby pro-democracy protest.
“There was a sit-in in the street. They just sat in front of the houses, it was peaceful,” said his father, Sayed Saeed. “Then the security forces came in with vans. Of course, Sayed Hashim ran away. So they chased him.”
Armed officers in dark uniforms and white helmets pursued him down the narrow alleys. When they got a clear shot, they fired a teargas canister directly at his upper body. It hit him in the neck and knocked him to the floor. As he lay there, they fired another round, which caught in his clothes and caused a huge burn across his chest.
“The other guys tried to save him, but the police fired more rounds, so the gas became thick around him. The gas had overcome him. He couldn’t get up,” said his father. By the time he made it to hospital, Sayed Hashim was dead.
He was one of at least 39 Bahrainis killed by teargas canisters since the start of an Arab Spring-inspired uprising in the tiny Gulf kingdom, an island with the population of San Diego. ...