14-year-old Ali Jawad Ahmad was killed during a peaceful demonstration in Bahrain on August 31 when security forces used excessive force and threw a tear gas canister at his head, according to his family and activists. ...
Yet activists blame security forces and are mourning Ahmad’s death by staging large-scale protests across the country.
More than thirty-two people have been killed and thousands detained since demonstrations began in February. Crackdowns have targeted anti-government activists, particularly Shiites who make up 70 percent of the population and have faced discrimination from the Sunni monarchy. Many protesters have been threatened, lost their jobs or homes, or been prevented from continuing their studies. The UN Human Rights Council added Bahrain to a list of countries to further scrutinize for human rights violations, since the government has taken extreme measures to silence both critics and journalists attempting to provide information to the outside world. An Independent Commission of Inquiry was established to investigate human rights abuses, and will release its findings in October 2011.
Freedom House is horrified at Ahmad’s death, and calls for a full investigation into the circumstances behind it. The Bahraini government must end its efforts to persecute those who have demonstrated for political reform.