SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –The UN's envoy on torture voiced his "deep disappointment" Wednesday after Bahrain, rocked by renewed clashes between security forces and pro-democracy activists, postponed his planned visit.
"This is the second time that my visit has been postponed, at very short notice," United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez said in a statement.
"It is effectively a cancellation as no alternative dates were proposed nor is there a future road map to discuss," he said. "This postponement could be perceived as if there is something to hide."
Mendez said he had received on April 22 a letter from the Gulf kingdom informing him that the ongoing national dialogue was taking longer than expected and that his visit could impact negatively on the proceedings.
"Due to the sensitivity of my mandate there will never be a perfect time for my visit," the envoy said.
Sunni-ruled Bahrain was rocked by month-long pro-democracy protests led by the kingdom's Shia majority in early 2011 that were crushed with the help of Saudi-led troops.
The ensuing dialogue failed and was only resumed in February.
Several reports accusing Bahrain of failing to hold senior officials responsible for the 2011 violence were released in recent weeks.
Bahrain's decision comes after a spike in anti-government protests and reports of torture of those held in prisons. However, huge security deployments prevented any disruption to the April 21 Formula One Grand Prix. -www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - An independent United Nations expert today urged the Government of Bahrain to honour its international commitments and allow him in to assess whether torture and ill-treatment are taking place in the country, after repeated postponements of planned visits.
“This is the second time that my visit has been postponed, at very short notice. It is effectively a cancellation as no alternative dates were proposed nor is there a future road map to discuss,” UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez stressed in a news release.
Mr. Méndez added that he is “deeply disappointed” with the decision to cancel the 8 to 15 May trip which was organized “in the spirit of cooperation” and expressed his compassion with the people of Bahrain who had expected the visit.
The Government’s decision comes after yet another week of continued clashes between demonstrators and security forces and the release of several reports criticizing what they call Bahrain’s failure to hold senior officials accountable for torture since 2011.
In a letter handed to the Special Rapporteur on 22 April, during a meeting in Washington DC, the Government said that the ongoing National Dialogue has unexpectedly taken much longer than envisaged and that a visit could be immensely damaging to the chances of the Dialogue’s success.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued to the media, the Government claimed that Mr. Méndez “put off” the visit.
In response, Mr. Méndez said that the decision to postpone the visit was solely that of the Government, “this was a unilateral decision by the authorities. Unfortunately, it is not the first time the Government has tried to avoid responsibility for the postponement of my visit, which was originally supposed to take place over a year ago.”
He added that that an independent assessment of whether torture and ill-treatment indeed continues despite reforms, and whether obligations towards the rehabilitation of victims have been met “could have contributed to the National Dialogue and strengthened a culture of human rights.”
Mr. Méndez urged the authorities to honour their commitments made to the UN Universal Periodic Review process in September 2012, among which was the acceptance of a recommendation to welcome a visit by the mandated expert on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
“I will continue to engage with the Government by considering violations submitted to my mandate and by closely monitoring the situation of torture and ill-treatment, including the right of rehabilitation for victims in Bahrain,” he stressed.
Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.
source : UN NEWS CENTRE
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - The Liberties and Human Rights Department (LHRD) in al-Wefaq National Islamic Society issued a report highlighting the wide violations Bahrain military and security authorities committed in concurrence with the Formula 1 race from 13th to 22nd April, 2013.The report clarified that the violations took place one week before the Formula 1 race started in concurrence with the race's preparations and continued for 10 days.
The report mentioned that 132 arrests (105 males, 2 females and 24 children) have taken place. While 69 houses were arrested and 27 citizens were injured and 33 cases of torture by the regime forces were reported.
The report also stated that more than 27 areas were subjected to collective punishment by the use of toxic gasses and the forces' provocative presence in residential areas. In addition to security pursuits in alleys.
First: Arrest cases
132 citizens have been arrested (105 males, 2 females and 24 children), while 40 detainees were released during the same period. The LHRD noticed that the number of arrests increased during the Formula 1 race period between 19thand 21st of the current month. It said 43 were arrested on Friday 19th and 45 were arrested on Sunday 21st from different areas.
The report confirmed that all arrest cases took place without legal arrest warrants or inspection orders in private house raids. A bug number of the detainees were made to stand before the Public Prosecution which then issued orders to keep them in detention for more than one month while most were not given a chance to call lawyers. The detainees told their family members that they were subjected to mistreatment and harassment; some said they were subjected to torture.
Second: Torture and injury cases
Citizens were subjected to the regime forces attacks which left 27 with injuries by the use of fire arms (birdshot guns) and by weaponizing teargas canisters to injure the protesters. The reported injuries varied from moderate to serious, some were to the face and head.
A number of citizens were subjected to torture, 33 cases were documented, as the forces tend to brutally assault protesters during arrest. The forces beat the protesters with batons and guns to retaliate, according to detainees.
Third: House raids and collective punishment
The regime forces raided 69 private houses and buildings in different areas over ten days (between 13th- 22nd April 2013) claiming to be searching for "suspects". In most of the cases, the LHRD documented vandalism and robbery of private property and belongings as well as breaking doors. In some cases, inhabitants were beaten, pepper-sprayed and insulted. One case of firing live ammunition on three houses by unknown persons was documented in the village of Aali. The firing resulted in material damage in the houses.
More than 27 cases of collective punishment were documented. Residential areas were rained with teargas and a state of insecurity was imposed in those areas.
Fourth: Attachments; video footages
1. The regime forces point bisrdshot guns from house rooftops
2. Intensive firing on houses at night
3. Rescuing a family which's house was targeted with toxic teargas
4. Brutal arrest of youth
5. Children beated for no reason
6. Regime forces arrest a child
source : Alwefaq
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Akhbar Al-Khaleej the issue 12,806 Monday 15th Arpil, 2013 (a spokesman of an Islamic entity has clarified that the crime of exploding a car in this area 2 in which the incident occurred last night, in particular, was a quick response to the sermon of Shaikh Isa Qassim in which he threatened the state, citizens and all residents of a new phase of security uprising.)
Akhbar Al-Khaleej, issue No: 12,807,Tuesday 16th April, 2013: (Al-Asala stressed that the explosion occurred right after the sermon of the Iranian supreme leader's representative in Bahrain , Shaikh Isa Qassim on Friday when he threatened of getting Bahrain into a general security eruption , if the state does not answer his demands, whereas he continued his bad portrayal of our country and he continued to incite hatred as well.)
While the real sermon included the following text: the text is imprinted, hand written, audio, and visual to many, published inside and outside the country, I can't claim what is not in it, anyone can refer to the text.
Such narration cannot be falsified, in the week of its issuance and it is so outrageous, so daring and a horrible way of lying, the text is as it is in all forms : (until now Bahrain has not entered the general security eruption despite the length of its security crisis, this is a another heavenly bless that should be thanked by all parties who should work hard to avoid the homeland such a horrible destiny and wide chaos
After a while , in the same sermon, comes the following: (we, the people of Bahrain, should be responsible to avoid the country such security explosion, we should work hard to save the homeland from its current security crisis..
Both topics of the sermon suggest that the country has not entered the security explosion and all parties should thank God for such blessings, all parties should work hard to avoid the homeland the horrible destiny and chaos which represented in the security explosion, however, it is everyone's duty to avoid the homeland from any danger, and it is our duty to work hard to save the homeland from its current crisis.
The speech is full of empathy for the homeland and its people fearing from any security explosion, and demands myself and others to work on avoiding the homeland any dangerous security crisis . what was mentioned in the newspaper has changed the whole narration with a plot that is contradictory. It has changed it with a call for violence, terror and threatening language to the state, citizens and residents, in another expression, a threat to take Bahrain into a general security eruption.
Can any specialist in the Arabic language who understands the sermon rather than any child at his primary stages at school match what was said in the news paper with the sermon? Is hallucination?! Is it the nonsense of the speck?! Is just Lying ? ignoring all religious values , justice , honesty and sincerity it is the last but not the first, people do understand what they are doing.
May god forgive the man who faked all that and forged my speech, I will not claim them in the day of judgment.
Regarding the demands movement, it has started political and will remain political, it has started reformative and will remain reformative, it has started peaceful and will remain peaceful. The reasonable speech has been its powerful, fair and expressive tool as well as the civilized , self-restraints and massive rallies , which has not caused any harm to any body not even by stone-throwing. And it will remain this way until the noble aims and faor demandd are fulfilled that's my opinion_.
The current movement is a rational fair and peaceful movement that strongly believes in reforms that will serve the homeland interests as well as its security.
A movement in which the people have been guided by justice and fairness, they have guided by the practical necessity of their faith, however, the people will never abandon their rational state and will never lose their morals. They will never choose the way of violence and will never use any bottle or any stone.. this is rationality, wisdom, awareness, self-restraints and working according precautions.
Here is a question that should be asked: is the clothing of the prisoners, whereas the political figures are commanded to wear in their detention, more valuable than the dignity of those honorable figures such as Mr.Abdulwahb Hussain, Shaikh Mohammed Habib Al-Moqdad, Mr.Hassan Mushaime', Dr.AbdulJaleel Al-Sengais, who represent the voice of the people and the conscience of the people because they demanded for the people's freedom , dignity and political rights. They have been denied their medical care and deprived from their medications and prevented to meet their relatives. They refused to wear the clothes of the criminals, commanded by the detention, because they know more than anyone that they are innocent and will not wear the criminals unifoem.
source : bahrain.shafaqna.com
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - The Bahraini government has postponed indefinitely a visit by Juan Mendez the UN special rapporteur on torture.
According to the country's official news agency the trip has been called off "until further notice".
This comes just days after the release of a US State Department report on human rights in Bahrain which spoke of "significant" violations including torture in detention.
The Gulf kingdom has been wracked by civil unrest for two years.
The violence has left at least 50 people dead.
An independent enquiry established by King Hamad al-Khalifa in 2011 found that there had been numerous abuses. The king accepted the report and promised accountability and reform.
But human rights organisations in Bahrain and outside the country say that the promised reforms are happening either too slowly or not at all. And they allege that human rights abuses are continuing.
The US State Department Bahrain 2012 Human Rights Report spoke of "serious human rights problems," including "citizens' inability to change their government peacefully; arrest and detention of protesters on vague charges, in some cases leading to their torture in detention; and lack of due process in trials of political and human rights activists".
However the kingdom's foreign ministry said the report "lacks objectivity and impartiality and has overlooked Bahrain's progress in protecting and promoting human rights".
Mr Mendez had originally intended to visit Bahrain in 2012 but that too was called off. Pointing to this second postponement Brian Dooley of US based Human Rights First called the decision "a huge blow to the credibility of Bahrain's reform process".
"It seems like the Bahrain regime is frightened of what more international scrutiny might reveal. It's very telling that they've shut Mendez out again," said Mr Dooley.
A spokesperson in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) described the decision as "disappointing" and noted that Alistair Burt, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State had raised the issue with the Bahraini government "stressing the importance we and the international community place on the visit".
The FCO said: "We hope that a new date for this visit can be found soon."
writer : By Bill Law
source : BBC
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Bahraini government has rejected a request by a high-ranking United Nations official to investigate claims that pro-democracy demonstrators have been tortured.
On Tuesday, Manama announced that it has postponed indefinitely the trip by UN special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez "until further notice."
The Bahraini uprising began in mid-February 2011, when the people, inspired by the popular revolutions that toppled the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt, started holding massive demonstrations.
The Bahraini government promptly launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states.
Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses accused of treating injured revolutionaries.
A report published by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in November 2011 found that the Al Khalifa regime had used excessive force in the crackdown and accused Manama of torturing political activists, politicians, and protesters.
Bahrainis say they will continue holding demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically elected government is met. -www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Two Bahraini girls were arrested for allegedly having plotted to carry out an attack on Sakhir circuit during the weekend's Formula One Grand Prix race, police said on Tuesday.
Authorities arrested "two girls who were trying to carry out a terrorist act at Bahrain's international circuit in the south, as the kingdom was hosting the Formula One race," state news agency BNA quoted police as saying.
The pair were arrested on Saturday, the second day of practice sessions, at one of the entrances to the Sakhir circuit, south of Manama, said public security chief General Tariq Hassan.
He did not give the age of the girls but said one of them had concealed a pillow under her clothes and explained that this was a dry run "to test security measures."
The pair, identified as Nafisa al-Asfur and Rihanna al-Musawi, are being held for 60 days on charges of seeking to "bomb the Sakhir circuit."
The public security chief said 8,000 policemen had taken part in securing the race, against which thousands of Shiites had demonstrated the previous week.
He said police had seized 1,000 petrol bombs, 137 tyres protesters were planning to set ablaze as well as 72 fire extinguishers which were to be used as bombs.
The race took place without disruption despite the backdrop of daily clashes between protesters and police, in Shiite villages away from Sakhir.
Strategically located just across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain is home base to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet and is also a major offshore financial and services centre for its Arab neighbours in the oil-rich Gulf.
The Shiite Muslim-majority kingdom, ruled by a Sunni dynasty, was rocked by a month-long uprising in 2011, which was crushed with the help of Gulf troops led by neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
source : AFP
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Bahrain security forces thwarted attacks and found caches of weapons including 1,000 petrol bombs in the run-up to last weekend's Formula One race, state media said as protests and sectarian tensions continued to simmer in the island kingdom.
Bahrain did not see a repeat of the mass demonstrations that overshadowed last year's race - though young men armed with rocks did clash with police in outlying villages, as they have done regularly since unrest erupted in early 2011. Protests in the Gulf Arab country, a Western ally that hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, broke out two years ago, with the Shi'ite-led opposition drawing thousands of demonstrators demanding democratic reforms from the Sunni-led government. Witnesses at the Sakhir desert race circuit, about 30 km (20 miles) southwest of the capital Manama, said there was no sign of unrest in the immediate vicinity but protesters blocked several roads in villages near the capital. The opposition said the race was being used as a public relations stunt, but the government insisted it was a pure sporting event that should not be 'politicized'. Security sweeps ahead of this year's contest "thwarted a number of terrorist plots that aimed to affect normal life ... harm the reputation of the nation and commit terrorist acts against policemen", Bahrain's chief of public security, Major-General Tariq Al-Hassan, said according to the BNA agency. Security forces had found several weapon caches holding 1,000 petrol bombs, 19 mock bombs, bullets and homemade guns, he added. Hassan said security forces had also handled several incidents of rioting, including "acts of chaos and destruction" inside an industrial secondary school by students who had also blocked nearby roads and attacked cars, pedestrians and policemen, according to BNA. "Police at no point in time raided the school or attacked it," Hassan said. Sayed Yousif al-Muhafdha of the Bahrain Centre for Human rights had said on Sunday police had fired teargas at a secondary school in the city where students had been demonstrating. On Tuesday, Muhafdha added security forces had arrested up to 50 "pro-democracy activists" in the days preceding the race. Amnesty International said human rights activists reported dozens of protesters were arrested ahead of the race and Human Rights Watch said on April 10 that 20 opposition activists had been arrested in towns near the circuit. The government has denied those arrests have taken place. It has said several people accused of stealing and burning cars had been detailed. Widespread unrest forced the cancellation of the 2011 Formula One race and although the event went ahead in 2012, it was overshadowed by violent protests in the country. (This story is refiled to change the headline) (Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Andrew Heavens) source : Reuters End
Bahrain did not see a repeat of the mass demonstrations that overshadowed last year's race - though young men armed with rocks did clash with police in outlying villages, as they have done regularly since unrest erupted in early 2011.
Protests in the Gulf Arab country, a Western ally that hosts the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, broke out two years ago, with the Shi'ite-led opposition drawing thousands of demonstrators demanding democratic reforms from the Sunni-led government.
Witnesses at the Sakhir desert race circuit, about 30 km (20 miles) southwest of the capital Manama, said there was no sign of unrest in the immediate vicinity but protesters blocked several roads in villages near the capital.
The opposition said the race was being used as a public relations stunt, but the government insisted it was a pure sporting event that should not be 'politicized'.
Security sweeps ahead of this year's contest "thwarted a number of terrorist plots that aimed to affect normal life ... harm the reputation of the nation and commit terrorist acts against policemen", Bahrain's chief of public security, Major-General Tariq Al-Hassan, said according to the BNA agency.
Security forces had found several weapon caches holding 1,000 petrol bombs, 19 mock bombs, bullets and homemade guns, he added.
Hassan said security forces had also handled several incidents of rioting, including "acts of chaos and destruction" inside an industrial secondary school by students who had also blocked nearby roads and attacked cars, pedestrians and policemen, according to BNA.
"Police at no point in time raided the school or attacked it," Hassan said.
Sayed Yousif al-Muhafdha of the Bahrain Centre for Human rights had said on Sunday police had fired teargas at a secondary school in the city where students had been demonstrating.
On Tuesday, Muhafdha added security forces had arrested up to 50 "pro-democracy activists" in the days preceding the race.
Amnesty International said human rights activists reported dozens of protesters were arrested ahead of the race and Human Rights Watch said on April 10 that 20 opposition activists had been arrested in towns near the circuit.
The government has denied those arrests have taken place. It has said several people accused of stealing and burning cars had been detailed.
Widespread unrest forced the cancellation of the 2011 Formula One race and although the event went ahead in 2012, it was overshadowed by violent protests in the country.
(This story is refiled to change the headline)
(Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Andrew Heavens)
source : Reuters
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - The man from Sweden was growing more anxious by the second. The long traffic queue snaked for miles into the Sakhir circuit as the temperature rose in the hours before the Bahrain Grand Prix. The temperature was also rising in hundreds of cars and buses being funnelled gradually into single file to be examined by a drive-through electronic bomb detector.
The wait was agony for many, like the fan from Sweden; for some, it was too long and hundreds did not make it into the circuit. They were needed because only 28,000 turned up for the biggest sporting event in Bahrain, which will be one of the lowest crowds of the Formula One season. At least those who crawled in knew they were safe and sound because there was probably no more secure haven yesterday than in the exclusion zone around this grand prix.
Bored motorists counted police cars and armoured vehicles, patrolling in their dozens or parked up with heavily armed military and police standing guard. Checkpoints were numerous, but the Sakhir circuit was mercifully all quiet, save for the noise of Formula One cars. The confrontations were restricted, as always, to villages miles from the global centre of attention that was the race.
According to agency reports, police and pro-democracy protesters started clashing late on Saturday night with chants of “Race of blood”. Their stones and eggs were met with teargas and stun grenades. There were also claims that police used birdshot, causing several injuries. Hundreds of Shia demonstrators attempted to reach Manama’s Pearl Square, the focus of Bahrain’s Arab Spring two years ago, but police repelled them with teargas, while protesters retaliated with petrol bombs.
As F1 woke up yesterday morning, youths were setting fire to tyres strung out to block roads in Shia villages. But the main motorway into the Sakhir circuit was lined with police cars and armoured vehicles — a “beefing-up of security”, according to Major General Tariq Hassan, Bahrain’s public security chief.
Spectators who could dispel the security gauntlet from their minds were treated to a fine time, with the hospitality tents full to overflowing even if the grandstands had plenty of space to spare. The Bahrain authorities claim that this grand prix attracts tens of thousands of foreign visitors, as many as 15 per cent from Europe — like the Swedish man sitting anxiously on his bus yesterday.
Astonishingly, he had flown from his homeland to Bahrain overnight and was planning to fly straight back again after the grand prix. He was not alone, apparently, and Bahrain’s airport was full of day-trippers, flying in from the surrounding nations but with no intention of sampling the nation’s delights.
The Bahrain Grand Prix is all about promoting the virtues of a nation almost unknown to the vast majority until the events of 2011 and an uprising that culminated in deaths and torture and allegations of repression. The Government says the kingdom is calmer now, as it tiptoes towards a peaceful solution to its conflict with the pro-democracy protesters.
But many of those protesters were calling Formula One “a crime” and were the ones who sparked the massive security alert that delayed our F1 fan from Scandinavia and many more.
Writer : Kevin Eason
source : The Times UK
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - The prospect of Formula One cutting its ties with Bahrain appears increasingly unlikely after Bernie Ecclestone indicated that a new five-year contract could be awarded to organisers of the country’s controversial grand prix.
This year’s race again went ahead against a troubled backdrop as pro-democracy demonstrators staged marches and protests in their quest for reform in the light of the country’s miserable human rights record.
The more violent element, primarily the radical February 14 Youth Revolution, expressed its concerns and objections with the daily burning of tyres and clashes with police who responded with teargas.
Ecclestone, however, confirmed his willingness to start negotiations on extending a deal that still has three years remaining.
“I feel they do a super job and we’re more than happy to give them a new contract for five years. I don’t see any problems,” he said.
Ecclestone had begun last weekend by criticising the Bahraini government as “stupid” for staging the event and therefore, in his view, giving its opponents a platform for protest.
The Formula One chief executive is happy to keep the Bahrain Grand Prix on the race calendar, however. Zayed R Alzayani, the Bahrain International Circuit chairman, feels talks will start soon with the new contract signed before the end of the year.
“We’re still contracted to 2016, but obviously we are willing to look beyond that,” Alzayani said. “We’ve not started negotiations yet, but we are happy to look at it. The intentions [for a contract extension] are definitely there.
“We’re committed to the sport, we were the first race in the Middle East - we call ourselves the home of motor sport in the Middle East. We truly believe that in every sense of those words, so we are here for the long term, and we want to be known as the friendly race. Hopefully we can sign something this year.”
Ecclestone also indicated that next year’s grand prix in the Gulf state could open next season, as it did in 2006 and 2010.
In 2011, however, anti-government demonstrations that resulted in the deaths of a number of protesters, led to the postponement of the race and eventually its withdrawal from the calendar that year.
Alzayani stated last week it was his desire for his track to again usher in a new campaign, and he added: “It’s on the table.
“For us, we’re ready any day of the year, but we will have to see how it fits with logistics, other dates, other countries hosting and if there are conflicts with any other events they may have. We’ve had the first race before, and by July or August we will get a better picture as to where we will lie on next year’s calendar.”
Ecclestone’s one concern, however, is Bahrain hosting a test session shortly before the race, believing it would become processional as teams would be setting up their cars for the event.
Despite the need from the teams for warm weather ahead of a season, following complaints this year of the rain and cold that blighted running in Jerez and Barcelona, Bahrain is definitely on the agenda.
“That is one of the concerns, and that’s his opinion, but I don’t think that would happen,” Alzayani said. “With a change of weather the whole set-up can change, so you never know.
“I don’t believe in that theory as much as he does, but we will take it into consideration. We are hoping to get an early race and a test session next year as well, so whether it’s the first, second or third test, I don’t know yet.”
source : The Times UK