SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Bahraini security forces have raided a high school in the capital Manama, firing teargas at the students angry over the recent arrest of a fellow student.
Regime forces clashed with students protesting outside their school, located close to the US embassy in southern Manama, on Tuesday.
The students were angry over the arrest of 17-year-old student Hassan Humidan at the school on Monday.
Bahrainis have been staging peaceful anti-regime demonstrations since mid-February 2011 despite the ruling Al Khalifa regime’s heavy-handed crackdown.
The demonstrations are expected to escalate as the Persian Gulf kingdom is preparing to host the Formula One Grand Prix on April 19-21.
Over the past few days, thousands of Bahrainis have taken to the streets across the country to express opposition to the sporting event.
Bahrainis say Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, should cancel the event in Bahrain over the ongoing crackdown by the Al Khalifa regime on the peaceful protests.
Formula One is Bahrain’s premier international event. It was canceled in 2011 as a result of mass anti-regime protests in the country. However, the event went ahead in 2012 despite protests.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) Bahraini regime forces have fired tear gas and sound bombs to disperse demonstrators protesting against the upcoming Formula One Grand Prix near the capital, Manama.
Local sources said Friday that hundreds of anti-regime protesters took to the streets in Khamis village near the capital to voice their outrage at the authorities’ decision to keep the Bahrain Grand Prix on the Formula One calendar.
Outraged protesters chanted slogans such as “The people want the fall of the regime,” and “Down with Hamad,” referring to Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
According to witnesses, clashes broke out as regime forces attempted to disperse the gathering. The protesters also responded with Molotov cocktails.
On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said the Al Khalifa regime has arrested 20 opposition activists ahead of the event.
“Bahraini authorities are carrying out home raids and arbitrarily detaining opposition protesters in advance of the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend,” the human rights body said.
Demonstrators in the island nation have been staging protest rallies in solidarity with political prisoners and against the international motor racing event, which is due to be held on April 21.
In 2012, the Grand Prix went ahead in the kingdom despite protests.
Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, demanding political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.
The Manama regime has arrested many rights activists, doctors and nurses since the uprising began.
Bahrainis say they will continue holding anti-regime demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically-elected government and an end to rights violations is met.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association): Bahrain’s rulers have made no progress on key reform promises, failing to release unjustly imprisoned activists or to hold accountable high-level officials responsible for torture, Human Rights Watch said today at a news conference in Manama.
In addition, a draft association law adopted by the government significantly undermines what few rights independent nongovernmental associations have under the country’s current law, Human Rights Watch said. Human Rights Watch made the assessments after meeting with high-ranking officials and with political prisoners.
“All the talk of national dialogue and reform mean nothing so long as the country’s most prominent human rights and political activists remain unjustly imprisoned while officials responsible for torture and murder remain in their positions,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“The minimum one should expect after the gross abuses by security forces during the 2011 uprising is recognition at the highest level of the security and defense forces, including the Interior and Defense Ministers, that they bear the responsibility for the failures of their forces – failures they have acknowledged – and will account for them.” She added.
During a five-day visit, the first allowed to Human Rights Watch by the government in almost a year, three representatives met with the interior minister, Lt. Gen. Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa; the attorney general, Dr. Ali Fadl al-Buainain;Nawaf Abdulla Hamza, head of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) responsible for investigating police excesses and command responsibility; the chief of public security,Maj. Gen. Tariq Hassan;John Timoney, senior police adviser to the Interior Ministry, and representatives of the Social Development and Human Rights ministries.
Human Rights Watch’s visit was facilitated by the newly established Human Rights Ministry. Human Rights Watch met with the ministry’s legal affairs director, Mohamed al-Fazi, and urged the ministry to take an active role in addressing the government’s human rights shortcomings and advocating needed reforms.
Human Rights Watch said that Bahraini authorities had facilitated frank and candid meetings with government officials but that the government has unreasonably restricted its access to Bahrain, denying and ignoring numerous requests for visas over the past two years and refusing entry altogether for one representative.
In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), international experts appointed by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, concluded that Bahrain’s security forces operated within a “culture of impunity” and that the abuses “could not have happened without the knowledge of higher echelons of the command structure” of the security forces.
Human Rights Watch concluded, based on the discussions with officials, that authorities have made no progress in investigating and prosecuting higher-level officials responsible for the worst abuses during the 2011 protests. The abuses resulted in the death of scores of protesters and bystanders, serious injuries to hundreds of people, arrests of thousands more, and more than 300 formal allegations of torture and ill-treatment.
The attorney general and head of the Special Investigations Unit told Human Rights Watch that their investigations into those responsible for the failures of the security forces would conclude by the summer of 2013, but they would not provide information about any progress made in their investigations or about any officials whose roles were being investigated, or their ranks. Only four low-ranking officers and one first lieutenant have been convicted in the deaths of two protesters and serious injury to a third.
Hassan told Human Rights Watch that Interior Ministry officials recognized that they had made “serious mistakes” in their handling of the mass demonstrations that rocked the country in 2011. However, Shaikh Rashid, the interior minister, said that internal investigations had found wrongdoing or misconduct only by police officials up to the rank of battalion commander.
Beyond that rank, he said, internal investigations had assigned no blame for wrongdoing, and no commanders or other ranking officials had been reprimanded, reassigned, demoted, suspended, or terminated. He confirmed that the ministry had no policy of suspending from duty or reassigning police officers facing criminal charges, including excessive use of force, torture, or suspicious killing, although Human Rights Watch noted that authorities had reportedly taken into custody two policemen in connection with a shooting death on February 14, 2013.
“It is mind-boggling that the same officials who were in charge during the unprecedented shootings, beatings, killings, and torture of hundreds of Bahraini citizens have identified no wrongdoing by high-ranking officials,” Whitson said. “How can any Bahraini citizen believe promises of police overhaul when those responsible for grievous policing failures are still setting policies and able to undermine possible investigations into their roles?”
On February 26, Human Rights Watch visited several of the political and human rights activists, medics, and teachers serving sentences ranging from two years to life in Jaw Prison and met with them privately. The Interior Ministry and prison officials facilitated the meetings. Human Rights Watch was able to photograph and videotape their meetings with the detainees.
On January 7, the Court of Cassation upheld the convictions and lengthy prison terms of 13 prominent dissidents, including sentences of life in prison for seven defendants, solely for exercising their rights to free expression and peaceful assembly in the 2011 protests. Bahrain authorities should amend the laws that gave rise to the unjust sentences against these men, Human Rights Watch said. King Hamad should pardon and expunge the criminal convictions of all those who sentences the Court of Cassation has upheld.
“There can be no real claim that justice is being done in Bahrain so long as these men remain unjustly imprisoned,” Whitson said. “King Hamad should act urgently to release these men if authorities want to restore any sense of justice among the vast majority of the population.”
Human Rights Watch also expressed grave concern about a draft law to regulate nongovernmental organizations that the Social Development Ministry submitted to the government and that is now under consideration by the Parliament. The draft law would effectively convert every association registered or seeking to register – as required – into a government-controlled entity with no capacity to operate as an independent body.
Neither Khalid al-Koheji, the assistant under-secretary for community affairs, who is responsible for nongovernmental groups, nor Sultan Hammadi, the ministry’s legal counselor for nongovernmental group affairs, were willing to discuss the draft law that they helped to prepare, claiming that it was the responsibility of the government, Human Rights Watch said.
The most disturbing aspect of the draft law is that it would allow Social Development Minister Fatima al-Balooshi to reject an application from any group if the minister determines that Bahrain “does not need its services,” or to reject an application without giving any reason at all.
The law would forbid citizens from being members of more than one group doing similar work, unless the ministry approves, and would prohibit union members from joining a group that works on activities “related to” their union. Al-Koheji also said it would allow the minister to reject a group if its work is “similar” to that of another group.
“While Bahrain’s hired PR firms run around London and Washington presenting slick ‘reform agenda’ power-points, Fatima al-Balooshi is pushing a new law designed to cripple anything resembling independent civil society,” Whitson said. “As if her authoritarian powers under the current NGO law are not bad enough, she’s now put forward a law that will give her unmitigated and arbitrary control over whether a group can even register as a legal organization.”
Human Rights Watch also expressed concern about the government’s use of penal code article 168, which authorizes a fine and up to two years in prison for anyone who willfully disseminates false news knowing that it might result in harm to national security or the public order or safety if the dissemination amounts to direct incitement to violence.
In his meeting with Human Rights Watch, al-Buainain cited this law to justify his decision to prosecute Sayed Yusuf al-Muhafadha, acting vice-president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) for “disseminating false news” for posting on his Twitter account a photograph of an injured protester. The attorney general told Human Rights Watch that because the protester had been injured days earlier Muhafadha’s reposting was evidence of “his intent to incite a violent demonstration.”
“If Bahraini officials believe that an activist is inciting violence by tweeting a picture of an injured demonstrator, then it’s clear that all the human rights training sessions they’ve attended have been wasted,” Whitson said.
Human Rights Watch raised with officials concern about reports of ongoing excessive and unlawful use of teargas, to which Bahraini opposition activists have attributed at least 16 deaths. A video observed by Human Rights Watch showed security forces firing what appeared to be teargas canisters indiscriminately into what the video identified as a residential neighborhood in A’ali village on February 14. Bahraini human rights groups say that security forces have carried out massive teargas attacks into Shia neighborhoods and villages as punishment for anti-government demonstrations held there.
Two youths died in February from injuries resulting from apparent wrongful use of force. Hussein al-Jaziri, 16, died of injuries from shotgun pellets fired at close range in al-Dia on February 14, the case in which the Interior Ministry says it has taken two policemen into custody. In a separate incident that same day, a video taken shows Mahmood al-Jaziri, 22, fall to the ground in al-Nabi Salej after he was hit in the head by a teargas canister fired from about 10 meters away. He died of his injuries on February 22.
“The ministry can put stickers in police cars on the correct use of teargas, but only investigations and disciplinary measures can address what appears to be frequent misuse of teargas by officers,” Whitson said.
Human Rights Watch also met with the newly appointed police ombudsman, Nawaf al-Maawdah, and head of his investigations unit, Abd al-Rahman Faris. Al-Maawdahsaid that a decree to be issued shortly will expand the ombudsman’s authority to visit and monitor detention centers and to investigate police misconduct even in the absence of an individual complaint.
These developments can enhance the role of the ombudsman as an independent monitor of police abuse, Human Rights Watch said. Human Rights Watch urged the ombudsman to address as an urgent priority the serious lack of diversity among police forces and prison guards, almost all of whom are Sunni while the majority of the prison population and citizenry are Shia, and to investigate discrimination in hiring, including at the ranks of senior officers.
“Effective community and prison policing requires a diverse police force that the Bahraini people can believe represents them,” Whitson said.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Tens of Bahraini protesters succeeded in protesting at the capital Manama today 2nd of February 2013. The protesters chanted against the royal family and the King Hamad demanding a real transform into a democratic regime. mercenaries police backed with Saudi troops used toxic tear gas and shotgun on peaceful protesters in Manama after the opposition parties call for it . it was the continuation of planned activities started from 1Feb till 14TH Feb .
Source : Bahrain.shafaqna.com
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Bahraini riot police fired tear gas to disperse an unauthorized demonstration attended by hundreds of protesters in Manama Friday, witnesses said. The protest, called by the main Shiite opposition bloc Al-Wefaq, chanted anti-regime slogans, including “Down Hamad” – in reference to Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
Riot police arrested several people after dispersing the demonstration using tear gas, according to witnesses. More than 55 people have died in nearly two years of tensions between the Sunni-led government and the kingdom’s majority Shiites seeking a greater political voice.
Thursday, police fired tear gas and stun grenades at anti-government protesters near Sitra, south of Manama. The demonstrators there were chanting to reject proposed talks aimed at easing unrest in the Gulf nation. The Interior Ministry said Wednesday it would not authorize any protests called for by Al-Wefaq and that authorities would use force to “maintain security.”
“Calls for unauthorized demonstrations show a lack of credibility from certain parties ... in restarting dialogue for national reconciliation,” government spokeswoman Samira Rajab said Friday.The king had called during the week for a new round of national dialogue, previously shunned by the Shiite-led opposition. Last month Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa also called for a dialogue.
Source : Shafqna.com/english
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Protest in capital Manama with crowded people and Houses but mercenaries police used heavy toxic gas and shotgun.
Source : Shafaqna,com
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Security forces in Bahrain fired tear gas and arrested protesters Monday during marches in the traditional market area of the Gulf nation’s capital, forcing many businesses to close. The clashes underlined the volatility of the tiny, strategic island nation, home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, where the Shiite Muslim majority is demanding more say from the Sunni monarchy. The Interior Ministry said it made a “number” of arrests. Among them was rights activist Yousef al-Muhafedha, the acting head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said his wife Zainab al-Sairafi.Al-Muhafedha’s arrest could stir more backlash, less than a week after a Bahrain court rejected an appeal to overturn the jail sentence of the rights center’s director, Nabeel Rajab. The court cut one year from his three-year sentence on charges of encouraging “illegal gatherings” linked to the 22-month uprising against the kingdom’s ruling system.
On Monday, authorities set up checkpoints and expanded patrols across Manama before rallies Monday to mark an annual commemoration for two protesters killed in 1994.Separate groups of hundreds of protesters chanted slogans in the narrow streets of the city’s market district. Some of the crowds were dispersed with tear gas and volleys of stun grenades.It’s the latest attempt by Shiite-led protesters to stage marches in the heart of the capital.More than 55 people have been killed in unrest since February 2011, when Bahrain’s majority Shiites escalated their fight for a greater political voice in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.