Bahrain’s Harsh Crackdown on Rights Movement Continues; Obama Admin Still Mum
The disappearances of human rights activists, lawyers, doctors and sports figures continues in Bahrain. Wednesday brought word that Zeinab Alkhawaja (@angryarabiya) has ended her hunger strike after requests from many human rights leaders – her health deteriorated so quickly that she was unable to stand, sit up or write by the end of the 10 days and she is now slowly taking in nutrients.
The same day, calls were made by her father, husband and brother-in-law saying that they were being held in a prison fort and that the family could bring them fresh clothes. Zeinab was able to speak to her father by phone, and he told her he was scheduled to be tried in a military court today,Thursday, at 8AM (Bahrain time).
My father said his trial will b tomorrow at 8am in military court. I asked him again “baba are you ok” & he gave me same reply ?????? ????
Zeinab writes that she could not come up with a translation for that last phrase that expressed the pain – and writes the closest might be “the oppression is great”
No one has been allowed to see Alkhawaja – and one of the two lawyers who wished to represent him was told he himself was on the “wanted list.” Family members tried to get access to the courtroom, but were not allowed in and:
when hr activist tried 2 enter court now he was told they had no1 by my fathers name, while 30min ago they had taken his clothes from my sis
As of noon today (EDT) neither lawyers nor human rights observers were allowed to enter the court and Alkhawaja’s family have not been able to learn what transpired — if there actually was a trial, what he may have been charged with, what the result was — and whether the government’s unwillingness to allow any observers signals that he has faced severe torture:
The family was turned away from the court on Thursday morning, although Mr Khawaja had pleaded with them to bring him fresh clothes in time for his appearance, the 27-year-old said.”My father is a very strong man. He used to smile after being beaten-up,” Mr Khawaja’s daughter told the BBC.
But in a recent telephone conversation his voice was very weak and he kept telling his family the oppression was great, Ms Khawaja said.
“It was something that made me and my whole family very, very scared for him,” she added.
Zeinab also noted the scope of the disappearances in this message:
Some r saying the numbers of political prisoners in the small island of bh has reached over a thousand
When my father in law went 2 prison fort to take clothes for my husband he had 2 wait in que for 2 hrs with families of political prisoners
Those political prisoners include a large number of doctors, disappeared in contravention of the Geneva Accords. [cont’d.]
At least 32 doctors, including surgeons, physicians, paediatricians and obstetricians, have been arrested and detained by Bahrain’s police in the last month in a campaign of intimidation that runs directly counter to the Geneva Convention guaranteeing medical care to people wounded in conflict. Doctors around the world have expressed their shock and outrage.
One doctor, an intensive care specialist, was held after she was photographed weeping over a dead protester. Another was arrested in the theatre room while operating on a patient.
Many of the doctors, aged from 33 to 65, have been “disappeared” – held incommunicado or at undisclosed locations. Their families do not know where they are. Nurses, paramedics and ambulance staff have also been detained.
A Bahraini surgeon who emailed a British colleague wrote:
“Three weeks of hell. The military took control of the Salmaniya Hospital, doctors, nurses, paramedics and patients treated as suspects by soldiers and policemen. Daily interrogation and detention to some of our colleges.” He added: “Very much intimidated and frighten.”
The surgeon’s British colleague said yesterday: “My friend is a very nice, very hardworking surgeon and totally apolitical. He was taken in for interrogation and hasn’t been seen since.
As seen in the video above, not only are Shia Bahrainis being disappeared by the regime, but their mosques – large and small – are being vandalized and destroyed.
Three members of Congress in the US have spoken out — Rep. Donald M. Payne, Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, Rep. James McGovern and Rep. Tammy Baldwin issued a statement saying in part:
The violent crackdown by Bahraini security forces on protesters and arbitrary arrests of political dissidents must not fall on deaf ears. The United States must not allow political alliances to prevent us from denouncing human rights abuses, particularly when they are perpetrated against peaceful demonstrators.
Bahrain must ensure the security of detainees and we urge the Administration to insist on the release of those detained for peacefully opposing the Bahraini regime. We also call for an independent international investigation into the deaths of government-held protesters.
But still Obama and Clinton are silent.