Bahrain security forces shoot directly at protester’s face
Hussain Radhi – BCHR – 21 Jan.15
A video has emerged showing Bahrain security forces appearing to shoot a protester in the face at close range, using birdshots. According to activists, the video was filmed Tuesday in the capital Manama’s suburb of Bilad al-Qadeem, which has seen daily protests ever since opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman was arrested in late December.
In the video, a man holding up a poster of Salman is standing on a street corner, just a few metres away from an armoured police vehicle. The vehicle is covered in splats of paint, which local residents have taken to throwing from their windows when these vehicles roll through their streets. For a while, nothing happens. But suddenly, a slot opens in the side of the vehicle, and the barrel of a gun emerges. Shots are fired directly at the protester.
He then starts to run and collapses in the street. He can be seen bleeding profusely from his face. Several protesters rush to carry him away, and the camera cuts off. In another scene – which France 24 has decided not to show here, as it is quite graphic – the same man is being treated at an unknown location. His face is riddled with what appear to be small birdshot wounds. Birdshots are commonly used by Bahraini security forces against protesters.
“The man was not taken to a hospital – protesters never are, because they know they would end up straight in jail”
Tensions have been very high in Bilad al-Qadeem since Salman’s arrest, because it is his hometown. Security forces have all sorts of tactics to quell protests, often using copious amounts of tear gas and shooting birdshots. This man was quite brave to go up to the vehicle like he did because, unfortunately, this is not the first time security forces have shot protesters at close range. Several other such incidents have been reported in the past.
The man was not taken to a hospital – protesters never are, because they know they would end up straight in jail. But our contacts in the neighbourhood say his wounds are being treated.
Salman, who is expected to stand trial at the end of the month, is a Shiite cleric accused of attempting to overthrow the government. He is also the head of the Al Wefaq movement, a Shiite political party that is highly critical of the country’s rulers. On Tuesday, another opposition activist, Nabeel Rajab, was sentenced to six months in prison for a tweet that allegedly insulted the army.
Bahrain is a Shiite-majority country (about 75 percent of the population), ruled by an exclusively Sunni monarchy and government. Since February 2011, members of the Shiite community who feel discriminated against have regularly gone into the streets in protest. Dozens of protesters have been killed since then. …source