Bahrain: The silent revolution
14 February, 2014 – Al Jazeera
Muted reaction to Bahrain crackdown on pro-democracy activists is in stark contrast to those regarding Syria and Libya
Bahraini human rights activist Zainab al-Khawaja was due to be out of prison on February 20. She has been serving concurrent sentences since February 2013. However, she was recently sentenced to a further four months on a new charge of “destroying private property”.
As Bahrainis mark the third anniversary of the pro-reform protest movement which came to be known as the 14 February Coalition, human rights violations continue unabated in the country. Some 122 Bahrainis have since died from torture, lung infections caused by tear gas, and from live ammunition used by the Bahraini security forces.
Thus far, 1,300 Bahrainis have been arrested in connection with their role in the protests and those still in detention have been tortured and denied access to medical care. Hospitals have been militarised as doctors and nurses are harassed for treating victims of the protests. Thousands of workers have been dismissed or suspended from their jobs for taking part in the demonstrations.
And while the international community, particularly Western countries, have been quite vocal in condemning atrocities committed against protesters in some countries in the Middle East, when it comes to Bahrain, calls from the West for an end to human rights abuses perpetrated by the Bahraini authorities have been rather muted.
Using the ‘terror’ card
Bahrain is now on the verge of a precipice as citizens’ rights are trampled upon with no recourse to the legal system. The judiciary and police are far from independent and operate with the utmost impunity, leaving citizens who dare condemn atrocities at their mercy. Bahraini authorities ensure that they impose charges against activists and journalists which carry maximum sentences, and which, in the eyes of Bahrain’s allies, portray a country doing its best to ensure that its territorial integrity and internal security are protected from “criminals and trouble makers”.
Inside Story Americas – US double standards in Bahrain
Last year, on September 29, a court in Bahrain sentenced a group of 50 political and civil activists under the country’s terrorism law to jail terms ranging from five to 15 years, for “trying to destabilise the country”, and for alleged links to the “14 February Coalition”. The sentencing of the 50 vividly paints an appalling picture of the state of affairs in Bahrain. …more