The crisis of targeting activists leads to several injuries, arrests, and threats for citizens. Who is responsible for that?
30 May 2007
Bahraini authorities have adopted excessive violence, recently, as a methodology in dealing with dissidents, rights activists, and citizens, who participate in peaceful national events. Those citizens were attacked verbally and physically because of their participation in such peaceful events. Arresting Abdel Hadi Al-Khawaja, Chairman of Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Hassan Meshema’a, Secretary-General of Liberties and Democracy Movement HAQ, and citizen Shaker Abdel’al Al-Hemly, represented the most recent violation. Their houses were penetrated in an early hour in the morning of 2 February and they were arrested in a way that is considered breaching to human rights violations. All these harassments were resulted from their courage to express their own views to the public on domestic human rights situation and general state of affairs in Bahrain. (1)
Moreover, Bahraini authorities accused the activists with several political accusations. The public prosecutor accused them with “inciting the public to hate and contempt the ruling regime, spreading malicious rumors that could disturb Kingdom domestic order, inciting the public not to comply with law and to resist authorities.” These are punishable accusation according to articles 92, 168, and 173 of Bahraini Penal Code 15/1976. The international community already condemns this law because it allows charging political activists.
On February 2, when the aforementioned activists were arrested, the Bahraini authorities could not keep them for more than 10 hours because of the protesting activities of citizens and supporters all over Bahrain, which turned soon into violent clashes between demonstrators and Special Security Forces. Authorities were forced to release activists in order to calm down security situation in Bahrain.
On April 23, the Public Prosecutor called activists (i.e. Meshema’a, Khawaja, and Abdel’al) to be present before Minor Criminal Court on 21 May 2007. Thus, a large number of activists, civil society institutions, and popular committees were motivated to launch events prior to trial date in solidarity with the activists. However, the Bahraini authorities were not satisfied with prohibiting all events “rallies, sit-in, seminars, festivals, etc.” The authorities allowed Security Force to use excessive unwarranted force against participants in the events held in support of activists and led to numerous injuries.
On Thursday 17 May – four days before the trial – the targeted activists, Meshema’a and Khawaja announced that they would not respond to prosecutor’s call because of the dependency of the judiciary system. In a late hour on Friday 18 May, the Bahraini authorities – represented in the King – announced the cancellation of the trial. Such official stance was definitely resulted from the internal pressure from societal calls not to hold the trial and increase in clashes between demonstrators and Security Forces. This is a serious alarm to a huge harmful public disorder, which requires the interference of international organizations and European diplomatic authorities.
Bahraini authorities used its Public Intelligence Apparatus and Security Forces to threaten citizens by calling them to police stations. Security men threatened a number of youth not to leave their houses on trial day, 21 May and that any clashes between security forces and the police will be burdened to those youth. The authorities were not satisfied with such harassments; they even threatened others via mobile SMS messages (2). The targeted citizens included:
Ali Mohamed Habib, 27, Karzakan area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages
Adel Abu Shamla, 26, Hmamad City – threatened via SMS mobile messages
Sameer El-Asfour, 42, Satera area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages
Jaafer Salil, 39, Satera area – called by Security Center
Hasan Abdullah Mo’emen, 33, Satera area – called by Security Center
Ali El-Khyat, 35, Satera area – called by Security Center
Jassem Jaber Jassem, 24, Hamad City – called by Security Center
Maytham Altemar, 30, Aldia area – threatened via SMS mobile messages
Ali Salman Abdullah, 26, Al-Hemla area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages
Nader El-Salatena, 32, Elsanayes area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages
Hasan El-Samahegy, 24, El-Samahegi area – threatened via SMS mobile messages
Sheikh Ali Al-Mahfouz, 50, Bani Gamra area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages
Nagy Ali Fateel, 30, Bani Gamra area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages
Nabeel Ragab, unknown age, Bani Gamra area – threatened via SMS mobile messages
Abdel Hadi Khawaja, unknown age, Jad Hafas area – threatened via SMS mobile messages
Abass Omran, unknown age, Sar area – called by Security Center
Sayed Elwy Sayed Majeed El-Kamel, 33, El-Sanayes area – threatened via SMS mobile messages
Sheikh Mohamed Habib El-Mekdad, unknown age, Belad El-Kadeem area – threatened via SMS mobile messages
Mohsen Habib El-Mekdad, unknown age, unknown area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages
Mohamed Jaafer Essa, unknown age, unknown area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages
Hasan Abdullah Al-Bana’a, 24, Jad Hafas area – threatened via SMS mobile messages
Hasan Ali Fateel El-Sary, 24, Sar area – threatened via SMS mobile messages
Osama Ahmed Abdullah, 33, El-Naem area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages in addition to security pursuits
Nabeel Abdullah, 30, Aali area – called by Security Center and threatened via SMS mobile messages in addition to security pursuits
Targeting Solidarity Events:
Security Forces targeted some events held in solidarity with activists Khawaja, Meshema’a, and Abdul’al. They intensively fired tear-gas bombs and rubber bullets. This led to many injuries between participants because of the Bahraini Security Forces attacks on the following events:
Peaceful rally in Al-Nae’m area (Manama); Bahraini Security Forces fired intensive tear-gas bo,bs in the whole area – 18 May 2007
Peaceful seminar in Al-Newaiderat area, Bahraini Security Forces attacked participants and public figures who were attending and getting prepared to give speech in solidarity with activists. Many people were injured
Peaceful assembly in Jad Hafas area (Hasan Meshema’a house); Security Forces attacked participants and fired sound bombs and rubber bullet. Life of two persons were at risk
Arrests and Injuries
Bahraini Security Forces (Anti-Riot Forces) launched a campaign to arrest and attack young people. Bahraini Security Forces attempted to punish the participants of peaceful assemblies by “fractionating their bones”. The lives of many participants are at risk because they were beaten severely. Victims include:
Ali El-Kahbaz – Bahraini Security Forces arrest him in a random way. Moreover, he was beaten brutally and this led to injuries all over his body. Khabaz was transformed to the Military Hospital and his family were denied access to him because security men did not want any one to see the injuries on his body. (4) (5)
Hameed Yousif – Bahraini Security Forces arrested him and attacked him physically. He was also pulled on the floor from one place to the other. This caused him to suffer numerous injuries all over his body. Bahraini Security Forces was giving him sand instead of water. (6)
Hussien Abass Ali – Bahraini Security Forces shot him with a rubber bullet in his eye. This led to his temporary blindness. Hussien participated in a peaceful assembly in his area. (7)
Bahraini Security Forces arrested the following citizens during its inspection campaign:
1- Hussien Abbas Noah, 20
2- Hussien Hasan Marhon, 20
3- Sayed Baqer Sayed Sadek El-Ayar, 19
4- Sayed Alwy Sayed Hadi El-Ayar, 19
“Two other men were beaten and injured, but BYSHR couldn’t find their names” (9)
Who is Liable
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights asserts that the entities liable for this ongoing security crisis are:
Executive Authority that attempted to push the country into real crisis through its impatience with handling freedom of expression standards. The authority could not stop the crisis until security forces interfered.
Bahraini Security Forces that used unwarranted violence against peaceful events. That is in addition to several attempts to target participants and “fractionating their bones”. They want the country to be the place of fear and panic not the place of law and institutions.
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights asserts that the methodology of Bahraini authority will not help in “thumbing activists down”. Such authoritarian practices increase the insistence of activist to get their countries out of the crisis instead of targeting them. The authority failed to do this as much as it failed to panic the people by its security forces. Such practices will definitely lead to destruction.