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Posts tagged ‘Uprising in Bahrain’

Bahrain opposition defies ban on meeting diplomats

September 20, 2013

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahrain’s main Shiite opposition group is defying a ban by the island’s Sunni government to have direct contacts with foreign diplomats.

Al Wefaq’s secretary-general, Sheik Ali Salman, met Norwegian political affairs envoy Hakon Smedsvig on Thursday in the Bahraini capital, Manama. Bahrain’s Western-backed monarchy earlier this month banned all diplomatic contacts by political groups unless they receive official permission. The move was sharply criticized by Western governments, including the U.S.

This week, authorities detained a top Al Wefaq official on allegations of inciting violence. In return, the group announced a boycott of reconciliation talks with the government. The strategic Gulf nation has been gripped by unrest since an uprising launched in early 2011 by majority seeking a greater political voice.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement that in the last two years the Bahraini government and oppositions groups have been involved in important dialogue but that recent developments have hindered the process.

“The Government of Bahrain has recently issued decrees restricting the rights and abilities of political groups to assemble, associate, and express themselves freely, including by regulating their communications with foreign governments and international organizations,” the statement said.

Bahrain opposition boycotts talks after detention

September 18, 2013

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahrain’s main Shiite groups suspended participation in reconciliation talks with the Sunni-led government Wednesday after the detention of a top opposition figure in the violence-wracked Gulf nation.

The decision deepens the showdown over Khalil al-Marzooq, a former deputy parliament speaker, who is under investigation for allegedly encouraging anti-government violence. His supporters claim he was targeted by Bahrain’s Western-backed authorities in attempts to punish the opposition after recent criticism from European officials about government crackdowns on dissent.

Repeated rounds of political talks have failed to significantly close the rifts between the Sunni establishment and Shiite factions, which began an Arab Spring-inspired uprising in early 2011 to seek greater political rights. More than 65 people have died in the unrest, but rights groups and others place the death toll higher.

The snub by the Shiite groups closes one of the main channels for dialogue and could sharply escalate tensions in the strategic kingdom, home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. A government statement quoted Nayef Yousif, head of Bahrain’s public prosecution, as saying al-Marzooq is accused of instigating violence and having links to a protest faction that authorities blame for bombings and other attacks. Al-Marzooq, who was detained Tuesday, was ordered held for 30 days during the investigation.

Al-Marzooq is a top member of Al Wefaq, the main political bloc of Bahrain’s Shiite majority. In Washington, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Wednesday that the U.S. would raise the issue with Bahraini authorities as part of its discussion of recent political events in Bahrain.

“We are disappointed that opposition groups have suspended their involvement. I think it’s an important forum. We would hope that everybody would be part of that process,” Harf said. Also Wednesday, Bahrain’s public security chief, Maj. Gen. Tariq Hassan al-Hassan, said a policeman died of injuries suffered in a bomb blast last month.

Bahrainis use traffic jams to protest

Tue Oct 4, 2011

Anti-government protesters continue to cause huge traffic jams on the streets of Bahrain’s capital, Manama, in a protest campaign against the repressive policies of the Al Khalifa regime, Press TV reports.

As part of the protest campaign, which is dubbed “Manama Storm,” protesters have created massive traffic jams in Manama, according to Press TV sources.

The campaign continues in defiance of an Interior Ministry’s warning in late September that warned the protesters of losing their driver’s licenses for up to one year if they deliberately created traffic jams.

Meanwhile, a Bahraini court handed out three-month jail terms to two people on Tuesday and fined each USD 265 for blocking traffic.

This comes following Monday rulings of a Bahraini military court which sentenced 14 protesters to life imprisonment and handed long jail terms of up to 18 years to 22 others.

The military court, however, rejected pleas by attorneys of those sentenced for an independent probe into the reported torture of defendants.

Earlier on Thursday, the Bahraini court also sentenced 20 medical workers to jail terms of between five and 15 years for treating injured anti-government protesters.

Since mid-February, thousands of anti-government protesters have been staging regular demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling on the US-backed Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

On March 14, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist Bahraini rulers in their brutal crackdown on peaceful anti-government protesters.

According to local sources, scores of people have been killed and hundreds arrested in the regime crackdown.

Source: PressTV.

Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/202693.html.

Health workers given jail terms in Bahrain

Sept. 29, 2011

MANAMA, Bahrain, Sept. 29 (UPI) — A military prosecutor in Bahrain announced charges against 20 healthcare workers for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.

The group of Bahraini doctors and nurses were given sentences ranging from 5-15 years in prison on charges of “spreading fabricating stories and lies” and gaining access to “unlicensed weapons to topple the regime,” the official Bahrain News Agency stated.

All of those sentenced to prison had worked at the Salmaniya medical complex in Manama. Bahraini security forces raided the facility in March as part of a crackdown on a Shiite uprising in the country.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay described the March 16 seizure by security forces of the hospital as “shocking and illegal conduct.”

Human Rights Watch in a 54-page report published early this year said it had documented “serious government abuses” against medics and patients wounded during opposition protests.

In a separate case, BNA said Ali Yusuf Abdulwahab al-Taweel was sentenced to death and Mehdi Ali Attia was given a life-in-prison sentence for their role in the death of a Bahraini police officer.

Human Rights Watch said Washington was sending the wrong message when it authorized a $53 million arms sale to Bahrain. Bahrain was criticized for its response to the uprising.

Bahrain is host to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Link: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2011/09/29/Health-workers-given-jail-terms-in-Bahrain/UPI-39851317315622/.

Fresh protests held in Bahrain

Mon Sep 26, 2011

Fresh anti-regime protests have been held in several villages in Bahrain despite the country’s heavy-handed crackdown on people, Press TV reports.

Bahraini regime forces clashed with the protesters in several villages including Dair, Sitra, Nuwaidarat and Muqaba on Sunday night.

Witnesses said on Monday that protesters also created massive traffic jams in the capital Manama, ignoring threats of confiscating driver’s licenses and barring protesters from driving for up to four years.

Hundreds of Bahrainis flooded the roads with their cars during the morning commute on Monday.

The Bahraini opposition had organized the gathering, which was named the “the Second Dignity Blockade.”

Meanwhile, Bahraini clerics have condemned the massive arrests and the disrespectful treatment of Bahraini women by regime forces over the past few days.

The protests intensified after the opposition boycotted last week’s parliamentary elections. Less than one in five Bahrainis reportedly participated in the country’s by-elections.

The Al Khalifa regime held the polls to fill 18 seats abandoned by members of the largest opposition party, al-Wefaq.

Al-Wefaq said that the 40-member parliament has lost its legitimacy and that it does not represent the will of the Bahraini people.

Bahrainis have been holding anti-government rallies since mid-February, demanding an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty.

Source: PressTV.
Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/201217.html.

Bahrain activists call for mass protest amid warning

Sep 21, 2011

Cairo – An opposition group has called for a mass protest on Wednesday in the centre of the capital Manama amid a stern warning from the authorities.

Activists of the February 14 Youth Coalition, named after a day when pro-democracy demonstrations started in the small Gulf kingdom, plan to bring the traffic in central Manama to a standstill by parking thousands of cars in major streets in the capital, according to broadcaster Al Jazeera.

The organizers said the protest was aimed at pressuring the government into halting what they described as daily oppression of demonstrations and reinstate employees reportedly sacked for joining in pro-democracy protests, according to the television report.

The protest comes days before partial parliamentary elections due to be held in Bahrain on September 24.

The Interior Ministry has warned it will not tolerate Wednesday’s protest.
‘The authorities will take legal measures against anyone found violating the traffic rules,’ said the ministry in a statement. ‘Violators risk penalties of jailing and fines.’

Sunni-ruled Bahrain has accused Shiite-led Iran of meddling in its internal affairs and inciting the unrest. Both the opposition and Iran have denied the accusation.

Source: Monsters and Critics.
Link: http://news.monstersandcritics.com/middleeast/news/article_1664173.php/Bahrain-activists-call-for-mass-protest-amid-warning.

Bahrain medics continue hunger strike

Wed Sep 14, 2011

More than a dozen Bahraini nurses and doctors have entered the second week of their hunger strike as the anti-regime protesters await trial in a martial court, a report says.

Irish-trained surgeons Ali al-Ekri and Bassin Dahif along with 11 other doctors, nurses and paramedics are on a hunger strike in a Bahraini prison, Prof. Damian McCormack, who heads an Irish delegation of doctors and human rights activists to Bahrain, wrote in a letter to the Irish Times.

Among the detained protesters, one is diabetic and seven have already collapsed and are in need of intravenous fluids while one has attempted suicide and been prescribed anti-psychotic medication; they all refuse to take their medication, according to the document.

McCormack, who is affiliated with the World College of Surgeons and the World College of Physicians, also referred to a chronic compartment syndrome in another detained surgeon, who is at risk of “deep clots and embolism.”

“All continue to suffer from the physical and psychological effects of prolonged detention and torture,” he stated, adding that one consultant ophthalmologist recently released had suffered a stroke in detention.

The Dublin-based pediatrician recalls a royal decree issued by Bahrain’s embattled King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in late June, which orders all protester cases referred to civilian courts.

“However, international human rights organizations are shocked to learn that the trial of the 20 medics who are accused with felonies will continue in a military court,’” the letter reads.

It further censured the continued brutal suppression of peaceful protests in Bahrain and the August 31 killing of teenage boy, struck by a tear gas canister at close range, on Eid al-Fitr.

McCormack accused the Bahraini regime of employing international lobbyists such as Jo Trippi and PR companies such as Qorvis in Washington and Bell Pottinger in London to conceal its continued violations of human rights.

He noted how Lualua TV, a Bahraini pro- democracy station based in London, is actively jammed from Bahrain via a European satellite and all internal electronic communications in Bahrain are monitored by “spy gear” provided by western companies such as Nokia Siemens.

“Over 1,400 protesters have been detained, 180 civilians have been sentenced in military courts, 32 people have been killed, over 60 journalists have been targeted or ejected and at least 22 opposition websites are censored in a country which would call itself civilized and peaceful,” McCormack went on to say.

The doctor further called on the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to seek return of the honorary fellowship they awarded to King Hamad in 2006.

Source: PressTV.
Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/199195.html.

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