Human rights “crisis” in Bahrain despite reform pledge..leaders arrested
Human rights are still being violated in Bahrain despite promises of reform, according to the campaign group Amnesty International.
As the country prepares to host the Grand Prix, Amnesty warns “no-one should be under any illusions that the country’s human rights crisis is over”.
“Their reforms have only scratched the surface,” said Amnesty’s Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
More than 40 people died in last year’s unrest and 1,600 were arrested.
“The authorities are trying to portray the country as being on the road to reform but we continue to receive reports of torture and use of unnecessary and excessive force against protests,” said Ms Sahraoui.
Amnesty details the case of an 18-year-old student, Hassan ‘Oun, who was arrested in January.
He says he was forced to stand for 11 hours, his feet were beaten with a hosepipe and he was threatened with rape.
The group also reports that a 14-year-old boy and an 81-year-old woman died after tear gas was fired into their homes.
While Amnesty recognises security forces are sometimes faced with violence it is urging them to respect international human rights law.
There have been violent clashes between police and protesters on the outskirts of the capital Manama this week as Bahrain prepares for the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Demonstrators are calling for the sporting event to be cancelled and have sprayed walls with anti-Formula 1 graffiti.
In London, two protesters climbed onto the roof of Bahrain’s embassy on Monday, to draw attention to the fate of imprisoned opposition activists.
In November the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report acknowledged numerous human rights abuses and systematic torture of detainees as security forces put down anti-government protests.
In response King Hamad promised lessons would be learned and laws would be reformed to protect freedom of speech and other basic rights.
But Amnesty says the findings of BICI have proved inadequate and what it calls piecemeal reforms have not gone far enough.
“The establishment of the BICI was a real breakthrough and raised expectations that things would be different in Bahrain. It is time for the Bahraini government to match its public pronouncements with genuine actions,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
The human rights group is calling on the Bahraini government to release all prisoners of conscience and to hold people suspected of carrying out torture and abuses accountable.
To date it can only point to a handful of low-ranking officers who have been put on trial.
Amnesty cites the cases of eight policemen who have been charged in connection with the death of protesters but remain in their jobs while they are investigated.
Bahrain has arrested at least 60 protest leaders ahead of a controversial Formula One Grand Prix scheduled to be held on April 22.
bahrain..the country that cannot be criticised..its a firm US ally and will not be put under any sort of presure or spotlight like syria or libya or even egypt..2 sets of rules..