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Entries in Abdulhadi Alkhawaja (63)


Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Two-Step of Protest and Detention

Bahraini police charge a protest march in Manama on Saturday

See also Iraq Analysis: Kurdistan's Contest with Prime Minister al-Maliki Heats Up
Egypt Feature: Cairo Cuts Gas Supplies to Israel --- Will the Power Play Backfire?
Saturday's Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Two-Step of Protest and Detention

1912 GMT: Egypt. In a sign of more tension between political factions, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the Egyptian Parliament suspended the sessions of its lower house on Sunday for a week to protest SCAF's refusal to dissolve the Cabinet.

The legislature’s speaker, Saad el-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood, announced the decision on Sunday after lawmakers spoke in a televised session against the Government of Prime Minister Kamal El Ganzouri.

A "senior Government source" said the dismissal of the Cabinet was unnecessary as it will only last until 30 June. The source said El Ganzouri met on Saturday with Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of SCAF, to discuss the crisis. although The source said Tantawi did not mention any dismissal or reshuffle to Ganzouri.

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Just Another Protest Friday?

Opening of "A Taste of Freedom" ice cream shop in Binnish in Syria

See also Syria Snap Analysis: Is the US Preparing for Intervention?
Syria Wired: The Latest from Social Media and EA's Readers
Thursday's Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Is Hunger Striker Alkhawaja Still Alive?
Turkey Live Coverage (26 April): From the Kurdish Language to Iranian Banks

1631 GMT: This morning, we noted an apparent slip by the regime-linked Gulf Daily News about Day 79 of the hunger strike of detained activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja --- in its haste to establish that he was well and "in high spirits", it tipped off that the authorities might now be force-feeding Alkhawaja.

Mike Diboll, a blogger who worked at the University of Bahrain, takes up the story:

[Alicia de Haldevang of the Gulf Daily News] takes a strong interest in his nutrition, mentioning by name “Ensure”, the nutritional drink that Abdulhadi is supposed to be “taking”:

At the beginning of her piece, she says that he is “drinking” the supplement, but in paragraph five he is “taking” it. “Taking” it in what sense? Perhaps this image of the force feeding kit used against Guantanamo Bay hunger strikers can help answer the question of exactly how Abdulhadi is “taking” Ensure. Below is a photograph of a force feeding kit used at Guantanamo Bay:

And another twist --- Alicia de Haldevang, the Gulf Daily News reporter, was taken to task by Alkhawaja's wife over the story until she said, "I believe you should have access to your husband+he shld be released. Pls don't think that I follow GDN policy in my personal beliefs." Now she appears to be none too happy with the regime for putting her in this position:

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Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Is Hunger Striker Alkhawaja Still Alive?

See also Bahrain Follow-Up: The Regime's PR Mission and Formula 1 Journalist Joe Saward
Turkey Live Coverage (26 April): From the Kurdish Language to Iranian Banks
Syria Wired: The Latest from Social Media and EA's Readers
Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Shelling of a Damascus Suburb

2028 GMT: The Local Coordination Committees in Syria claims 33 people have died across the country today, including 13 martyrs in Deir Ez Zor, 7in Aleppo Province, and 7 in Homs Province.

In addition, two bodies of people slain on Wednesday were reportedly thrown on a public road in Aleppo Province.

Protesters in Inshaat in Homs Province chant to Syria's President Assad: "Get lost!"

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Shelling of a Damascus Suburb

UN observers arrive in the Damascus suburb of Douma today

See also The Real Net Effect and Libya: The Information Campaign against the Qaddafi Regime
Bahrain Special: How Regime Supporters Became The "Silent Majority" for 3 Foreign Journalists
Turkey Live Coverage (25 April): Clashes with Kurdish Insurgents, Tension with Iraq
Tuesday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 80 Dead As UN Says Ceasefire "Incomplete"

2245 GMT: The US State Department has issued a statement expressing their deep concerns about the "increase in violence in Bahrain". This follows a renewal of their travel alert to Americans traveling to Bahrain, released earlier in the day. The State Department has been noticeably quiet on Bahrain in the past fortnight, following the US Ambassador's visits to the Defense Minister and Prime Minister on April 10th and 11th. Indeed, with the exception of a question on Friday about safety at the F1, Bahrain hasn't merited a mention in the recent daily State Department Press Briefings, despite the noticeable escalation in violence, suppression and regime intransigence.

The statement goes on to "urge the [Bahrain] government to consider urgently all available options to resolve the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja". With serious concerns about the current condition of AlKhawaja, who has been cut off from his family, his lawyer and the Danish Ambassador, this specific call by the State Department is a strong indication that they are very worried about the possibility of his death and the consequence that could have for the situation in Bahrain. However, with AlKhawaja now on day 77 of his hunger strike, such a call from the State Department may very well be too little too late.

The statement reads in full:

We are deeply concerned about the increase in violence in Bahrain, including the recent death of a protester, as well as the explosion last night that injured four policemen, two critically. We welcome the Ministry of Interior’s investigation into these incidents and look forward to seeing appropriate action taken to hold those responsible for these acts of violence to account.

We condemn the use of violence in all its forms – whether against peaceful demonstrators or police and government institutions – and urge all parties to reject such actions. Violent acts are counterproductive to efforts to rebuild trust and pursue meaningful reconciliation in Bahrain. We call on the Government of Bahrain to permit peaceful protest and to exercise maximum restraint in maintaining order, just as we call on all those demonstrating to do so peacefully.

As a longstanding partner, we continue to urge the Government of Bahrain to fully implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, including the need to commute the sentences of those charged with offenses involving peaceful political expression and to review all sentences rendered in State of National Safety Courts in a way that ensures the fundamental principles of a fair trial are respected. Specifically, we urge the government to consider urgently all available options to resolve the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. We also renew our call for the government, opposition parties, and all segments of Bahraini society to engage in a genuine dialogue leading to meaningful reforms that address the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis.

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Bahrain Analysis: Some Guy Wins Grand Prix, Regime Loses Legitimacy

Sunday's Grand Prix (Photo: Reuters)A Grand Prix run "without a hitch"? Not at all. The serious issue now is whether the regime will be successful in reducing the near-future to "just a hitch" which does not impede its legitimacy. The best it can hope for, however, is that media shrug their shoulders with the narrative of a "divided" Bahrain: that at least gives the authorities the Emperor's new clothes of stalwart support from a minority on the island, facing a more dangerous minority (Molotovs. Religious Extremism. Iran.) ---- and thus stability must be assured.<

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Bahrain Video: "Free Bird" --- A Daughter's Animated Conversation with Hunger Striker Abdulhadi Alkhawaja

Witness Bahrain illustrates a story told by activist Zainab al-Akhawaja after a recent phone conversation with her detained father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, the founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

Abdulhadi, held in a military hospital, is on Day 74 of his hunger strike.


Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Is Hunger Striker Alkhawaja Near Death?

A cameraman films Bahraini police surrounding the body of Salah Habib Abbas Alqattan, apparently slain by security forces --- near the end of the clip, a shot appears to be fired at him

See also Syria Wired: The Latest from Social Media and EA's Readers
Friday's Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Protest Here, Protest There, Protest Everywhere?

2228 GMT: We close today's coverage with two contrasting images from Bahrain....

Mohammed Hasan, a "fixer" for foreign journalists covering stories in the kingdom, has been released from detention after he was seized this morning:

But this photograph (Warning: Graphic) appears to confirm that protester Salah Habib Abbas Alqattan was killed by birdshot fired by security forces:

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Appealing to Damascus

Syrian President Assad and his wife Asma at an aid centre in Damascus, collection donations fo residents of Homs

See also Syria Feature: How the Uprising Has Damaged the Scientific Community
Syria Wired: The Latest from Social Media and EA's Readers
Tuesday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Cease-fire? 55 Dead on Monday

2056 GMT: A major, shocking headline, and a complete turnaround in rhetoric for the Bahraini regime:

The government of Bahrain cannot guarantee the safety of Formula One teams and spectators at this Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix as violence escalates in the Gulf kingdom, according to the British former police officer who is working on security at the track.

According to John Yates, the British law enforcement official who has been hired by the regime to revamp the Bahraini police, there was a possibility that security at the Formula 1 race could be compromised...

And the Bahraini police could resort to using live ammunition if necessary:

"The police will have all the options you would expect. If the opposition started firing live ammunition, the police would respond with live," he said, adding: "But I don't think that's likely."

This is a complete reversal for Yates, who once said that Bahrain was safer than London.

Yates insisted that the government continues to reform, and though security forces have sometimes overstepped their boundaries, those incidents were limited and being investigated. He denied that police were preemptively attacking villages.

The Ministry of Interior also released a statement today saying that rioters and vandals were arrested after having committed crimes.

However, as we saw today, police responded to the presence of protesters by challenging the crowds with riot police, and only showed restraint when they saw the media. Even with media present, the police still attacked. Other videos, taken over many months, show police randomly patrolling villages, looking for protesters to challenge, sparking reprisal attacks against the police. There does appear to be a pattern of police provocation, and the journalists in Bahrain have seen that with their own eyes.

Of course, there have also been incidents where protesters have used force against police. After 14 months of uprisings, however, and many months of John Yates, the situation has hardly gotten better.

In fact, it seems to be getting worse.

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Bahrain 1st-Hand: A Family Visit to Detained Hunger Striker Abdulhadi Alkhawaja

The family of detained human rights activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, was finally allowed to see him in a military hospital on Day 67 of his hunger strike. Zainab Alkhawaja, also a prominent activist, describes the visit:

We were allowed a 1 hr visit to see my father today.

We were escorted by police and soldiers into a small hospital room, where we were searched thoroughly several times. My father was brought to us, or a skeleton version of my father. I didn't think he could look worse than the picture we saw, but he did. He's so skinny I was surprised he could sit up to speak to us.

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Egypt, Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: So Who's in the Presidential Election?

See also Saturday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Protests Take Over<

1840 GMT: An EA correspondent reports on a security crackdown tonight in Bahrain:

All Sitra entrances and exists are blocked by checkpoints, not allowing anyone out or in unless they been searched. The whole village is filled with police forces, some in their jeeps while others on foot. They blocked the road near the police station too, not allowing anyone to pass there.

I believe there will be houses raids, as in Bani Jamra a couple days ago.

1830 GMT: Bahraini activist Zainab Alkhawaja brings urgent news:

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