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Entries in Bahrain Center for Human Rights (19)


Bahrain (and Beyond) Live: Stepping Up the Formula 1 Protests

Protest in Bahrain's capital Manama on Wednesday night with the chant and horn blast, "Down, Down [King] Hamad"

1345 GMT: Egypt

The retrial of former President Hosni Mubarak, on charges of complicity in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that toppled him, will be held on 11 May.

The retrial was postponed last Saturday when the presiding judge suddenly stepped down.

Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison last June, but the verdict was suspended on appeal because of procedural irregularities.

Former Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly and six of his aides will also be tried again.

On the same day, the court will also hear a case against Mubarak, his sons Alaa and Gamal, and business tycoon Hussein Salem on corruption charges.

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Bahrain Feature: The Story of Taqi Abdulla, a US Citizen Detained by the Regime


Taqi Abdulla

The "difference" in Abdulla's case is a US citizen. This is not to say that Abdulla warrants more attention because he has a US passport, but his case illustrates Washington's reluctance to engage with the specific, day-to-day, realities for others in Bahrain. Opting for quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy, the US is seen by many as fundamentally complicit in the path of repression --- not reform --- which the regime has pursued throughout 2012.

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Bahrain Interview: Activist Said Yousif on His Beating and Detention

Human rights defender Said Yousif AlMuhafdha speaks to protesters in Bilad Qadeem last Sunday. (©AP Photo/Hasan Jamal)

Wednesday was supposed to be a day of fun for Said Yousif and his young daughters. Instead, it turned into fright and tears.

"I was driving to Manama with my two daughters," Yousif told EA. The girls, 4 and 2 years old, wanted their father to take them to play at Magic Island in the capital. But Yousif is not just a loving parent, he's also Head of Monitoring and Follow Up at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR). So, even on a fun evening with his girls, he finds it an obligation to keep an eye out for human rights abuses. As they were driving out of their home village of Aali, Yousif noticed a police checkpoint on the road that had caused a traffic jam.

Such checkpoints have been routinely opened and closed at different times of the day throughout Bahrain, usually without announcement, since mass protests began in February 2011. They are manned by traffic officers as well as riot police and law enforcement agents in plainclothes, wearing masks.

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Bahrain Special: The Killing of Hussam AlHaddad and the Unanswered Questions

Left: Hussam AlHaddad, killed by police Friday night. Right: Hussam's father says his final goodbye

Late Friday night, news began circulating on social media that 16-year-old Hussam AlHaddad was in critical condition after he was shot by security forces in Muharraq. Soon word came through that he had died in hospital from his injuries.

The circumstances of Hassam's killing remain murky, with allegations that he was beaten by citizens in civilian dress following the fatal shooting. Footage of Hussam's corpse shows that he was shot in the back and side, challenging the police narrative that the shooting was in self-defence. Marks on his back and shoulder also support the claim that he was hit as well as shot.

Late Saturday, the main opposition party AlWefaq announced a three-day state of mourning, with pleas to the people of Bahrain to abandon all joyful celebrations during Eid in respect to the martyr Hussam AlHaddad", adding that it will be lowering "flags to half-staff". The February 14 Youth Coalition called for further protest under the heading, "Our martyr Hussam ... Revenge will come".

The following account traces twenty-four hours in a country that US Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner recently described as "in a number of ways more stable than it was a year ago".

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Bahrain Special: 9 Reasons Why The Regime Gave Human Rights Activist Nabeel Rajab a 3-Year Sentence

Nabeel Rajab leading a march in April 2012

Whilst much of the Bahrain regime's ongoing repression is relatively free from international scrutiny, Thursday's sentencing of leading human rights activist Nabeel Rajab to three years --- on three separate charges of instigating and participating in "illegal gatherings" --- will not go unnoticed. In recent weeks, many international NGOs and even 19 members of the US Congress have called for the immediate release from detention of Rajab, who is also serving a three-month sentence for his messages on Twitter.

So why would the Bahraini regime, which has been desperately seeking to convince the international community that it is committed to reform, hand down the lengthy sentence, an act bound to create questions about its commitment?

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Bahrain Exclusive: An Interview with Maryam Alkhawaja 

Nabeel Rajab gets arrested, imprisoned for periods [weeks] at a time, and yet nothing from the State Department; nothing from the US administration. The situation right now as it is is that Nabeel is in prison, possibly for a little more than two months; Zainab Alkhawaja, who is also one of the most active activists, is unable to walk without crutches for at least six weeks afer she was directly targeted and shot in the leg at close range, which not only shattered her thigh bone, but removed all skin and tore the muscle. Removing two of the most well-known activists from the streets at this time seems to be too convenient right before Ramadan to be a coincidence.

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Bahrain Opinion: This is "Reform" --- The Imprisonment of Nabeel Rajab

Interview with Nabeel Rajab, moments before he was taken to prison on Monday

See also Bahrain 1st-Hand Special: The Coupled Suffering of Younis and Amina Ashoori

Human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been arrested once again. This time, he is going to serve a three-month prison sentence for his messages on Twitter,  found guilty of "insulting" the people of Muharraq village.

This is "reform".

This is a reform where a man is repeatedly detained and then convicted for 140 characters on social media but no one has been convicted of:

- The murder of dozens of protesters. 
- The torture in Bahrain's prisons. 
- The teargassing of residential areas where children have choked to death. 
- The trial and imprisonment of doctors for treating injured protesters. 
- The killing of Bahraini citizen journalists.

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Bahrain Document: Court Testimony of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja "I Have Been Subjected to Torture"

I, the Bahraini citizen Abdulhadi Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, have been subjected since April 9th 2011 to arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, psychological and physical torture, sexual assault and unfair trial, without having committed any offense for which I deserve legal punishment, in addition to torture and other violations criminalized by international and national laws. Please note that I do not belong to any association or political group, though this is not an offense in itself but rather a natural right of any human being.

These current and previous violations were in fact motivated by the thorny, difficult path which I have chosen, that is to defend human rights, not only as a matter of specialization and career --- given that I am a researcher and trainer in this area --- but also that I have decided that my duty is to stand with the oppressed and the victims of various abuses to which they are exposed.

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Bahrain Live Coverage: Activist Nabeel Rajab Released from Detention

Nabeel Rajab's remarks on release from detention today (English translation at 1605 GMT)

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: UN Condemns Houla "Massacre"...As Assad's Forces Shell Hama
Sunday's Bahrain Live Coverage: Regime on Human Rights "You Are Biased. P.S. We'll Sue You"

2030 GMT: The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has issued a statement on behalf of its founder, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, who ended his 110-day hunger strike today.

Alkhawaja informed his family, "In spite of not succeeding in achieving the main demand of his hunger strike, 'Freedom or Death', he was still able to achieve his overall goal of shedding light on the ongoing human rights situation in Bahrain."

At the same time, Alkhawaja had to consider "the policy of the Bahraini Authorities in force-feeding him, which was imposed since the 23rd of April, a blatant violation and torture according to international regulations". So, "in response to countless requests from those in solidarity with him, and his inmates in the detention center", he was ending the fast.

Alkhawaja, who appeared in court last week, said he would no longer attend hearings, including one scheduled tomorrow. He demanded "his immediate release and the dropping of all malicious charges and the [life] sentence issued by the National Safety Military Court", as well as "the necessary guarantees that would enable him to continue his activities in defending human rights in absolute freedom".

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Bahrain Live Coverage: Detaining Activists --- The "Twitter Excuse"

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Elections Today --- Sham or Substance?
Bahrain Live Coverage: Prominent Activist Nabeel Rajab Arrested

Cartoon: Carlos Latuff1653 GMT: The regime-linked Gulf Daily News has announced police reforms, including the construction of a state-of-the-art forensic laboratory, a "crime academy" to train officers, and 500 additional "community officers".

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