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2020 GMT: Bahrain. Speaking before a Congressional committee enquiring into human rights in the kingdom, US Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner has called on the regime to take three steps to implement the "reform" sought by last November's report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry:
First, there are several hundred pending criminal cases related to the events of February and March 2011. Many individuals have been in detention for over a year. The government continues to prosecute 20 political activists and appeals cases are ongoing in the prosecution of respected medical professionals. In addition to the ongoing cases against doctors and nurses, we are discouraged by the Court of Appeals’ decision to issue a gag-order banning the media from reporting on trials for the 20 high-profile activists. We urge the Government of Bahrain to ensure fair and expeditious trials in appeals cases and to drop charges against all persons accused of offenses involving political expression and freedom of assembly....
Second, we call on the Government of Bahrain to hold accountable those officials responsible for the violations described in the BICI report....
Third,...further efforts need to be made to enhance the professionalization of the police. Ongoing violence in the streets between police and protesters points to the need for professional, integrated police and security forces that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve and that adopt a community policing approach.
However, activists have noticed the limits in Posner's call for change --- for example, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain has noted this exchange between Representative James McGovern and the Assistant Secretary of State:
Posner: we've said 2 things: in cases where people have been prosecuted for peaceful protests should be released— ADHRB (@ADHRB) August 1, 2012