For Immediate Release: November 23, 2011
Today the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, led by Cherif Bassiouni, released its report on the brutalities that occurred during this spring’s pro-democracy protests. Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley, on the ground in Bahrain, has issued the following statement:
“The Bassiouni Commission today confirmed what Human Rights First and other leading human rights organizations internationally have been saying for months – that thousands of people were arrested, tortured, and subjected to unfair trials. Thousands of workers and students were dismissed for association with the democracy protests. Bassiouni told the world what it already knew from media and human rights reports—that the calls for democracy were brutally crushed, and were not masterminded by Iran. Despite early claims that Tehran was behind the protests, the King conceded that ‘the government of Bahrain was not in a position to provide evidence of links between Iran and specific events in our country this year.’
“The onus is on the Bahrain government to stop and show that it has stopped attacking its population. Yet today, the opposition MP Matar Matar was due back in court for taking part in peaceful protests and there are reports of a 37-year-old man killed by a police vehicle. On Monday, November 28, the trial of 20 medics who treated wounded protesters resumes.
“When the Bahrain government’s own commission of inquiry confirms severe human rights violations and when some of those violations continue, it’s hard to see how the U.S. government can proceed with the proposed $53 million arms sale.”