For Immediate Release: November 9, 2012
Washington, D.C. – After a week of deaths, increased violence, and repression in Bahrain, Human Rights First urges the country to find a peaceful way forward before the human rights crisis deepens even further. On Monday the government reported that five home-made bombs killed two people in Manama. Reports also indicate that today a teenage boy was killed by traffic while running away from police.
“The human rights crisis is steadily worsening – this level of violence and repression cannot become the new normal for Bahrain,” said Brian Dooley of Human Rights First. “Over the last week several people have been killed, others have been taken into custody, and 31 have been stripped of their citizenship. Today crowds were prevented from reaching a mosque. Bahrain needs to pull back from this crisis before things slide even further.”
There have also been reports that large numbers of people were teargassed today by the police, who attempted to prevent them from attending a mosque in Diraz to hear cleric Sheikh Issa Qassim. Police have stopped media from reaching Diraz and blocked off roads and highways, and some arrests were made.
Leading human rights defender Said Yousif of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights was taken into custody a week ago, and since then three men have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to six months for criticizing Bahrain’s King Hamad on twitter. On Wednesday Bahraini authorities announced that they were revoking the citizenship of 31 men, including prominent dissidents, without due process on the grounds of “damage to state security.” That same day Jalila Al Salman, Vice President of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association, was taken back to prison to serve the remainder of a six-month sentence for her part in last year’s protests.
In a positive move, on Wednesday several leading opposition parties issued a declaration recommitting to peaceful means to achieve reform. The Nonviolent Principles Declaration was signed by opposition societies in Bahrain National Islamic Society (Alwefaq), National Democratic Assembly Society (AlQawmi), National Democratic Action Society (Waad), Unity Democratic Gathering Society (Wahdawy), National Brotherhood Society (Ekhaa) and Democratic Progressive Tribune (AlTaqadumy).
“After this week Bahrain is even further from solving its crisis. The bombings must stop; attacks on police must stop. The intimidation and jailing of civil society leaders must also stop. If Bahrain is to steer its way out of this increasingly dangerous predicament, people must be afforded their rights to peaceful expression and assembly,” concluded Dooley.