URGENT ALERT: BAHRAIN – Government brutally cracks down on protestors

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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24 December 2007

URGENT ALERT: BAHRAIN – Government brutally cracks down on protestors

1. Summary
2. Action required
3. Sample letters

1. Summary
Bahraini police, soldiers and special forces have been in violent confrontation with protestors and activists starting 17 December 2007. A protest marking the killing of a protestor ten years earlier, saw riot police fire tear gas on protestors. One protestor, Ali Jassem, aged 30, was killed. Initial reports suggested it was through the inhalation of excessive amounts of tear gas. Subsequent reports however claimed that witnesses saw Mr. Jassem being beaten by police.

Protests at the killing of Mr. Jassem have seen further arrests, some under anti-terrorism laws, and others under the penal law. Latter arrests have been linked to an attack on a police car and the theft of some weapons. Human rights groups are protesting the arrests citing the deliberate targeting of activists, many of whom have been picked up in night time raids on their homes. At the time of writing this alert some 40 people have been arrested and detained in a few days.

According to human rights activists in Bahrain, so far none of the detainees have had access to legal representation and many have suffered severe beatings at the hands of special forces. One activist prominent in movements of Social Justice, Mohammed Abdulla Yusuf Al-Singace (locally known as Abdali) who heads the Committee Against Inflation has been admitted to Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) Hospital due to deterioration of his health. Reports suggest he has been subjected to severe torture whilst being interrogated at the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB). Al-Singace is the brother of human rights activist Abduljalil Al-Singace, from the HAQ Movement.

2. Action required
a) Write to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in your country, urging him/her to raise this issue with his/her Bahraini to ensure that these attacks on civil liberties are immediately halted.

UK campaigners can write to:

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

b) Write to the Bahraini Ambassador in your country

UK campaigners can write to:

HE Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Khalifa
30 Belgrave Square
London, SW1X 8QB

Fax: +44 020 7201 9183
Email: enquiries@bahrainembassy.co.uk

c) Write to the Bahraini Minister of Interior.

Rashid bin Abdallah bin Ahmad al-Khalifa
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13
Manama, Bahrain

Fax: (973) 2262169

3. Sample letters
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Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is extremely important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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Sample letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs in your country (UK campaigners can use the address supplied)

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

[Date]

Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Dear Mr. Miliband,

Re: Arrests and treatment of protestors in Bahrain

I am deeply concerned at the current crackdown on protestors in Bahrain. In particular, I am alarmed at the arrest of so many people in such a short space of time. Despite government claims that these arrests relate to the theft of some weapons and the burning of a police car, it is notable that human rights and social justice activists like Mohamed Al-Singace have been included in the crackdown, which has involved beatings and the use of tear gas at demonstrations, as well as night time raids on homes of activists.

There have also been torture-allegations made against special forces, police and soldiers in this matter. Further, it is also reported that detainees still have not had access to legal representation.

I urge you to raise these issues with your Bahraini counterparts to ensure that these attacks on civil liberties are immediately halted and those detained for political reasons are released immediately.

I look forward to your response on these matters.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Sample letter to Bahraini Ambassador in your country (UK campaigners can use the address supplied)

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

[Date]

HE Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Khalifa
30 Belgrave Square
London, SW1X 8QB

Your Excellency,

Re: Arrests and treatment of protestors and activists in Bahrain

I am deeply concerned about reports of the arrest and ill treatment of protestors and activists in Bahrain. In particular I am alarmed at the arrest of so many people in such a short space of time. Despite government claims that these arrests relate to the theft of some weapons and the burning of a police car, it is notable that human rights and social justice activists like Mohamed Al-Singace have been included in the crackdown, which has involved beatings and the use of tear gas at demonstrations, as well as night time raids on homes of activists.

I am further concerned that detainees have not had access to legal representation.

There have also been torture-allegations made against special forces, police and soldiers in this matter. I urge you to immediately take action to release those detained. As Bahrain has committed itself in the last decade to better governance, these actions blacken Bahrain’s reputation.

I look forward to your response on these matters.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Sample letter to the Bahraini Minister of Interior

Your Name]
[Your Address]

[Date]

Rashid bin Abdallah bin Ahmad al-Khalifa
Ministry of Interior
P.O. Box 13
Manama, Bahrain

Your Excellency,

Re: Arrests and treatment of protestors and activists in Bahrain

I am deeply concerned about reports of the arrest and ill treatment of protestors and activists in Bahrain. In particular I am alarmed at the arrest of so many people in such a short space of time. Despite government claims that these arrests relate to the theft of some weapons and the burning of a police car, it is notable that human rights and social justice activists like Mohamed Al-Singace have been included in the crackdown, which has involved beatings and the use of tear gas at demonstrations, as well as night time raids on homes of activists.

I am further concerned that detainees have not had access to legal representation.

There have also been torture-allegations made against special forces, police and soldiers in this matter. I urge you to immediately take action to release those detained. As Bahrain has committed itself in the last decade to better governance, these actions blacken Bahrain’s reputation.

I look forward to your response on these matters.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below:

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Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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