The situation in Bahrain continues to simmer away. Here is a summary of some of the ongoing issues in Bahrain right now.
- The Commission of Inquiry continues to investigate and report on the events that happened in Bahrain in February and March 2011. However, a comment made by the head of the committee that no crimes against humanity were committed by the government has angered many people. “Crimes against humanity require two factors in order to be proven: they have to be systematic and political. None of those applied to the events that took place in Bahrain, said committee head Dr. Mahmoud Sherif Basyouni.”
- Meanwhile, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has published a list of Al Khalifa famiy who have personally been involved in beating and torturing pro-democracy protesters.
- Two prominent Bahraini women have been released on bail – but will be tried in a military, not civilian court. Roula al-Saffar is the head of the Bahrain Nursing Society and Jalila al-Salman is the Vice-President of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association. In June, the king announced that all court trials associated with the February-March protests would move to civilian courts but then in August, he issued a decree saying that this did not apply to those already arrested.
- This is a list of many of the medical personnel who have been in prison for more than 5 months.
1 Dr. Ali Al-Ekri- pediatric orthopedic surgeon
2 Dr. Nader Diwani -paediatrician
3 Dr. Ahmed Abdul Aziz Omran -family physician
4 Dr. Mahmoud Asgha – Pediatric surgeon –
5 Rola Al-Safar- Head of Bahrain Nursing Association
6 Dr. Abdulkhaleq AlOraibi- Rheumatologist
7 Dr. Ghassan Dhaif – Maxillofacial
8 Dr. Bassim Dhaif – Orthopedic surgeon
9 Sayed Marhoon AlWedaie -Director of Paramedics and Ambulances
10 Dr. Nada Dhaif -Dentist
11 Dr. Fatima Haji
12 Dheya Ibrahim Abu Idris – nurse
13 Dr. Najah Khalil AlHaddad -Deputy Chair, Bahrain health centers
14 Dr. Saeed Al-Samahiji -Ophthalmologist
15 Dr. Zahra Al-Sammak
Ali Hassan Alsddi, Ibrahim Abdullah Ibrahim, Hassan Mohammed Said, Mohammed Faiq Ali and Qassim Mohammed Omran
All these people are charged with actions along the lines of “ The possession of unlicensed weapons and ammunition; the attempt of forcefully occupying a public building (Salmaniya Hospital); Promotion to bring down and change the regime by illegal means; the confiscation of medical equipment.“ They have been tortured and humiliated. If you want to read more about how they have been treated, read the findings from the delegation of Irish doctors who visited Bahrain to try to get these medical personnel released.
5 Hundreds of other people also still remain in hospital on a variety of charges.
6. About 2500 people have been dismissed from their jobs in the past 5 months. This has affected thousands of other people as families suffer from lack of income.
7. Bahrain continues to recruit former soldiers and police from Pakistan.
8. Villages continue to attacked night after night with tear gas, rubber, and sometimes live bullets.
So, as this article in the Huffington Post comments, “the story is far from over. Bahrain is still tingling with tension, the air poisoned with suspicion, sectarianism more pointed than ever as the country slowly reverts to normal after its messy turn on the Arab Spring carousel. The establishment’s efforts at reconciliation have been dismissed by the opposition as mere window dressing for its oppressive policies. The passions unleashed in the short burst of protest against the soft authoritarianism are still coursing through the tiny Gulf island of just 1.2 million.” …. “Meanwhile, key opposition figures are still languishing in prison, or facing harassment and intimidation from the authorities. Jail sentences have been handed down for crimes like calling for regime change and holding a rally without permission (although the Crown Prince himself accepted the protests at the time). Activists describe ‘anti-Shia pogroms’ in the weeks after the crackdown: demonstrators being fired from their jobs, Shia mosques destroyed, and doctors facing charges for treating protesters.
All this suggests Bahrain’s establishment has no intention of relinquishing its grip on the country. That means maintaining its crude anti-Shia line and slowing political reform where it can. Yet it’s a strategy that runs obvious risks: by blocking calls for change, Bahrain’s rulers could well produce a class of opposition that is angrier than ever. If so, then they may well look back at the Valentine’s Day protests and rue their lost chances.”