Canadian silence

This blog is a summary of an article in Global Research by Finian Cunningham.  Finian was expelled from Bahrain on 18 June 2011.  All quotes and the photograph are from this article.

Nasar A Raas

On 20 March of this year, a Canadian citizen, Naser Al Raas, was arrested at the airport in Bahrain as he was leaving the country.  He was taken to the Ministry of Interior headquarters in the Al Qala fortress in Manama where he was imprisoned and tortured for four weeks.  No criminal charges were laid.   During this period, he was forced to sign a piece of paper which it transpires was a confession.

After one month, Al Raas was released and brought before a military court in June. He was accused, with 12 other men, of ‘kidnapping a police officer and promoting crimes against the rulers’.  These kinds of fabricated charges are very common in Bahrain, for example the ongoing prosecution of the senior Bahraini medical specialist charged with ‘concealing machineguns and hospital beds’ and ‘exaggerating the wounds of patients for propaganda purposes, resulting in the death of patients’.  “In over 400 trials, confessions forced through torture are the sole basis for the prosecution case. In eerie show trial fashion, sometimes videos of defendants making confessions are even televised on Bahrain state TV before the verdicts are reached.”

Naser has had his passport confiscated and he cannot leave Bahrain.  He suffers from pulmonary embolism, a rare health condition and has had two open-heart operations in Canada.  He has been without medication which he requires since he was arrested. If Naser is found guilty at his next court appearance, he faces 20 years in prison.  Without medication, with an acute heart condition and already weakened from torture, this sentence would probably kill him.

Questions are being asked why the Canadian government and Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, have said nothing about Naser’s situation.  “The official silence may be due to a bilateral trade deal Canada is in the process of completing with the Bahraini regime, and also Ottawa’s increasing subordinance to Washington’s foreign policy and therefore unwillingness to upset an important US ally in the Persian Gulf.”….  ”In the grand scheme of Canada’s commercial trade interests and imperialist intrigues in the Gulf, the fate of one of its citizens appears to be a matter that needs to be buried rather than raised. The case of Naser Al Raas begs the question: have western governments become so lawless and wanton in their geopolitical calculations that even the basic human rights of their own citizens are now worthless?”



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