Bahrain: Martyrs Day commemorated, children persecuted

Bahrain: Martyrs Day commemorated, children persecuted

The Martyrs Day was marked by Bahraini people on Tuesday 17th December in their revolutionary styles of protests, demonstration, visits to martyrs families and graves of those murdered by the Alkhalifa regime. On Tuesday night most towns and villages were engaged in an activity in one form or another to mark the occasion which has become rallying point for anti-regime activism for the past two decades. On 17th December 1994 two Bahraini youths were shot by police using live bullets. It was the beginning of the longest-ever uprising that continued until 2000. Hani Khamis and Hani Al Wasti were demonstrating against the regime in two separate locations (Jidhafs and Sanabis) when they were shot. Since then annual demonstrations continued to mark the “Martyrs Day”. On that day in 2007 another martyr was killed. Ali Jassim, 22, lost his life after he had taken part in a demonstration to mark the day. The regime’s forces took harsh measures in a desperate attempt to stop the country-wide protests. But it failed. To revenge that the regime’s forces stormed the residential areas in Aali, Duraz, Bani Jamra, Sitra and other towns, arrested people and raided many homes. Among the detained is Isa Al Aali from Manama who had been taken away to unknown location, where torture is routine, especially the secret houses in various locations.

In UK, the Bahraini opposition organized several events including a special service for the martyrs at one of the mosques, protests outside Downing Street and the Saudi Embassy, a demonstrations on Saturday 14th December, a roundtable discussion among Bahraini human rights bodies at the Headquarters of Human Rights Watch (Monday 16th December) and a seminar at the House of Lords on Tuesday 17th December. Lord Avebury chaired the event at the House of Lords saying that the situation in Bahrain has now sunk further into repression and dictatorship. He criticized the UK government for failing to support the people and continuing to receive Bahrain’s dictators. A prominent Human Rights lawyer, Daniel Carey of London-based Pierce Deighton Glynn law firm talked of his work trying to stop the 1.6 million gas canisters to be supplied by a South Korean company to Bahrain’s brutal regime. Sarah Walden of the Campaign Against Arms Trade  said that the  UK is likely to approve more arms deals to Bahrain, thus offering legitimacy to the regime. When Bahrain buys UK arms, she said, it knows that it buys UK silence too.  Jawad Fairooz , a former MP from Al Wefaq block talked about the significance of the Martyrs Day and called for concrete international action to bring those responsible for human rights violations in Bahrain to justice. Mrs Jalila Ni’ma, the aunt of Martyr Ali Ni’ma talked about the ordeals of the martyrs families and how they are persecuted to the limit. She called on the world to exert pressure on the regime to stop this persecution and prosecute killers of their sons instead.

A special report by Amnesty International published this week described how Bahrain’s children have become victims of regime’s brutality. The report said that children are being routinely detained, ill-treated and tortured. It provides an insight into the secret world of the Alkhalifa dungeons where children are subjected to horrific torture including beating and rape.

The use of public relations firms in UK and USA by the Alkhalifa regime is increasing with people’s wealth lavishly spent to defend the hereditary dictatorship.  According to John Horne of Bahrain Watch, the Washington-based PR company, Qorvis was paid  $239,844 by Bahrain Embassy in US between April and  September this year. An article by former Bahrain Ambassador to US in The Hill was secured by PR firm Qorvis. He also said: I have found out today that one of Bahrain’s favorite UK PR firms “Gardant Communications” is now called Meade Hall & Associates.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
18th December 2013