11/28/2011

Commission: U.S.-Backed Bahrain Government Killed, Tortured Pro-Democracy Activists

DEMOCRACY NOW

A special commission in Bahrain has confirmed the gulf nation killed and tortured dissidents during its crackdown on pro-democracy protests earlier this year.The King of Bahrain has reportedly ordered a special commission to explore recommendations issued in the wake of the massive report. Cherif Bassiouni, head of the Bahrain inquiry, described some of the tactics employed by the Bahraini government.
Cherif Bassiouni, Bahrain inquiry chief: '’Violent beatings, punching, hitting with rubber hoses, hitting with electric wires on the feet, hitting with sticks and metal sticks and wooden sticks and other things and electric shocks and sleep deprivation and exposure to high temperatures and verbal abuse and threats of rape and insults to religious faiths. In general, these acts come under the definition of torture according to anti-torture convention.'’
According to the commission a total of 2,929 people were detained during the protests and at least 700 remain in prison. 35 people are believed to have died in the unrest between February and March and 11 more are suspected to have been killed later on. In addition to torture, international organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations human rights agency, have accused the government of using excessive force and carrying out unfair trials. Activist Alaa Shahabi says conditions on the ground in Bahrain continue to worsen.
Alaa Shahabi, activist: "There is ongoing violence, there are ongoing abuses, there is a complete lack of faith that the government will even read the report let alone implement the recommendations, and I for one, my husband has been in jail for 4 months and the report didn’t go as far as demanding the immediate unconditional release of our 500 political prisoners in Bahrain today."