1/14/2012

Bahrain puts Pakistani policemen on trial for using 'excessive force'

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - The two policemen are accused of “beating to death” Ali al-Saqer and Zakeriya al-Asheeri, said lawyer Mohammed al-Tajer, who is the representing the plaintiff families of the dead men.
Three other policemen are also facing charges of “concealing information about the crime,” he told AFP by telephone. The charges were filed by the public prosecution.
The trial of the five Pakistani policemen follows a government pledge to punish those behind torturing detainees, following a damning probe which accused police of using excessive force against protesters.
But Tajer, and the opposition, raised concerns that low-ranking officers were apparently being used as scapegoats to cover up what they claim to be the systematic torture of detainees after the clampdown.
“We want… to bring to trial the security bodies that those policemen worked for, whether that is the national security or the interior ministry,” said Tajer.
Al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s main Shia opposition formation, accused the judicial system of helping in “protecting those really responsible for crimes against humanity in Bahrain,” dismissing the trial as being a “mock” one.
“Torture is not just systematic. It is now a policy of the state,” it said in a statement.
The interior ministry has accused around 20 policemen of using torture against detainees, Tajer said.
Since mid-February, anti-discriminate protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty over-40-year rule.
Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar - were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13 to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.
Scores of people have been killed and hundreds more arrested in the brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in Bahrain, home to a huge American military installation for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf.
The Bahraini people have repeatedly condemned Riyadh's main role in the suppression of their revolution, and reiterated that they would continue protests until the collapse of the Al-Khalifa regime.