Saudi Newspaper: Riyadh Blocks Qatari Media Websites for Displaying News “Harming Bahrain Security”


2017-05-26 - 6:19 p
Bahrain Mirror: Al-Hayat Saudi Newspaper said that the Ministry of Culture and Media in the Kingdom blocked many Qatari media website for displaying incitement against Bahrain.
The newspaper clarified that the Ministry blocked each of "Jazeera.net, the Qatari News Agency, Al-Watan Newspaper, Al-Arab Newspaper, Al-Shareq Newspaper, Al-Raya Newspaper, and all pages of Al-Jazeera." It clarified that this came after these media outlets issued statements insulting the Prince of Qatar, and displayed news that harm the security of Bahrain.
Moreover, the Saudi newspaper added that "Al-Jazeera Channel incited for the third day in a row against the security of Bahrain, and criticized the ongoing security campaign against sites of hideout for individuals wanted for Bahraini authorities." This is in reference to the raid on Diraz, which resulted in the martyrdom of 5 martyrs, according to Bahrain's Ministry of Interior.

Washington Post: After Assurances by Trump, Bahrain Mounts Deadliest Raid in Years on Opposition


 2017-05-26 - 1:32 p
Bahrain Mirror:  The American "Washington Post" newspaper described Diraz raid as the deadliest one carried out by the Bahraini government on opposition in years.
The newspaper said in a report published on Wednesday (May 24, 2017) that "a raid by government forces in Bahrain against a pro-opposition stronghold has left at least five people dead and hundreds detained in one of the deadliest crackdowns since protests erupted in 2011 against the Persian Gulf nation's Western-backed monarchy."
Opposition activists said that the police targeted a peaceful sit-in outside the home of Bahrain's leading Shiite cleric and that the dead included an environmental activist.
Protests and clashes have flared for years in the tiny but strategic island nation between the Sunni-led monarchy and Bahrain's majority Shiite population, which has complained of discrimination and other abuses.
The newspaper added that "the timing of the raid was striking, coming two days after President Trump publicly assured the king of Bahrain that their relationship would be free of the kind of "strain" that had occurred in the past - an apparent reference to the Obama administration's periodic chiding of Bahrain over its human rights violations."
Trump's widely anticipated speech, included assurances to the gulf's Sunni states that "our friends will never question our support."
In Bahrain, the government's opponents viewed the conference and Trump's appearance with the Bahraini monarch as providing tacit approval for the raid on Tuesday.
The Washington post went on to say that Bahrain's Ministry of Information Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for more details on the circumstances that led to the deaths or about the evolving U.S. relationship with Bahrain.
Political life and sectarian relations have steadily deteriorated since the government, with help from Persian Gulf allies, quashed a Shiite-led pro-democracy uprising in 2011. Since then, Bahrain's most prominent opposition figures have been imprisoned, fled the country or are facing prosecution.


Five killed during Bahrain police raid on protest


DUBAI: Five people were killed in Bahrain on Tuesday after police opened fire on a protest by supporters of a top cleric in a Shiite village, the interior ministry said, in the latest unrest to hit the Sunni-ruled Gulf state.
"Five deaths have been registered among the outlaws" in Diraz, near the capital of Manama, where the police opened fire to disperse the sit-in outside the home of cleric Isa Qassim, the ministry said in a Twitter message.
Witnesses had earlier told AFP that several civilians were wounded when police officers fired at demonstrators throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at security forces.
"A total of 286 arrests were made, including fugitives that had escaped from Jau Prison," the ministry said.
"Several terrorists and convicted felons were also apprehended with a large number of them hiding in the residence of Isa Qassim," it added.
Qassim is considered the spiritual leader of Bahrain´s majority Shiite community.
The kingdom has been rocked by unrest since 2011, when local authorities backed by a Saudi military force crushed Shiite-led protests demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.
Earlier Tuesday, the Britain-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) had announced one death as the police moved to disperse the long-running protest.
Amnesty International identified that protester as Mohamed Zayn al-Deen, 39, and said he had died of birdshot wounds to the head.
The police operation came just days after President Donald Trump met with Bahrain´s King Hamad in Saudi Arabia at the weekend, where the US leader made a clear break from previous US policy.
Trump told the king on Sunday it was "a great honour to be with you" and said there "has been a little strain but there won´t be strain with this administration".
The Bahrain authorities have accused Qassim, sentenced Sunday to a suspended one-year jail term for illegal fundraising and money laundering, of serving "foreign interests" and promoting "sectarianism and violence".
A court last year stripped him of his citizenship, sparking repeated sit-ins outside his residence in Diraz.
Bahraini authorities have also accused Iran of fomenting unrest in the kingdom, ruled for more than two centuries by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty. Tehran has denied any involvement.
The government´s clampdown on dissent has drawn harsh condemnation from international rights groups and governments.


Bahrain security forces storm village of top Shia cleric


 by: Simeon Kerr in Dubai

Security forces stormed the village of Bahrain’s top Shia cleric on Tuesday, vowing to “enforce security and general order” as violence escalates in the Gulf state.

Activists said police backed by armoured vehicles used shotguns and tear gas in the raid on Diraz, home to Sheikh Isa Qassim. There were unconfirmed reports that one person was killed in the operation. Bahrain, which hosts a US naval base, has been plagued by sectarian tensions, with accusations that the Sunni-dominated government discriminates against the Shia majority.

Shia protests have intensified since the 2011 Arab uprisings, and the government has responded by stifling dissent, banning the main Shia opposition group, al-Wefaq, and revoking the nationality of Mr Qassim. A court last week gave the cleric a suspended one-year jail sentence for financing extremism in the Gulf archipelago. Police have surrounded Diraz, which is on the outskirts of Manama, the capital, for months after people began a sit-in around Mr Qassim’s house. When his nationality was revoked last year, he was accused of “serving foreign interests” and promoting “sectarianism and violence”. The cleric denied both charges made against him. The accusations were interpreted as a reference to Iran, which Bahrain accuses of stoking Shia militancy in the Gulf state. Shia activists deny the claims and blame the government, which is supported by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Gulf states, for fuelling sectarianism.

The police operation was launched two days after Donald Trump met Bahrain’s King Hamad and pledged to improve relations with the kingdom as the US president rallies a Sunni coalition against Iran. His stance contrasts with that of the Obama administration, which blocked arms sales to Bahrain because of human rights concerns. It also angered Gulf states by signing the nuclear deal with Tehran in 2015.

“Our countries have a wonderful relationship together, but there has been a little strain, but there won’t be strain with this administration,” Mr Trump told King Hamad on his visit Saudi Arabia, where he met Arab leaders. Human rights activists said Mr Trump’s rhetoric against Iran and his strong display of support for Gulf states may have emboldened Bahrain. “The Bahraini security forces’ operation in Diraz, which appears to have already claimed at least one life, looks like a strategic show of strength aimed at ending a peaceful and legitimate protest,” said Nicholas McGeehan of Human Rights Watch. “The timing of this operation — two days after King Hamad’s convivial meeting with President Trump — can hardly be a coincidence.” The Bahraini government said the operation on Diraz was targeting “a meeting ground of fugitives”. It claims that it is challenging a radical minority that is using increasingly violent tactics against the police. An interior ministry statement said 50 fugitives were arrested in the raid on Diraz, some of whom had escaped from prison. It said “several terrorists” used the cleric’s home to try to avoid arrest. Last month, the kingdom reintroduced military trials for civilians who “threaten state security”, reversing one of the reforms it introduced under international pressure in the wake of the 2011 uprising.


Don’t Profit From Abuses by Bahrain


Yemen has entered its third year of war, and war crimes are being committed at an escalating rate. For Yemen’s children, facing a man-made famine, this conflict between Houthi rebels and a coalition led by Saudi Arabia has begun a new phase of horrors.
Despite that, President Trump is planning to make Saudi Arabia the destination of his first state visit this week. Meanwhile, his administration already decided to lift all human rights restrictions on arms sales to my country, Bahrain, which is a partner in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. This reckless pursuit of profit without any strings attached — including a lucrative deal for 19 F-16 fighter jets worth $2.8 billion — will aid and abet the destruction of Yemen, intensifying the country’s humanitarian disaster.
It fills me with shame that my country, Bahrain, is bombing Yemen, with United States support. And while the Saudi-led coalition continues its air assault on Yemen, Bahrain is also trying to crush civil society back home. This other, domestic campaign is aimed at people who, like me, cannot abide injustice and are willing to speak out.
Even so, we look to our friends in United States for strength and a united vision for a better future. Americans expect to have a government that is accountable, and that respects and protects its people’s rights. That is our great ambition, also, in the Gulf.
Continue reading the main story
We know we risk much in calling for this. Some of my fellow activists have been tortured, sentenced to life imprisonment, even killed. But I believe that respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms is the way to attain peace, stability and prosperity in any nation; I have devoted my life to that ideal.
Criticizing war crimes and torture on Twitter, speaking to journalists about our dire situation in Bahrain and the Gulf, and writing this newspaper: For these actions, I now face a total of 18 years’ imprisonment. I’ve already spent more than 10 months in jail, mostly in solitary confinement. One of the charges against me derives from my taking a stand against the war in Yemen — not only because it causes misery and tragic loss of life, but also because it fosters violence and terrorism across the region.
Does the Trump administration know that former Bahraini soldiers have left the country to join the Islamic State? Does Washington know that Bahrain allows no Shiite citizens in its military even though Shiites are a majority of the population? Does the White House know that the Bahraini Army is a sectarian force that publishes books endorsing the murder of Shiites who do not “repent”?
When I criticized the fostering of extremism in the Bahraini Army, I was tossed into prison for six months. Bahrain’s king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa,has just approved a constitutional amendment allowing military courts to try civilians on unspecified charges of “terrorism.” It is a law so vague and sweeping that my act of criticism could now result in a military prosecution.
This same Bahraini military, newly empowered, will soon be awarded its new American-made jets to fly over Yemen.
Bahraini citizens recognize that the United States is a superpower, but that status should not depend solely on its military capacity. American power should also be built on respect for justice, equality and human rights — the core principles upon which the United States was founded. It is these values that should dictate American foreign policy, not the profit margin of Lockheed Martin, maker of those F-16s destined for Bahrain.
The Trump administration must review its relations with authoritarian regimes like Bahrain’s. These problematic alliances cost the United States far more in the long term than any gain it makes from arms deals. Human rights and justice should be a consistent priority in American foreign policy, not applied in one case, ignored in another.
All our destinies are tied together. What will happen to Bahrain if everyone who supports peace, democracy and the rule of law is in jail? To whom will Bahrain’s disenfranchised youth turn to for support and guidance? These are the questions the Trump administration must ask itself before it sends my jailers another batch of fighter jets.
I am realistic about what to expect. After all, President Trump recently played host in Washington to Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince andEgypt’s president for life without bringing up human rights. But I have faith in the American people and civil society, as well as the lawmakers who continue to challenge these shortsighted, morally unsound policies.
Meanwhile, my trial date kept being moved. First, it was set for April 16. But this was the day of Bahrain’s Formula One Grand Prix, the biggest sports event in the country, so that was embarrassing for the government. Then, my trial was rescheduled for May 3. But that happened to be World Press Freedom Day, so the authorities pushed the date back again, to this week.
My detention has entered its 11th month. My health has declined. I’m recovering from a painful surgical procedure, yet the authorities have made every part of my detention as difficult as possible. My lawyers have been obstructed from providing me the best possible defense. But what I have endured is a small fraction of what the people of Yemen have suffered, largely because of the military intervention of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and their allies.
For my part, I will not stand idly by. I urge Americans not to do so, either. They must all call for an end to the Trump administration’s unconditional support for my country’s misdeeds at home and abroad.


Bahrain, Fadhel Radhi sarà il primo imputato civile sottoposto alla corte marziale


by Riccardo Noury
Portavoce di Amnesty International Italia

Fadhel Radhi è stato arrestato il 29 settembre 2016 nella sua abitazione di Hamad Town, a sud-ovest della capitale Manama. Per oltre sette mesi è stato isolato dal mondo esterno, salvo qualche sporadica e breve telefonata ai familiari. Privo di assistenza legale, è stato sottoposto a ripetuti interrogatori nel corso dei quali, ha raccontato, è stato costretto a firmare una “confessione” che rischia di essere usata come prova durante il processo. Per non si sa quali capi d’accusa, dato che il suo avvocato (ora ne ha uno) non ha ricevuto alcuna informazione in merito.
Il prossimo imputato a finire in corte marziale potrebbe essere Al-Sayed Alawi Hussain al-Alawi, a sua volta “desaparecido” per oltre sei mesi dopo l’arresto, eseguito nell’ottobre 2016. Anche nella sua vicenda, non si sa di cosa sia accusato e se sia stata usata la tortura per strappargli qualche ammissione di colpevolezza. Inutile sottolineare che il diritto internazionale vieta che gli imputati civili siano processati dai tribunali militari. Di queste e altre norme, forte della protezione politica di Usa e Regno Unito, il Bahrain ha mostrato ampiamente di disinteressarsi.
Sabato 20 maggio, al Salone off di Torino, verrà presentato il primo libro edito in Italia sul Bahrain. L’autrice è Adriana Fara, la prefazione è mia. L’appuntamento è alle 17 alla Cascina Roccafranca, via Rubino 45.


Activist: 3 detained in Bahrain over UK horse show protests


An activist says three fellow campaigners have been detained in Bahrain over their protests targeting the tiny island nation's king during a horse show in the United Kingdom.
Sayed Alwadaei, the director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said the arrests happened Saturday. He says those detained include his sister.
The detentions come as activists have been protesting King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's presence at the Royal Windsor Horse Show taking place in Britain. Already, state-run Bahrain News Agency photographs have shown King Hamad there with Queen Elizabeth II and Dubai ruling family members.
Bahrain is in the midst of a major crackdown on dissent, years after its rulers crushed its 2011 Arab Spring protests. Authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


CPJ, Commitee to Protect Journalist

Sandra Mims Rowe
Terry Anderson
Joel Simon
Andrew Alexander
Franz Allina
Christiane Amanpour ABC NEWS
Dean Baquetthe NEW YORK TIMES
John S. Carroll
Rajiv Chandrasekaran THE WASHINGTON
Josh Friedman
Anne Garrels
Cheryl Gould NBC NEWS
Arianna Huffington AOL HUFFINGTON POST
Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Gwen Ifill PBS
Jonathan Klein GETTY IMAGES
Mhamed Krichen AL-JAZEERA
David Laventhol
Lara Logan CBS NEWS
Rebecca MacKinnon
Kati Marton
Michael Massing
Geraldine Fabrikant Metz THE NEW YORK
Victor Navasky THE NATION
Andres Oppenheimer THE MIAMI HERALD
Norman Pearlstine BLOOMBERG L.P.
Ahmed Rashid
María Teresa Ronderos SEMANA.COM
Diane Sawyer ABC NEWS
David Schlesinger THOMSON REUTERS
Jacob Weisberg THE SLATE GROUP
Brian Williams NBC NEWS
Matthew Winkler BLOOMBERG NEWS
330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001 USA
PHONE: +1 (212) 465-1004
FAX: +1 (212) 465-9568
Sandra Mims Rowe
Kathleen Carroll
Terry Anderson
Joel Simon
Stephen J. Adler REUTERS
Franz Allina
Amanda Bennett
Krishna Bharat
Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Josh Friedman
Anne Garrels
Cheryl Gould
Charlayne Hunter-Gault
Jonathan Klein GETTY IMAGES
Mhamed Krichen AL-JAZEERA
Lara Logan CBS NEWS
Rebecca MacKinnon
Kati Marton
Michael Massing
Geraldine Fabrikant Metz
Victor Navasky THE NATION
Ahmed Rashid
David Remnick THE NEW YORKER
Alan Rusbridger
David Schlesinger
Karen Amanda Toulon BLOOMBERG NEWS
Jacob Weisberg THE SLATE GROUP
Jon Williams ABC NEWS (Ex Officio)
Matthew Winkler BLOOMBERG NEWS

April 27, 2017

HM Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa
Office of HM the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace
Kingdom of Bahrain
Via Fax: +973 1766 4587

Your Majesty,

We write today to express our collective concern about Bahrain’s
seeming attempt to silence independent reporting within the country.
The government has over the past year refused to grant accreditation to
several of its own citizens who report for foreign and independent media,
including those working for The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse,
France 24, and Monte Carlo Doualiya. It has on multiple occasions not granted
media visas to foreign journalists seeking entry. One of the Bahraini journalists
refused a routine accreditation renewal, Nazeeha Saeed, now faces
prosecution for continuing to work.

As recently as last month, Mohammed Al-Shaikh, who worked as a
photographer for Agence France-Presse until Bahraini authorities refused to
renew his accreditation last year, was arrested upon his return from a trip
overseas and held for more than 24 hours over his work for AFP.

For several days in January, the government of Bahrain banned Al-Wasat
newspaper from publishing online. In rescinding that order, the government
warned all media outlets to avoid “posting anything that incites divisions or
discord within the community, undermines national unity or disturbs the
That wording is so broad that it could be used to justify targeting almost any
legitimate newsgathering that authorities do not like. We strongly call on the
government to reverse these needless policies.

These recent actions have had a chilling effect on the media’s ability to cover
Bahrain at a time when the country faces a growing set of challenges. The
apparently coordinated action against journalists working for international
news agencies suggests that Bahrain—which prides itself as being a business
friendly, reform-minded beacon of openness and tolerance—aims to block
independent news and images from reaching the wider world.

We collectively call on you to instruct your government to allow journalists to
freely operate in Bahrain and to give foreign media organizations equal access
to the country. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter further.
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Agence France-Presse (AFP)
The Associated Press (AP)
France 24
International Press Institute (IPI)
Monte Carlo Doualiya
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

H.E. Ambassador Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Khalifa
Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain
3502 International Dr. NW,
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 362 2192
Email: ambsecretary@bahrainembassy.org