MOI Statement: one policeman died, eight others injured in terrorist act


The Interior Ministry announced that its police bus was targeted at 5:26 PM on Friday while driving on Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman highway towards Manama near Jidhafs.  One policeman died and eight others sustained serious and medium injuries in the terrorist crime. The wounded police personnel were referred to hospital for treatment.
The Ministry highlighted that a group of terrorists targeted the bus with a remotely detained homemade bomb.  After the case was reported, concerned authorities moved to the crime scene and investigation was launched in the terror crime to arrest those behind it, in order to bring them to justice. Legal proceedings have commenced and the Public Prosecution was notified.


Bahrain Postpones Nabeel Rajab’s Appeal against Two-Year Prison Term


 Bahraini court has postponed yet another hearing for imprisoned human rights defender Nabeel Rajab today, 25 October 2017. President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Rajab has been arbitrarily detained since 13 June 2016 on charges related solely to free expression. On 10 July 2017, he was sentenced to a two-year prison term in one case stemming from media interviews in which he discussed the kingdom’s restrictions on free press. Today’s postponement was a hearing for his appeal of this conviction, which is now set to reconvene for final arguments on 8 November.
In addition to this two-year team, Rajab faces another 15 years in a separate trial for comments made on social media in which he criticized the war in Yemen and systematic torture in Bahrain. The government has pushed his next hearing for this case to 19 November. Furthermore, the authorities have also threatened to prosecute Rajab over editorials that have been published in the New York Times and Le Monde during his detention.
Rajab has spent much of his detention in solitary confinement and unhygienic conditions that have led to a drastic deterioration of his health and repeated hospitalizations.
American officials have consistently called on the Bahraini government to release Rajab since both his arrest and recent conviction. “The sentencing of Mr. Rajab demonstrates a serious step backwards, and undermines my confidence in the Bahraini government’s commitment to reform,” said Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). The Bahraini authorities have shown a “troubling lack of commitment…to the rule of law, due process, human rights, and protection of universal freedoms.” Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), another member of the SFRC, called the July sentence “outrageous,” and the State Department indicated that the administration is “disappointed by the verdict” and reiterated its previous calls for Rajab’s release.
Despite these clear concerns, the US government has increasingly sent mixed messages to Bahrain, with the State Department recently approving an unconditional $3.8 billion arms sale to Bahrain. Though Congress can still decide to impose holds on the deal, it appears to currently be proceeding with informal pre-approval from SFRC leadership. The Trump administration dropped Obama-era restrictions on a portion of the sale that were intended to incentivize human rights reforms.
Nabeel Rajab is held solely for his human rights work, and the Government of Bahrain must immediately release and drop all charges against him. Bahraini authorities should also allow Rajab to travel internationally and seek necessary medical attention. The US and the rest of international community must be unequivocal in their calls for this outcome, and must push the Bahraini government to release all prisoners of conscience detained for exercising their basic human rights.


Bahrain sends civilian 'cell' to military court


Posted on 22 October 201

DUBAI: Bahraini authorities have referred a group of civilians accused of targeting security forces to a military court, state media said Sunday, months after a constitutional amendment expanded the court's reach.
General Youssef Rashid Fleifel, the head of Bahrain's military justice department, announced a civilian "terrorist cell" had been charged and would face a military trial, state news agency BNAreported.
Fleifel did not give further detail on the number or identities of those to stand trial, a date for which has yet to be announced.
Bahrain's parliament in April approved a constitutional amendment, ratified by the king, granting military courts the right to try civilians on terrorism-linked charges or attacks on the country's security forces.
The constitution had previously limited military trials to members of the army or security forces.
Authorities sent the first civilian case to military court in May. No details on that case against Fadhel Radhi, arrested in September 2016, have been made public.
A key US ally located between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain since 2011 has been rocked by unrest as authorities continue to crack down on protests demanding a change in government.
The tiny Gulf archipelago is home to a majority Shiite population and has been ruled for more than two centuries by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty.
The main island is also home to the US Fifth Fleet and a British military base that is still under construction.
Bahrain has accused Iran of backing the protests to destabilise the country, an accusation Tehran denies. — AFP

Another Month of Migrants’ Rights Violations in Bahrain


Following a series of reported violations in August, human trafficking and migrant rights abuses have continued to emerge in Bahrain over the past month. On 18 September 2017, Bahraini authorities announced they would be prosecuting five men on charges relating to forcing domestic workers into prostitution. The Public Prosecution Office formally accused the men of human trafficking, rape, abduction, and other crimes. According to the announcement, five Asian women reported that they came to the kingdom to work as housemaids but left their sponsors and were later forced into prostitution by the defendants. Investigations are still ongoing to uncover the extent of this crime and how large the prostitution ring actually is.
Despite these apparent law enforcement efforts, the Government of Bahrain has failed to institute significant new measures to address trafficking and other migrant rights abuses. While top officials have attended high-profile meetings and expressed concern for this pressing issue, few real reforms have been seen. For example, the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) Chief Executive Officer Osama Abdulla Al-Absi led Bahrain’s delegation to the meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA), which was held on 26 Setpember in Beirut, Lebanon. At this meeting Al-Absi spoke on the state’s new Flexi permit system, ensuring the rights of migrants, and the establishment of a center dedicated to protecting foreign workers. This followed a 20 September meeting on forced labor, modern slavery, and human trafficking at the United Nations in New York, where Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa stressed the need for immediate action, highlighting Bahrain’s ratification of relevant international conventions like the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, as well as the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
But, while the extension of Bahrain’s rhetorical and international commitments to migrant rights is promising, these statements appear to have had little effect on recent rates of abuse. On 19 September, for example, local media reported that almost 80 expatriate workers were living in a single, unsafe building as a de facto camp. The building, which had been ordered to be demolished, was still covered a by a roof that had previously fallen in on the laborers inside the building. While the building was quite literally falling down around inhabitants, the land lord continued to charge rent and was even attempting to add further rooms to the building.
Similarly, earlier in the month, the body of a dead expatriate worker was finally returned to his home country of India for burial after years of legal complications. The worker, Thandavam had died in July after spending 35 years stuck in Bahrain because his legal paperwork had been lost. He died at the age of 58 having arrived in Bahrain in 1983. Thandavam’s body was kept in Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) mortuary for the past two months, labelled “unidentified”.
Fortunately, a comparable case finally appears to be reaching resolution: Udair Karuppaiah has spent two years in Bahrain after being abandoned in the kingdom by his Saudi sponsor. Without current legal documents that would allow him to leave the country and travel home to India, Karuppaiah had little recourse and was stuck in Bahrain. During the period of time in which he was stranded in Bahrain, his mentally disabled daughter passed away. After attempting to work with the Indian embassy and making desperate pleas to the media, Karuppaiah was told he would be sent home in August after his outstanding dues had been settled. When this plan was unsuccessful he again sought remedy, telling the media: “I have no money on me at all… I just want to go back home. Hope the officials understand the difficult state I am in.” Now, inOctober, it seems that the Indian embassy has successfully navigated Karuppaiah a way home and he is set to return imminently. Following this latest update, Karuppaiah was quoted as saying that “I am really thankful to the media for raising the issue and so delighted to be heading back home after years of misery.”
Though it appears his situation may finally be remedied, Udair is just one example of the many expatriates that continue to suffer under the abusive tenets of Bahrain’s sponsorship system. Given the language expressed by many government officials in the previous month, Bahrain should uphold these commitments and institute additional reforms to protect and address the needs of migrant workers.
Emily Stone is an Advocacy Intern at ADHRB.


@scortamediatica per Giulio Regeni

Studies and Research on Middle East and Africa aderisce a @scortamediatica per Giulio Regeni
La Federazione nazionale della stampa italiana ha presentato, venerdì 13 ottobre alle 17.30 nella sua sede ufficiale di corso Vittorio Emanuele II a Roma, l’iniziativa della costituzione di una “scorta mediatica” per Giulio Regeni.
Oltre a rappresentanti di Amnesty International Italia, Fnsi e Articolo 21, presente l’avvocata Alessandra Ballerini, legale della famiglia Regeni. Nell’occasione sono stati resi noti i nomi dei primi firmatari dell’appello.
L’iniziativa, proposta da Amnesty International Italia e fatta immediatamente propria dalla Federazione nazionale della stampa italiana e dal portale Articolo 21, intende chiamare a raccolta gli operatori dell’informazione affinché continuino a seguire le iniziative finalizzate a ottenere la verità sul sequestro, sulla tortura e sull’uccisione di Giulio Regeni, e a dare costanti notizie sulle violazioni dei diritti umani in Egitto.
Per aderire si prega d’inviare una mail a scortamediatica@articolo21.info indicando nome e cognome ed eventuale testata.
L’iniziativa della creazione di una “scorta mediatica” è una delle risposte al rientro, avvenuto lo scorso 14 settembre, dell’ambasciatore italiano al Cairo, in un contesto di “normalizzazione” dei rapporti tra il nostro paese e l’Egitto.
Il presidente di Amnesty International Italia Antonio Marchesi, a un mese dal rientro del rappresentante italiano in Egitto, ha scritto al presidente del Consiglio Gentiloni e al ministro degli Esteri Alfano per chiedere quali passi avanti siano stati fatti riguardo alla collaborazione con le autorità egiziane nelle indagini sul sequestro, sulla tortura e sull’uccisione di Giulio Regeni.
Marchesi ha ricordato che per motivare la decisione presa dal governo il 14 agosto di far tornare l’ambasciatore italiano al Cairo, poi effettivamente insediatosi 30 giorni dopo, si era fatto riferimento a “passi avanti” che la normale ripresa delle relazioni diplomatiche tra Italia ed Egitto avrebbe favorito.
“Ogni 14 del mese chiederemo a governo di far sapere quali ‘passi avanti’ quella decisione avrà favorito” aveva promesso Marchesi a settembre. Le richieste a Gentiloni e ad Alfano confermano il questo impegno.



Amid GCC Row, Governments across the Gulf Fail to Address Statelessness


With the diplomatic crisis embroiling the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, Saudi– andUnited Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed institutions have accused the Qatari government of arbitrarily revoking the citizenship of 55 members of the Al Morah (al-Murrah) tribe, including its leader, Sheikh Talib bin Mohammed bin Lahoum bin Shraim. Though it is as yet unclear if these recent reports are accurate, it is certain that the Qatari authorities have previously targeted this tribe, stripping thousands of their citizenship under accusations of taking part in a failed coup against the former emir. Moreover, this newest row highlights the longstanding problems of statelessness and arbitrary deprivation of nationality across the Arab Gulf region, on all sides of the ongoing dispute.
What is statelessness?
Statelessness is, according to the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, the “most acute violation of the right to a nationality; a well-entrenched principle of international human rights law.” The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons defines a stateless person as someone “who is not considered as a national by any State under operation of its law,” and requests that governments provide equal treatment to the stateless persons as is provided to their nationals. Despite this legal precept, stateless people are usually at risk of being subjected to discriminatory and unequal treatment in accessing and enjoying their fundamental rights.
According to the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently at least 10 million stateless people. Statelessness can occur for reasons as different as discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups; gender-based discrimination; arbitrary or punitive revocation of citizenship; the emergence of new states and transfers of territory between existing states; and gaps in nationality laws. No matter the case, stateless people face severe impediments to accessing basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment, and freedom of movement.
Stateless people in the different countries of the GCC face systematic discrimination. Many, known as Bidoon, are descendants of people who lived in the Gulf long before independence but were not registered in censuses once the modern states were formed. There are other cases in which individuals are actively deprived of their citizenship as a result of government decisions or gender-based legal obstacles. These forms of statelessness are particularly common in Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain, where the authorities often strip alleged dissidents of their nationality in reprisal for their perceived political views, sometimes impacting whole families due to gender-based discrimination in the countries’ citizenship laws.
Gender discrimination is a major cause of statelessness in Qatar, as well as the other GCC countries. Qatar’s 2005 Nationality Law holds that citizenship is only acquired through the father, denying Qatari women the same rights as Qatari men and preventing them from passing nationality on to their children. This means that a child born to a Qatari woman and a non-Qatari man will not be able to receive Qatari nationality, increasing the child’s risk of becoming stateless. While Qatar’s Nationality Law allows for the children of Qatari women to apply for naturalization, the process is onerous and not guaranteed. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), “even people who meet [the naturalization] criteria have faced difficulty.” Furthermore, the law allows individuals to apply for citizenship after living in Qatar for 25 years and it limits naturalization to just 50 people per year. Together, this makes acquiring Qatari nationality through naturalization very difficult, closing off opportunities for stateless residents to improve their legal situation.
Moreover, as suggested by recent reports, Qatar has used denaturalization and the arbitrary deprivation of citizenship as a tool for political reprisal. Since 2004, the authorities have withdrawn the nationality of over 5,000 members of the Ghafran (al-Gufran), a subgroup of the Al Morah (al-Murra) tribe, following the Qatari government’s claim that ten tribal leaders plotted a coup with Saudi Arabia in 1996. Although approximately a third of them were able torestore their nationality, some remain stateless and are thus unable to access government services, such as public education and health services. They also face difficulty travelling and cannot pass nationality on to their children, making them stateless as well. In June 2017, for example, HRW reported that a member of the tribe, Zayed al-Marri, was trapped at the border between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He claimed that the Qatari government had previously stripped him of his nationality, and that the Saudi authorities were now expelling him as a result of the GCC diplomatic crisis.
Kuwait is home to over 100,000 stateless individuals, amounting to around 10% of the country’s population – a sizable minority among its 1.5 million inhabitants. Many of Kuwait’sBidoon population are descendants of nomadic tribes who never applied for nationality after Kuwait became independent, Arabs who joined the Kuwaiti army in the 1970s and the 80s but never gained citizenship, and others that have been deprived of their citizenships for political reasons. These groups have traditionally faced significant disenfranchisement and it was not until 2011, following protests and international pressure, that the government granted them access to free healthcare and education, as well as the opportunity to register births, marriages, and deaths.
As in Qatar and Bahrain, Kuwaiti women are not allowed to transfer their nationality to theirchildren, who are born statelessness if the father does not hold Kuwaiti citizenship. Additionally, because the hospital’s birth records indicate that the parents are “non-Kuwaiti” in these circumstances, many parents do not sign the documents as it could jeopardize a future claim to citizenship. This makes it extremely difficult for such families to obtain full birth certificates for their children – a problem further complicated by the fact that most Bidoon couples cannot register their union or acquire marriage certificates, which are prerequisites to register a newborn.
In November 2014, the Kuwaiti government presented a plan to solve the Bidoon “problem.” The Bidoon population was offered “economic citizenship” of Comoros, which, if accepted, would also grant them residence permits in Kuwait and other incentives like free education and health care. A similar scheme was also set up by the UAE, which raised concerns about the potential treatment of the new Comorians: international law prohibits the deportation of stateless individuals, but does not provide the same protection to third state nationals.
Despite taking some positive steps to naturalize several thousand Bidoon in previous decades, Bahrain also contains a large stateless population and has increasingly targeted human rights defenders, political activists, and other civil society actors for arbitrary citizenship revocation. Similar to the Bidoon, Bahrain’s Ajam community, a predominantly Shia Muslim ethnoreligious group of Persian descent, endures institutionalized discrimination that has left many stateless and unable to access social welfare or assistance programs available to the rest of the Bahraini population. Moreover, like in Qatar and Kuwait, gender discrimination in Bahrain’s nationality law also increases the risk of statelessness, with Bahraini women unable to pass citizenship to their children. Despite the government claiming that a bill amending the 1963 Citizenship Act had been drafted in order to address this bias, the UNHCR informed in September 2016 that it could not be located and it is thus unclear whether it was still awaiting parliamentary passage. Recent Bahraini media reports in 2017 indicate that the discriminatory provisions remain.
Arbitrary citizenship revocation has particularly increased since 2012, with nearly 500 persons stripped of their nationality in the last five years, including more than a hundred so far this year. Of these persons, the vast majority are members of the country’s Shia majority population, which experiences discrimination across most aspects of Bahraini society. Bahrain’s broad anti-terror and nationality legislation allow the authorities to strip individuals of their citizenship for exercising their basic rights and the Ministry of Interior is empowered to issue administrative denaturalization orders that are typically un-appealable. For example, Bahraini human rights lawyer Taimoor Karimi saw his citizenship revoked in 2012 for participating in demonstrations during the pro-democracy movement, and was deported to Iraq in 2016. Likewise, Husain Abdulla, executive director of Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, was stripped of his citizenship for his international human rights work. Furthermore, arbitrary and politically motivated denaturalization amplifies the negative effects of gender discrimination in the nationality law: when the authorities strip a man of his Bahraini citizenship, his entire family is at risk of statelessness and all of the attendant problems.
Being stateless can lead to other violations of human rights in Bahrain, including denial of employment opportunities, hiring a lawyer, owning property, obtaining health services and education, traveling, or registering a new-born child. Moreover, statelessness puts individuals at risk of being deported, with further difficulties due to the lack of documents or clear authorization to travel. Bahraini authorities have forcibly deported many of the individuals arbitrarily stripped of citizenship since 2012.
GCC states like Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain have failed to adequately address statelessness in the region, while aggravating the problem by maintaining gender-based nationality discrimination and arbitrarily stripping individuals of citizenship. These actions violate states’ obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. All the GCC governments – including Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain – must guarantee access to citizenship and the full rights associated with it, while removing any legislative provisions which might prevent it.
Juan Carmelo Rodríguez Melián is an Advocacy Intern at ADHRB


Bahrain: Female Detainees Declare Strike After Prison Authorities Impose New Barrier During Family Visits


2017-10-04 - 11:52 p
Bahrain MirrorFemale detainees in Bahrain have today declared they will go on an open strike after the authorities built an extra barrier to prevent imprisoned women embracing family members on visits.
Women held at Isa Town Detention Centre said they will take no further visits until the prison authorities remove a new glass barrier erected over the table where they meet their families.
The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) today spoke to seven family members of the female detainees. The families told BIRD that the prison authorities' restrictions on family contact has been inconsistent. They said detainees meet their family at a large marble table, over which they could shake their hands and kiss them, though with difficulty, during past visits. Such embraces did not result in punishment until the penalties imposed on Ebtisam last week.
A female detainee told BIRD the prison officials had indicated that this clampdown on relations between families and detainees was due to an attempt last week by prominent human rights campaigner Ebtisam Al-Saegh's attempt to hug and kiss her children during a prison visit. In response, the prison administration - headed by Major Mariam Mahmood Al-Barduli - had banned Ebtisam from seeing her family for two weeks and will not let her make phone calls to them for a week.
The detainees going on strike today include Hajar Mansoor, the mother-in-law of London-based human rights activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, as well as Ebtisam Al-Saegh, Najah Al-Sheikh, Medina Ali, Amira Al-Qashami, Rawan Sanqoor and Zaynab Marhoon. Najah and Ebtisam have both allegedly faced sexual assault at the hands of National Security Agency (NSA).

3-Year Jail Term against Suspect Accused of Assembly in Bani Jamra Upheld

2017-10-04 - 1:53 p
Bahrain Mirror: The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a 3-year jail verdict against a suspect accused of assembling, committing riots, acquiring and hurling Molotov in Bani Jamra. The court, however, acquitted him of the charge of attacking a policeman.
The first instance court had sentenced 18 defendants to 3 years in prison over assembling, committing riots, acquiring and throwing Molotov in Bani Jamra. The court sentenced 4 other suspects to 2 years in prison, acquitted one suspect of the charges brought against him and cleared all the suspects of the charge of attacking one of the policemen and causing him fracture in his toe, due to lack of evidence.
The authorities claim that on February 15, 2013, protestors took to the streets of Bani Jamra and threw metal rods and Molotov against the police. As a result, a policeman sustained a toe fracture in his right foot.
The authorities claim that they reached the suspects through investigations.

Bahrain: Five policemen injured in terror blast


Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, OIC condemn attack, express solidarity with Bahrain


Save the children accuses Britain over selling of arm to Saudi Arabia


More than £3.3 billion worth of UK arms sales to the kingdom have been licensed since the bombing in Yemen began in March 2015.

Egypt escalates LGBTI crackdown with fresh wave of arrests and anal examinations


2 October 2017, 16:36 UTC
The Egyptian authorities have arrested 22 people over the past three days alone, stepping up a campaign of persecution against LGBTI people in the country which began after a rainbow flag was displayed at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo provoking a public outcry, Amnesty International said today.
The arrests bring the total number of people who have been detained based on their perceived sexual orientation to 33 - 32 men and one woman - since the Public Prosecutor announced an investigation into the rainbow flag “incident” on 25 September. The Forensic Medical Authority has carried out anal examinations on at least five of those arrested. 
“In a matter of days the Egyptian security forces have rounded up dozens of people and carried out five anal examinations signalling a sharp escalation in the authorities’ efforts to persecute and intimidate members of the LGBTI community following the rainbow flag incident,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.  
In a matter of days the Egyptian security forces have rounded up dozens of people and carried out five anal examinations
Najia Bounaim, Campaigns Director for North Africa at Amnesty International
“Forced anal examinations are tantamount to torture – there is no scientific basis for such tests and they cannot be justified under any circumstances. 
“The scale of the latest arrests highlights how dangerously entrenched homophobia is within the country. Instead of stepping up arrests and carrying out anal examinations, the authorities must urgently halt this ruthless crackdown and release all those arrested immediately and unconditionally.”
All 33 people detained are facing prosecutor interrogations and significantly expedited trial proceedings. 
According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, at least 10 people were arrested between 28 and 30 September and put on trial yesterday, alongside another six who were arrested earlier in the week. The verdict in the trial of all 16 men has been scheduled for 29 October. 
On 1 October one man was detained in the Mediterranean port city of Damietta in relation to the rainbow flag incident. Six further people were also detained in Cairo in the last 48 hours for promoting “habitual debauchery” through online dating applications and four further arrests took place from a flat in Giza, also in the last 48 hours. 
The authorities also detained one woman suspected of raising the rainbow flag at the concert. She has been charged with “promoting sexual deviancy” and “habitual debauchery” in the first such incident involving a woman in years.
This is the worst crackdown against people based on their perceived sexual orientation since the mass arrests of 52 people following a raid on the Queen Boat, a floating nightclub on the Nile, in 2001
Najia Bounaim, Campaigns Director for North Africa at Amnesty International
The Egyptian authorities’ announcement that they are investigating the rainbow flag incident as a criminal act is utterly absurd. No one should be punished for expressing solidarity with LGBTI individuals or based on their perceived sexual orientation,” said Najia Bounaim. 
"This is the worst crackdown against people based on their perceived sexual orientation since the mass arrests of 52 people following a raid on the Queen Boat, a floating nightclub on the Nile, in 2001.”
Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the 33 who have been detained and halt all plans to carry out further anal examinations. Such tests violate the prohibition against torture and other ill-treatment under international law.
Background on last week’s arrests 
On 23 September, a day after the Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo,  a 19-year-old man was arrested on charges of “debauchery”. He was sentenced last week to six years in prison, followed by six years of probation. 
Two other men who were arrested last week are currently detained in Agouza police station in Cairo and are due to stand trial on 11 October. Another two men were arrested on 28 September and are detained in Dokki police station in Cairo.