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Bahrain's Cat and Mouse Games

By       Message WILLIAM FISHER     Permalink
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The United States government sent observers to the medics' trial, and has urged the Bahrain regime "to abide by its commitment to transparent judicial proceedings, including a fair trial, access to attorneys, and verdicts based on credible evidence conducted in full accordance with Bahraini law and Bahrain's international legal obligations." Dooley notes that this has clearly not happened today, and the U.S. government should say so clearly and publicly.

"September was a terrible month for human rights in Bahrain," observed Dooley. "Thirteen leading dissidents had long prison sentences against them upheld   by the courts, prominent human rights defenders Nabeel Rajab and Zainab al Khawaja lost appeal cases to release them from prison and a teenage boy was killed by the police. These verdicts open October in a similarly ominous style."

A verdict is expected soon in another case brought against 28 other medics.

Last month, the Bahraini Government pledged to implement more than 140 of the 176 recommendations laid out in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) conducted by the United National Human Rights Council. At the time, Human Rights First noted the pledge was welcome news, but cautioned that the Kingdom has reneged on similar promises in the past.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, reaffirmed that the Kingdom continues to press forward in its comprehensive reforms and modernization through the national institutions and the rule of law, upholding and ensuring the respect and protection of the principles of pluralism, human rights and justice.

Whether the right words will add up to the right policies and practices remains to be seen.

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William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East and elsewhere for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development. He served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy Administration and now (more...)

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