Crackdowns, Torture and Intimidation in Bahrain - by Stephen Lendman
Largely ignored by Washington, Western governments, and America's media, the ruling Al Khalifa monarchy continues cracking down brutally against nonviolent protesters since civil resistance began last February.
On July 14, UK Telegraph writer Richard Spencer headlined, "Bahraini woman poet tells of torture while in custody," saying:
Incarcerated after reciting a poem critical of government policies, "Ayat al-Qurmezi (age 20) became one of the symbols of the (ongoing) protests....After she was arrested....she was beaten, electro(shocked) and threatened with sexual assault while in custody."
On July 11, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) headlined, "Teachers ordeal in Bahrain: arrested, tortured, sacked, suspended and prosecuted," saying:
Teachers and Bahrain Teachers Association (BTA) members participated in protest demonstrations, demanding respect for human rights and democratic change. As a result, they faced "arbitrary arrests, military prosecution, torture, suspensions, salary cuts, and investigation."
BTA board members were arrested, held incommunicado with no access to family or lawyers. A month later, some were released. Others are still detained, including BTA President Mahdi Abu Deeb, charged with:
"deliver(ing) speeches haranguing and instigat(ing) protesters and inciting them against the political regime, flouting the real voluntary and lofty goals of the association."
On June 6, Deeb and BTA Vice President Jaleela Al Salman were tried in military court charged with:
"inciting others to commit crimes, calling for the hatred and overthrow of the ruling system, holding pamphlets, disseminating fabricated stories and information, leaving work on purpose and encouraging others to do so and taking part at illegal practices."
So far, at least 66 teachers were arrested. In addition, riot police repeatedly targeted 15 or more girls' schools. Teachers and students were arbitrarily arrested, detained, and "physically abused."
Other schools were also attacked. Many teachers were arrested, interrogated, intimidated, abused, charged with going on strike, participating in peaceful protests, and inciting anti-regime sentiment.
In custody, they were beaten and tortured. One female teacher said:
"Around 10 policewomen were asking me and beating me at the same time. Then they handcuffed me and kept beating me on the head and back while kicking me and stepping on my feet."
Others were threatened with rape and beaten. A woman who had major back surgery was repeatedly kicked there after explaining her medical condition.
Many faced secretive military trials and convicted. More trials are expected. Many others were arbitrarily suspended from positions or sacked. More remain under investigation. Intimidation throughout Bahrain is pervasive.