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Bahrain is putting the cart before the horse with its latest attempts at so-called social reconciliation

The government of Bahrain announced last week that they would provide the equivalent of $500,000 US to non-governmental organizations that develop ” social reconciliation” programs.  The Orwellian twist is that this latest effort joins previous initiatives aimed at Bahrainis — primarily at children and young people in school and camp settings — to attempt to influence them to “forgive and forget” past abuses and transgressions by the regime.  This, while Bahraini forces continue to tear gas and shoot birdshot pellets at its citizens, and people who have been tortured, innocent of wrongdoing, still languish in Bahraini prisons, including Abdulhadi Alkhawaja.

In addition to the the deaths and injuries related to police brutality, dozens of women in Bahrain have miscarried their unborn children because of excessive exposure to tear gas.

Perhaps this money might be better spent on reforming the regime’s security and police forces.  Oh, right, they tried that.  Efforts in that direction seem to be fruitless.  The regime’s forces are as vicious as ever.

Royalists in Bahrain label any person who supports the opposition, democracy, and human rights as a “terrorist” and anyone who attempts to bring light to these injustices as an instigator of violence.  The lion’s share of violence, however, is coming from the regime, as numerous, reputable journalists, human rights organizations, and witnesses have reported again and again.

Evidently “social reconciliation” in Bahrain does not involve protecting the human right freedom of speech.  At time of this announcement, the government banned all demonstrations and marches and imprisoned one of the nation’s foremost civil rights leaders, Nabeel Rajab, for speaking his mind on Twitter.

While Bahrain continues to imprison political prisoners…arrest, beat, and torture citizens for speaking their mind…tear-gassing villages…blinding and maiming children and adults with birdshot….any discussion of “reconciliation” is premature.

After all, we are not talking about a parking ticket here.  There have been hundreds of documented cases of human rights abuses, including torture and loss of life.  People have disappeared who are still not accounted for.  People have lost their jobs because of their beliefs.  Mosques, hundreds of years old, have been destroyed.

What kind of reconciliation was Bahrain seeking when they shot a tear gas canister into Zainab Alkhawaja’s leg at close range on June 27?  What kind of reconciliation were they seeking when they shot four-year-old Ahmed Alneham with buckshot, maiming him for life, while his father begged them to stop?

Actions speak louder than words.  Peace is impossible without freedom.  Reforms first — then reconciliation.

 

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Bahrain: one step forward, two steps back (video)

Zainab Al Khawaja remains “samood” after being targeted and hit by Bahraini security forces today (photo by #BCCLive correspondent)

There was good and bad news out of Bahrain today.

On the good news end of things, the human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was released from prison today after being detained on June 6 for comments he made on social media.  However, the bad news is he still faces charges on several counts associated with what Americans would consider expressions of free speech.

The government of Bahrain announced it would present compensation in the U.S. equivalent of $2.6 million dollars to the families of 17 victims killed by police, and charged three members of its police force with murder in connection with deaths during the crackdowns.  However, the bad news is that more than 50 people have been killed, and the violence against Bahrain residents continues.  The latest fatality is an 18-month old boy who lost his life after exposure to lethal quantities of tear gas that was fired around his home.

Human rights activist Zainab Al Khawaja, also known as @AngryArabiya on Twitter and the daughter of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, was targeted and shot with a projectile by Bahraini police today and sustained an injury to her leg that required her hospitalization.

Maryam Al-Khawaja and Matar Matar to appear on Al Hurra TV this afternoon

Free Hour, a program of Alhurra TV, an Arabic-language U.S. television station, will feature an interview with Maryam Al-Khawaja and Matar Matar this afternoon at 20:00 GMT.  The second half of the hour long program will be devoted to the interview.   The program may be watched live at http://www.alhurra.com/  The second half of the program will be devoted to the interview.

Maryam Al-Khawaja (Twitter: @maryamalkhawaja)is a human rights activist and the daughter of imprisoned human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.  She is also the Vice President for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and the head of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, and is visiting Washington, DC to speak with congressional legislators and speak with reporters at NPR and other media outlets.

Matar Matar (Twitter: @matar_matar) was featured on Al-Jazeera’s The Stream Tuesday, along with activist and Bahrain Center for Human Rights director Nabeel Rajab.  Matar Matar is a former member of the Bahrain parliament, and now works on behalf of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, Bahrain’s leading political party. Al Wefaq has been a prominent voice in Bahrain’s opposition movement.

The host for the program will be Hussein Jradi (on Twitter @hussein_jradi )

Free Hour is on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/freehour and Twitter @alhurrafreehour

Alhurra TV is operated by Middle East Broadcasting Networks, a nonprofit organization financed through a grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an independent federal agency funded by the U.S. Congress.

Bahrain Coordinating Committee Supports UN Human Rights Council Recommendations for the Kingdom of Bahrain

Bahrain Coordinating Committee Supports UN Human Rights Council Recommendations for the Kingdom of Bahrain

[Washington, DC]   June 3, 2012 – The DC-based Bahrain Coordinating Committee announces its support of the recommendations proposed to the Kingdom of Bahrain by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

UN Human Rights Council issues recommendations to Bahrain at Universal Periodic Review

Sixty-six delegations from around the world, including the U.S., made statements and recommendations at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Bahrain on May 21, 2012.   The recommendations were informed by 18 reports from nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and Front Line Defenders, among others.  The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner submitted a report documenting numerous human rights violations and transgressions against international law.

Included among the UPR recommendations were that Bahrain

  • Restore peace and ensure the respect of all human rights in view of recent events (protests and security force crackdowns), and events associated with protests in February and March 2011.
  • Respect the rights of all citizens to freedom of expression and assembly.
  • Release prison detainees imprisoned in connection with the freedom of expression.
  • Conduct new trials of all defendants convicted in military courts as soon as possible.
  • Prosecute security agents who tortured protesters and create new laws ensuring the accountability of security forces for human rights violations.
  • Establish a standing body to investigate all acts of torture.
  • Accept the visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, who was scheduled to observe in March 2012 (his inspection was postponed by the government).

U.S. calls for release of peaceful protesters

The statement from the U.S. mentioned concern about “ongoing detention and trials of hundreds who participated in peaceful anti-government protests.”  The statement also referred to the prosecutions of twenty medical professionals and the human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.

Bahrain refutes evidence of human rights abuses

The Bahrain delegation refuted many of the well-documented human rights abuse claims.  They maintained that the government had not used excessive force against protesters, and that there were no detainees for freedom of expression.

Bahrain delegation claims freedom of the press in Bahrain

The delegation claimed there were no restrictions on journalists.  However, restrictions have been legion, including the instance reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists when journalists from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Al Jazeera, BBC, and Christian Science Monitor were denied entry to the country. The delegation also claimed that no journalist had been detained since 2002.  However, several journalists have been arrested and detained, including a U.S. reporter for the Wall Street Journal.  A U.K. Channel 4 news crew was arrested and deported in April 2012, and a Bahraini policewoman is facing criminal charges for arresting, detaining, and torturing a France 24 reporter.

UNHRC President Laserre angered by reports of threats against delegates

Controversy arose during the UPR session when United Nations Council Human Rights President Laura Dupuy Lasserre called on the Bahrain delegation to ensure reprisals were not taken against 14 Bahraini human rights defenders attending the UPR session.  “I wish to remind you that we are all duty bound to ensure that nobody is persecuted on his return to his country for having participated in meetings of the human rights council or other bodies,” stated Lasserre.  The Bahrain delegation denied any involvement.

About the Universal Periodic Review

The 13th session of the Universal Periodic Review took place in Geneva, Switzerland.  Information about the session may be obtained at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

About the Bahrain Coordinating Committee

The Bahrain Coordinating Committee is a Washington, DC-based grassroots movement that works to obtain U.S. support for democracy and human rights reforms in Bahrain.  For more information, please visit http://www.BahrainCoordinatingCommittee.org

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MEDIA NOTICE:                   Please contact the Bahrain Coordinating Committee to arrange in-person and telephone interviews with spokespersons.

Bahrain Coordinating Committee Pledges Its Support For Freed Activist Zainab Al-Khawaja

 Bahrain Activist Zainab Al-Khawaja is Freed; Bahrain Coordinating Committee Pledges Its Support

Zainab Al-Khawaja[Washington, DC]   May 29, 2012 — The DC-based Bahrain Coordinating Committee is pleased by today’s reports that Zainab Al-Khawaja, daughter of renowned human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, has been released from prison in Bahrain, after her trial last week and the payment of her bail (BD 200, about $530 US).

The Committee supports Al-Khawaja’s right to free political expression and her commitment to achieving human rights for the people of Bahrain.

Khawaja was sentenced to one month in jail for protesting the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain.  However, since she had already served more than a month in jail — – having been arrested on April 21 — she was freed.

The 29 year-old activist will appear in court again on June 24 to face charges related to organizing demonstrations.

Khawaja is known for her tenacious participation in demonstrations and sit-ins supporting the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain.  She has emerged as a dynamic voice of the opposition, particularly in her use of social media.  Khawaja has more than 42,000 Twitter followers and posts updates on her Twitter profile @angryarabiya.

About the Bahrain Coordinating Committee

The Bahrain Coordinating Committee is a Washington, DC-based grassroots movement that works to obtain U.S. support for democracy and human rights reforms in Bahrain.  For more information, please visit http://www.BahrainCoordinatingCommittee.org

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja ends hunger strike; Bahrain Coordinating Committee calls for release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         Download the PDF of this press release

Media Contact: Mary Fletcher Jones       Email: BahrainCC.org@gmail.com

Phone:  (571) 269-7559 (24 hrs/7 days)

Bahrain Activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja Ends Hunger Strike;

Bahrain Coordinating Committee Calls for Release

[Washington, DC]   May 28, 2012 — The DC-based Bahrain Coordinating Committee applauds the sustained courage of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, the imprisoned human rights activist on trial for leading protests in Bahrain, who ended his 110-day hunger strike today, and calls for his unconditional release and the dismissal of all charges.

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja

In a letter to his family, the activist stated the hunger strike served one of its purposes: to shed light on the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain.  Although he did not attain his freedom, the second objective of his hunger strike, he felt prison officials had made it clear to him that they would force feed him again if his health deteriorated.

Read the report on his letter to his family here, from Bahrain Center for Human Rights: http://www.bahrainrights.org/en/node/5296

Khawaja commenced his hunger strike on February 8, 2012 to protest conditions of his detention, including abuse and torture while in custody. The activist was force-fed on with a naso-enteric tube in late April.  The World Medical Association states that force-feeding is a form of inhumane and degrading treatment.

Khawaja, the co-founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been imprisoned for more than a year.  He was arrested in April 2011 and sentenced to life in prison by the National Security Court in a martial law proceeding.  The sentence was condemned by international human rights groups and several nations, and is being re-tried in the civil courts, along with the cases of twenty-one other activists.

About the Bahrain Coordinating Committee

The Bahrain Coordinating Committee is a Washington, DC-based grassroots movement that works to  obtain U.S. support for democracy and human rights reforms in Bahrain.  For more information, please visit http://www.BahrainCoordinatingCommittee.org

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Bahrain Center for Human Rights’ Report on the proceedings of Bahrain’s Second Cycle UPR session

Press release from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights

25 May 2012

(London/Geneva) – UN member states expressed strong concerns over Bahrain’s human rights record during the second cycle of their Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva on Tuesday. States issued a total of 176 recommendations, which is a marked improvement from the 9 recommendations issued by states when Bahrain was the first state chosen for review in the first cycle in 2008. This indicates that states are taking the UPR process more seriously and know they cannot let Bahrain’s human rights abuses pass without censure.

Many member states expressed strong concerns regarding the lack of progress made towards realizing the recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). These recommendations were submitted to the King in November 2011 in a report which confirmed that the regime committed serious human rights violations during their efforts to suppress pro-democracy protests since February 2011. The regime in Bahrain insists that the recommendations in the report have been accepted, but that their implementation will take time; many member states expressed the opinion that this progress is too slow or all together lacking.

The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) called the opening statement by Bahrain’s delegation ‘bemusing’, saying that Bahrain’s Human Rights minister “spoke vaguely yet optimistically of Bahrain’s ‘culture of respect’ for human rights” while avoiding specific mention of last year’s protests beyond references to ‘unfortunate events’. The conflicting narratives of the Bahrain regime and international human rights bodies was in evidence throughout the session and in the way it was reported, with an article by the state-owned Gulf Daily News titled ‘Bahrain Defends Rights Success’.

Four years of failure

Bahrain began by thanking the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for its technical and financial support for the implementation of the last UPR recommendations, for which it was given $1.4 million and which resulted in the creation of a Government controlled human rights group and a few training sessions. The majority of the previous recommendations were never implemented.

Bahrain did not mention the fact of its failure to implement the 2008 recommendations but stated that it had begun a national human rights education plan to ‘encourage a human rights culture’. Looking at the 2008 recommendations, it can be seen that this was not one of the suggestions at the time. The delegation then attempted to pretend that the creation of the Supreme Council for Women in Bahrain was a way of furthering the role of women in society, when in fact it is used by the regime to give political jobs to female members of the royal family. The women’s rights activist Ghada Jamsheer was banned from appearing on national media in 2007 when she dared to criticize the Supreme Council for Women for not taking any steps towards implementing a family law on citizenship, a recommendation from 2008 which still has not been achieved[1]. The Council for Women is said to be studying the recommendation to remove reservations from the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which was another recommendation from 2008 that is not yet implemented.

Bahrain has not confirmed any visits from UN Special Rapporteurs. The Government has earlier postponed the visit of the Special Rapporteur on Torture days before it was planned to take place. So far no new date for the visit has been set.

The 2011 Uprising

Far from admitting failures in the handling of last year’s crisis, Bahrain’s delegation stated that the events “enabled Bahrain to realize significant human rights reforms and achievements in favor of citizens.”[2]

The delegation then made a number of statements which are entirely misleading as per reports from victims and international NGOs. They said that ‘trials of the aftermath’s events were conducted before the civil courts in compliance with international standards. Each prosecuted person is allowed access to a lawyer. A lawyer is also appointed for each person accused in a criminal case who has no lawyer of his own. The court provides the accused person with all guarantees which enable him/her to defend himself/herself. All court trials are held in public’, and also that ‘charges related to freedom of expression and opinion have been dropped’.

Trial observers have repeatedly questioned the independence of trial judges, the lack of access of prisoners to their lawyers and the necessary provisions to properly defend themselves. Many charges related to freedom of association are ongoing or new, and prominent activists like BCHR’s President Nabeel Rajab are being sentenced for crimes related to freedom of expression.

ISHR noted that “Throughout the review, the Bahraini delegation tried to direct attention to the future when questioned about human rights violations related to the protests, defeating the regularly reiterated commitment of States to a ‘frank and productive dialogue’.”[3]

Recommendations

The Bahrain government engaged to some extent with recommendations which dealt with the rights of women, children and migrant workers, but delegates were dismissive of those relating to freedom of expression, torture, freedom of the media and retrials for civilians convicted in military courts. ISHR referred to a worrying trend of deflecting responsibility from the government for these problems, and seemed to believe that setting up the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry was enough to absolve the regime from responsibility for their actions.

Some of these deflections of responsibility looked disingenuous, as when the delegation dismissed the call from Denmark, the US and other delegations for the release of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja for medical treatment by saying that they could not interfere with the ‘perfect independence’ of the judicial system. The Bahraini delegation reiterated the government line that there are no political prisoners in Bahrain.

Bahrain’s delegation also dismissed criticism of the draft press law, a recommendation from 2008, which Japan claimed would be even more restrictive than the last one. Despite Bahrain’s ambassador to the UK, Ms Alice Samaan stating in November 2011 that state owned BTV should be reformed due to its clear government bias and inflammatory anti-protest rhetoric, independent media in Bahrain are reporting that they face continual threats and obstructions. A recent report in the Financial Times notes that the editor of Bahrain’s only independent newspaper feels that BTV is hardening its anti-protest rhetoric and aiming veiled threats at his newspaper.

Bahrain’s human rights minister even went so far as to claim that ‘there were no restrictions on journalists’ in Bahrain, stating that many had entered Bahrain in the last year. However there are many recorded incidents of foreign journalists being arrested and deported (A team from the UK’s Channel 4 during the Formula 1 event) and even tortured (France 24 journalist Nazeeha Saeed). Finally the delegation made the startling claim that ‘Since 2002, no journalist has ever been detained’.

The US, Germany, Denmark and others expressed their opinion that the implementation of the BICI recommendations had been insufficient and little progress had been made on the most important provisions. Other Arab states like Egypt and Jordan also called for the full implementation of BICI.

However, Bahrain’s participation in the UPR and ‘implementation’ of the previous UPR recommendations was commended by such notable human rights violators as China, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, and other countries of the Arab bloc.

Conclusion

BCHR is pleased at the number and strength of the recommendations to Bahrain in the second cycle of its UPR. Recommendations to accede to OPCAT, the ICC, Optional Protocols to the ICCPR and the Convention on Protection from Enforced Disappearances, as well as the incorporation of the provisions of the ICCPR into domestic law are a positive step from the international community in holding Bahrain to account. Bahrain was also encouraged again to invite the Special Procedures and to abolish the death penalty.

However, BCHR has worryingly learned that Bahrain does not intend to either accept or reject the long list of recommendations proposed. Instead, it will take them all into consideration. This is precisely what Bahrain said to the recommendation to invite special rapporteurs in 2008, which means that Bahrain intends to stall for time, pretend that processes are in place in order to review and make more recommendations, and in the end nothing will be done. Bahrain’s government is institutionally corrupt and those who hold the reins of power will never accept the kind of deep reforms that Western states want to see. Bahrain has become accomplished at putting on a smile and pretending that everything is fine, but Bahrainis have been waiting since 1975 for a government based on a fair and non-discriminatory constitution. By denying its people even the most basic reforms, it risks a loss of faith in the political process to produce change and an increase in violence.

BCHR encourages the international community to keep its attention fixed on the actions of the Bahraini regime. BCHR remains a banned organization in Bahrain with a number of its leading members currently in jail, yet we will remain vigilant in our reporting of the crisis in Bahrain and call on governments and NGOs to stand with us to protect the rights of Bahrainis and bring the weight of public opinion to bear on the Bahraini government.

During the Council Session for the adoption of the Report, the President of the Human Rights Council, Laura Dupuy Lasserre, has boldly and courageously asked Bahrain to commit as a government not to harass or abuse any of the members of the opposition, the NGO members or activists present at the UPR session upon their return to Bahrain. She pointed to several articles that were written by several pro-government media outlets defaming and calling for action against those members and activists from NGOs and political societies attending the UPR and organizing side events. The BCHR would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank the President of the Human Rights Council for her courageous stance.

Contact:
For general comments or inquiries about the BCHR, please email: info@ bahrainrights.org.

Further questions may be directed to:
Maryam Al-Khawaja, Acting President:
maryam.alkhawaja@bahrainrights.org
Tel: +4581757959

For documents from the UN relating to the Universal Periodic Review Second Cycle for Bahrain, see:
ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR

Letter from prison in Bahrain: Zainab al-Khawaja

Posted on Twitter, this is a typed transcript of a handwritten letter ascribed to Zainab al-Khawaja, who is currently imprisoned in Bahrain and awaiting trial after her arrest for protesting.

The judge might think that I will be attending my next trial session. He told my lawyer the last time I was not present that he might have considered releasing me had I gone to court. Not only does that statement carry no weight when spoken by a judge who is ruling in an unfair political trial, but what he should realize is it is not my release from prison that I seek.

Yes, I do dream of my daughter, while I sleep and also when I’m awake, but when I am home with her, I know my mind won’t be at peace. How could it be, while Jaffar Salmans twin daughters are living without their dad for more than a year now. Jaffar, an innocent man, who was shot in the face with birdshot gun, Jaffar who lost both his eyes, Jaffar who was sentenced in a trial that lasted less than 15 minutes, without a lawyer, without any family members, the judge looking at the blind, injured man, and he shouted “Don’t bother sittting; you are sentenced to two years in prison.”

I could hold my daughter in my arms, but I’ll close my eyes and imagine Jaffar hearing his daughters’ voices after months and monts living in prison, in darkness. But as he reaches out to his babies, a guard shouts at him, “You’re not allowed to touch them!”

If I get released, like previous times, the prison guards will hand me a stapled plastic bag with my belongings. Among them, I’ll see a handmade wristband, made by a political prisoner, Hassan Oun, a boy who has been arrested more than 5 times in his young life. Hassan Oun, who is a torture victim who spoke out, he dared to come forward and speak up. But his courage did not save him from the hands of his torturers. Hassan was re-arrested, and we could not save him from being subjected to the same nightmare again.

Though I never met Hassan, I did meet his younger brother. I still remember his smile as he drank warm milk and told me to take a picture of him. “Who knows, I might be the next detainee,” he said. In a call from prison, I was told Ahmed has been injured, when he went to hospital, he was detained for the second time.

In the same prison, the Oun brothers are detained in, there are hundreds of other political prisoners. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are cells kept for specific families, for example, the family of the old martyr Ali Al-Shaikh. Not only was Ali killed, but his family are being punished. Many of his family members have been in and out of jail. Some, the ones who witnessed the killing, have not come out.

I might get released, but young Mansoor won’t be waiting to ask me “What abuses are we documenting today?” Although a high school student, he was determined to become an activist, to help in any way he could. Last time I spoke to him, he did not ask me what he could do to help, but he asked me to please pray for him, to pray that they don’t take him back to the interrogation room.

If I get released, every village I pass through will shout the names of countless prisoners of conscience. All the walls will show me their faces. Around me, I will see their grief-stricken mothers and fathers, their wives, their children. I will see the two boys of the woman who has become my sister in this prison cell, a mother who sits on her bed, crying for her children, as I write.

I am not Zainab only; I am Jaffar and Hassan, I am Ahmed and Abbas, I am Masooma and Mansoor. My case is the case of hundreds of innocent political prisoners in Bahrain; my release, without them, means nothing to me.

I will not be attending the trials, no matter how many they are. Freedom, and not my release, is what I want and dream of.

I will sit in my prison cell, I will listen to its walls reciting the poetry of another political prison, Sadeq Al-Ghasra, reminding me that our struggle for liberty shall continue not only from inside this prison, but even from under the soil.

All my admiration, for my imprisoned brothers and sisters, whose determination and patience give me hope.

Zainab Alkhawaja

Isa Town Prison

May 19, 2012

At UPR, U.S. expresses concern over lack of progress on human rights in Bahrain; calls for reforms

On the occasion of the 13th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Bahrain, sponsored by the United Nations Human Rights Council and held in Geneva, Switzerland this week, the United States expressed concern over what it called the “failure of state institutions to effectively investigate and prosecute alleged human rights abuses and to ensure accountability of officials at all levels of responsibility implicated in abuse, torture or death of civilians.”

The State Department intervention report, issued on Monday, May 21, also mentioned concerns about specific political prisoners, including the imprisoned human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 90 days, and the twenty Bahraini medical professionals who treated injured protesters and who are still facing prosecution.

The report also condemned the excessive use of force by the Bahraini police and their increased use of tear gas and bird shot ammunition.

The United States made the following recommendations to the government of Bahrain:

  1. Review convictions, commute sentences, or drop charges for all persons who engaged in non-violent political expression.
  2. Create a more diverse, inclusive police force, reflective of society, and establish an independent police commission to advise on best practices and respect for human rights.
  3. Prosecute officials at all levels of responsibility who are implicated in abuse, torture or death of civilians during the period of unrest.

Candlelight Vigil for Abdulhadi al-Khawaja

The Bahrain Coordinating Committee held a candlelight vigil for the imprisoned Bahraini activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, in front of the White House in Washington, DC this evening (April 27, 2012).

About a dozen volunteers assembled in front of the White House at dusk to peacefully show support for the activist and disseminate information about the struggle for human rights and reforms in Bahrain.  Curious onlookers stopped by throughout the evening to learn more — the volunteers were able to converse at length with twenty-thirty people throughout the evening.  The response of onlookers was positive and receptive.