The international pressure on the Al Khalifa regime has forced it to “drink the poison” and release the medical staff whose members had been accused by the Al Khalifa and Al Saud officials of the most serious crimes, including killing patients, falsifying evidence and plotting to overthrow the regime. Their release on Tuesday 6th September has exposed the lies, fabrications and most important of all, the crimes, committed by the regime.
Doctors and nurses were tortured extensively over their six months incarceration. They were beaten, hung in the chicken position, forced to stand for days, deprived of sleep, the use of electric shocks and tasers over their bodies, spitting in their mouths and stuffing their mouths with human secretion. Women medics were sexually assaulted.
International human rights bodies, including Physicians for Human Rights and Doctors Without Borders repeatedly issued statements accusing the Al Khalifa of torture and calling for their immediate release. On Tuesday, Irish doctors and supporters staged a hunger strike in Dublin in support of Bahraini medics, among them were Professor McCormack and Tara OGrady.
The victims themselves had been on hunger strike when they were released. It was a major defeat of the Al Khalifa dictatorship. Many Bahrainis also staged hunger strike in support of the prisoners who had been on strike for a week. Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace and Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja led the hunger strike inside their cells and were followed by many inside prison and outside. Men and women from Bilad Al Qadeem, Al Zinj and Al Salihiya also participated in the hunger strike earlier this week.
International angry voices are rising against the moral failure of the US government and its allies as they maintain their support to Al Khalifa dictatorship. Of particular concern to the world is the justification of the Saudi occupation of Bahrain. On 8th September, CNN published a long report on the American immoral stand on Bahrain. Its Foreign Affairs editor, Joost R. Hiltermann ended his article with these wrods: “Washington retains real leverage over the regime. Bahrain is firmly under the U.S. security umbrella in the Gulf, and the United States provides Bahrain with funding for military purchases ($19 million in 2010) as well as military training assistance. The United States should be more assertive about using this influence: The current policy of continuing military-to-military relations without regard for the political and human rights situation is counterproductive, could be interpreted as violating U.S. law, and exposes the Obama administration to accusations of double standards in its approach to the Arab Spring.”
For the moment, Bahrain is the first successful chapter of the Arab counterrevolution spearheaded by Saudi Arabia - it is the place where the West has broken its promise to support the Arab people in their struggle for a greater say in politics and greater control over their destinies. It is time for the Obama administration to push the country back onto the road toward reform, using pro-democracy forces within the regime, its supporters and the opposition to show the way.
Meanwhile, Bahrain revolutionaries are preparing for a final assault to re-occupy the iconic Pearl Roundabout in what they have called “The final return” on 23rd and 24th September, the days of the by-elections. So far, at least three people have made the perilous attempt to occupy the Roundabout which is being defended by the Saudi and Al Khalifa troops. Abdul Qadir Darwish, Mohammad Al Hayki and Mohammad Jaffar Al Ekri had been able to cross those defences and take up positions at the Roundabout. They were all arrested, beaten and tortured by members of the regime’s Death Squads.
The people have continued their revolution with great zeal and determination. This morning a large demonstration was staged at Mhaza District of Sitra calling for regime change and shouting “Down with Hamad”. Last night people of Sitra also demonstrated against the regime whose forces reacted with fury, smashing cars and breaking people’s properties. Over the past week, several demonstrations were held at various locations; from Sitra and Ma’amir to Bouri, Duraz and Bani Jamra to Sanabis, Daih and Jidhafs. Demonstrations took place at the town of Dair, near the airport. At the protests held yesterday at Aali, called for by the 14th February Youth, harsh measures were adopted to crush the will of the people. In addition to tear and chemical gases, regime’s forces used shotguns that led to serious injuries to several people. Images of the victims have infuriated Bahrainis who feel that they are the victims of an unholy alliance between the Al Khalifa and the Western countries, especially US.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
9th September 2011.