Diraz Marks over 200 Days of Siege, Route to Health Center Blocked Increasing Residents Suffering

2017-01-12 - 3:00 am

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): More than 200 days have passed since the Bahraini authorities imposed a siege on the Diraz area. Causing further suffering, the regime blocked the route leading to the health center with cement barriers. This means that now whoever needs to receive treatment there must wait in long queues at the checkpoints set up on all the exits of Diraz.

Since June 20, 2016, government forces have been imposing a strict siege on the area; ever since demonstrators launched an open-ended site-in protest outside the house of Bahraini Shia spiritual leader Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, protesting against a royal decree ordering the revocation of Sheikh Qassim's citizenship, and putting him on trial over charges related to the Shiite religious obligatory Khoms (alms) ritual.

The authorities are not giving fresh water as well as food companies, which provide supplies for shops in Diraz where around 20,000 people reside, access to the village. These are unprecedented measures in the island kingdom's history.

In addition to the siege, the authorities have throttled internet services. Students who are residents of the area are forced to walk long distances to reach their schools, while students in the neighbouring Bani Jamra find it more difficult to reach school since they have to pass through checkpoints.

Under the hashtag #Diraz_Siege_200 Bahrain's sent hundreds of tweets highlighting the harsh conditions in the village. "For months, citizens have been deprived of visiting their relatives and families residing in the area, as only [direct] family members are allowed to enter after undergoing a thorough search," said Rima Al-Shaalan, a lawyer living in the area.

For her part, Inas Oun, a Bahrain Center for Human Rights campaigner, addressed the huge financial losses from which shops are suffering in Diraz, since the security authorities have been preventing the access of supplies and goods.

 

 

Head of the freedoms and human rights department at Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society- dissolved by the authorities in mid july 2016- Sayed Hadi Al-Mousawi stressed via his Twitter account that as a citizen, he has the right to visit his family, friends, beloved ones, and cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, and "pray in the Imam Sadiq Mosque, but the #Diraz_Siege_200 prevents me from doing so," he added.

The government banned the Shia citizens from holding their largest Friday prayers at Diraz's Imam Sadiq Mosque, which can seat more than 1,000 worshipers.

Another tweeter noted that "many residents filed complaints regarding the siege in Diraz with the competent security and services authorities so that their sufferings would be alleviated, yet they received no answers."

Despite many calls made by human rights groups, the Bahraini government is carrying on this siege on Diraz, adding even more "security" barriers to further isolate the area, and it does not seem that the authorities are willing to back down on these strict measures anytime soon.

Arabic Version    


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