Six Years since Bahrain's Revolution, Britain Continues to Back Monarchy's Despotic Rule, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei
2017-02-25 - 12:13 am
Bahrain Mirror: Six years following the eruption of the Bahraini uprising in the wake of the Arab Spring on February 14, 2011, the human rights situation in the island kingdom has extremely deteriorated. Nevertheless, the British government has not failed to back the Al Khalifa regime.
Director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, says in an article published on IBTimes yesterday (February 23, 2017) that for many Bahrainis; however, "the protest movements which began have never ended."
Alwadaei recounts how the Government of Bahrain, which is a key British ally, responded to the pro-democracy uprising with force, beating up and arresting protestors in the middle of the night, including himself." Alwadaei says he was imprisoned for six months for speaking to journalists, "my family did not know if I was alive or dead," he added.
Alwadaei highlights that since 2011, the government in Bahrain has "doubled-down on its repression, executing torture victims, locking up all critics, activists and peaceful leaders, and employing masked police to shoot protesters on the streets," noting that in many ways, "the situation is worse now than in 2011; where once the state violence and rights violations were improvised and reactionary, now they are calculated actions, rooted in new laws and institutions."
In spite of Bahrain's horrific human rights record, the human rights activist further states that the "UK government has been deeply involved in Bahrain, and there isn't part of Bahrain's violent security apparatus which does not have British fingerprints on it." Alwadaei underlines that two of the UK-trained "supposedly independent" bodies helped clear the way for and then defend executions of three torture victims in January 2017, adding that another failed for two years to investigate the torture of Mohammad Ramadan, a man now at risk of imminent execution.
He stresses that recently BIRD together with Reprieve revealed that Bahraini police have received FCO-funded training in riot control and counter-IED methods, noting that "not incidentally, several on death row or executed in Bahrain were tortured into confessing setting off bombs."
The HR campaigner describes the UK-Bahraini relationship as extremely damaging, stressing it "grants a veneer of legitimacy and rule of law to a country which is less tolerant of human rights and the will of its citizens than six years ago."
The exiled activist further points out that the Campaign Against the Arms Trade's case against the British government's lucrative and ethically questionable arms deals with Saudi Arabia at the High Court made "the UK's disregard to human rights all the clearer."
Alwadaei strongly emphasized that after six years; however, "the will for democracy and human rights lives on as strongly in the hearts and minds of the people of Bahrain as in 2011," while "authoritarian governments have maintained their grip on power, regrettably backed up, trained, and even engineered by the UK government."
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