“But the one person from Bahrain who fought for our freedom till the end was Nabeel Rajab from the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.”
Mohammed Khalid, a pro-gov and Salafist MP, who campaigned for release of the detainees and compensating them, asked in 2005: “What about the Guantanamo prison, which is out of the sight of all rights and humanitarian organizations, where the matter could be worse than Abu Ghraib or Afghanistan?”. He said that many released prisoners “had talked about being submitted to human suffering and sexual abuse during interrogation”.
Some of the torture and abuse described by AlDossary through his lawyer included: religious abuse like cursing and insulting beliefs, being urinated on and spat on by GI’s, being burnt by cigarettes, severe beating while in extreme positions, and being sexually assaulted by female interrogators. The sexual assault was mainly to offend the men or lure them to talk.
Fast forwarding and on the other side of the Atlantic in another island hosting a US base. This is basically some of what’s happening and has been happening in Bahrain for the past 30 years. Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, a lawyer and consultant with HRW, worked with Rajab to secure the release of Bahraini Guantanamo prisoners. He describes how the same Bahraini MPs who gave him a standing ovation rejected HRW’s findings when it came to their citizens’ claims and evidence of torture in Bahraini jails.
MP Mohammed Khalid, who stood firmly with Guantanamo’s detainees on the basis of universality of human rights, was instrumental in igniting sectarian hatred against Shia when protests erupted, and is now in the front-line campaign supporting government’s measures of mass detentions and military courts calling the protesters traitors and Iranian agents and using the most offensive anti-Shia language. Nabeel Rajab, on the other hand, is facing a fierce propaganda campaign in an attempt to discredit him and assassinate his character accusing him of being an Iranian agent.
From a 1997 special report on torture in Bahrain to the UN Human Rights Commission:
“The methods of torture reported include: falaqa (beatings on the soles of the feet); severe beatings, sometimes with hose-pipes; suspension of the limbs in contorted positions accompanied by blows to the body; enforced prolonged standing; sleep deprivation; preventing victims from relieving themselves; immersion in water to the point of near drowning; burnings with cigarettes; piercing the skin with a drill; sexual assault, including the insertion of objects into the penis or anus; threats of execution or of harm to family members; and placing detainees suffering from sickle cell anemia (said to be prevalent in the country) in air-conditioned rooms in the winter, which can lead to injury to internal organs.”
These exact methods are being used now. Since Feb 14, 2011, four people have died in Bahraini prisons as a result of torture. The total number is more than 20 since 1971. Those recently killed in prison were: Hassan Maki, Ali Saqer, Zakaria Al-Asheeri (Journalist), & Kareem Fakhrawi (Businessman). Among the hundreds of prisoners are politicians, MPs, human rights activists, doctors, nurses, students, lawyers, journalists, news photographers, and bloggers. Severe torture and sexual abuse have been widely reported.
In an April 14 Time’s article, Joe Stork, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Human Rights Watch, expressed his concern: “I very much fear there will be more death because there is no transparency in all this,”. He adds: “We’re not seeing where they’re being held, or their names, and it’s these kinds of conditions that make for torture and brutality and death.”
Bush’s administration was in a “war against terrorism”, in which alleged foreign fighters were flown to Guantanamo; the Bahraini Government on the other hand is in a war against its unarmed population. The situation in Bahraini prisons might be way worse than Guantanamo as Obama announced an end to torture. However, as the information in the previous report suggests or rather proves, the US government, along with that of the UK and other countries, is morally and historically responsible for what happened and what’s happening in Bahraini prisons.
On May 16th, NY Times reporter Nick Kristof tweeted: “Our close ally, Bahrain , has a consistent record of using sexual abuse of male and female detainees as a form of torture.”
The next report will deal in more detail with Sexual Abuse in Bahraini prisons. Testimonies of tens of prisoners and detainees will be presented. This is what lies beneath the fake and promoted liberal posture of Bahrain.