Bahrain Used Torture, “Excessive Force” on Protesters

A commission investigating human rights abuses during the pro-democracy Shia-led protests earlier this year in Bahrain has found that “excessive force” and torture were used on detainees. Hundreds of detainees have been “blindfolded, whipped, kicked, given electric shocks and threatened with rape to extract confessions.” The 500-page report also detailed purges of protesters from jobs and universities, widespread arrests and the destruction of Shiite mosques. In addition, it found  that there were no Iranian links to the protests.

The Bahraini government has said that it “welcomes” the finding of the Independent Commission of Inquiry’s report and “acknowledges its criticisms.”

At least 35 people were killed during the unrest; in March, Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy called in 1,000 troops from other Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia and imposed martial law, which was not lifted until June. Hundreds, including doctors, nurses, medical professionals and athletes have been detained; three people have received death sentences and prominent human rights activists have been given life sentences.

Bahrain is an island nation with a population of about 525,000; Shiites make up about 70 percent of the population but have long said they are routinely discriminated against  in government and military positions. A critical ally of the US, Bahrain houses the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and Washington has taken a “cautious line” so far, with vague calls for “more dialogue” with the opposition. US lawmakers have put a $53 million arms sale with Bahrain on hold until the release of the report.

Critics of the commission have already expressed distrust of the report due to statements about torture by Cherif Bassiouni, the Egyptian judge heading the commission. In August, Bassioni said that there was “no evidence of routine torture” in Bahrain; earlier this month, he said that torture was a “systematic policy.” Critics are also wary because the commission’s members were all appointed by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain, and position leaders have called for protests. Clashes had already occurred in two Shia villages on the outskirts of the capital of Manama just hours before the report was issued; one person died in the village of A’ali, when his car was allegedly run off the road by police officers and crashed into a house.

The King has vowed that there will be reforms. On Monday, the government announced that all forms of torture would be illegal and that those who commit such acts would incur more stringent penalties. Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, praised the call to ban torture but also said that the “report would limit itself to a handful of low-level targets.”

Zainab al-Khawaja, whose father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, has been given a life sentence, said on Twitter:

Dictator Hamad, if u respect our rights, respect our right in choosing our leader and leave the throne.


Previous Care2 Coverage

16-Year-Old Bahraini Killed by Police Vehicle

Bahraini Nurse Electrocuted, Threatened With Rape While in Prison

$53 Million US Arms Sale To Bahrain; Children Killed in Protests…

Zainab al-Khawaja: "#bassiouni will be presenting his report tomorrow, but to these protesters the report is already dead"; photo of protests in Bahrain after the report was issued by alekernews


Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons4 years ago

And Obama is drooling at the chops to sign the indefinite detention into law.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons4 years ago

And so did the police on the OWS people.

Malik K.
Malik K.4 years ago

Can you prevent me from going to prison for SEVEN YEARS and sign this petition please! Tell your friends and family to sign too. Thank you very much.

Demand Justice For all and for Police Brutality Victim Malik King - The Petition Site On March 9, 2011 several police officers brutally beat an unarmed, California Registered (RN) and...

Yvonne Fast
Yvonne F.4 years ago

This whole stry is so sad! This Royal family should be able to afford some courses in democracy!

John Mansky
John Mansky4 years ago

"No Comment".

Avril L.
Avril Lomas4 years ago

I do not believe that anyone in the USA should critisize thse horrendous acts. Has everyone forgotten the Bush administration ,whose "legal"team pronounced torture to be legal.Until those who urged that America sink into this immoral swamp are prosecuted namely Bush,Cheney,(who is proud of his input) John Yu,David Addington and many many more sadists).we do not have a leg to stand on.
As the saying goes ,people in glass houses should NOT throw stones!!

William Tapscott
William Tapscott4 years ago

Sounds like what the US authorities are doing to the peaceful protestors here in America.

Wayne M.
Wayne M.4 years ago

It is all well and good to apologize for abuse and promise reform, but the proof is in the results and the real changes that are made.

However, I would urge any Arabic nation to consider the costs of simply tossing out their monarchies. This is what they did in Libya, Iran, Egypt and Iraq – and conditions for the people got worse under republican dictators that became absolute monarchs in all but name. They would be better off moving to a constitutional monarchy and separating the powers of government from the head of state.

Mrs Shakespeare
Mrs Shakespeare4 years ago

Did they tell you about the torture the protesters used? For the love of God, they tried to cut cops' hands off with their knives!!

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

Sickening and the worst part is that it's probably going to continue for some time to come despite the king vowing reforms. Until the reforms become reality, it's all just lip service. Thanks Kristina.