Crackdown in Bahrain Grows: Hundreds Detained, Students Studying Aboard Summoned Back

The Bahraini government is toughening its stance on protesters not only in the country but aboard: Students attending British universities have had their scholarships withdrawn. As the Guardian reports, among the hundreds detained are many Shia professionals, including the lawyer who was going to defend seven suspected opposition supporters in a military court on charges of killing two policemen.

More than 20 students from the Gulf state have been informed that, as a result of attending anti-government protests, their scholarships have been canceled and they are to return home. Should they do so, the students have “‘strong and well-founded’ fears” that they and their families might be subjected to beatings and torture once back in Bahrain:

Bahraini students in Manchester, Huddersfield, Reading, Nottingham, Exeter, Edinburgh, Oxford, London and Essex have been ordered to return home immediately after attending peaceful demonstrations in London, Manchester and elsewhere, said [Yassir Saig, an activist with the Manchester-based Bahrain Peace and Justice movement].

“My university in Bahrain called me to say my scholarship was cancelled,” said Noor Jilal, a doctoral candidate at the University of London. “They wouldn’t provide any explanation and said I must come back in a week. It was after I attended a demonstration outside the Bahrain embassy in London. We were calling for the Saudis to get out, for freedom of speech, and in solidarity with the protesters there. My parents have told me not to come back.

“I have a cousin whose scholarship was stopped in Saudi Arabia and she was taken into custody when she went home, even though she is pregnant.”

In another sign of the crackdown, three teargas canisters were recently thrown into the house of Nabeel Rajab, the head of Bahrain’s Human Rights Centre. Rajab had posted photos on the internet of “signs of torture on the body” of Ali Issa Sager, who died while imprisoned last week.

In an act partly inspired by 27-year-old Zainab Alkhawaja, who is in the ninth day of a hunger strike to protest the beating and arrest of her father, a prominent human rights activist, her husband and her brother-in-law, hundreds in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the US have begun a three-day hunger strike.

Alkhawaja went to a private hospital over the weekend after her pulse dropped, but left, says the Guardian, after doctors told her they would have to inform the interior ministry if she chose to stay:

“It made me realise that it is not only the government hospitals that are unsafe, but the private hospitals too. People are being arrested from their hospital beds if they have injuries that are linked to protesting, like shotgun wounds. It shows the ministry of interior has ordered all hospitals to inform them if anyone political comes to them as a patient. That means there are more people injured and suffering at home with nowhere to go.

“It has become much more difficult to stand up and walk and even to sit up,” she said. “When I get up, my heart beat goes very, very fast and I get out of breath and I feel very dizzy. I am drinking water and sometimes water with sugar, which means my mother has prevailed because that is what she wanted. I have still heard nothing about my family so my plan is to continue my hunger strike and see what is going to happen. They might come for me, but I am not concerned. I am too worried about my husband and father. Every hour, every minute they are in custody I am worried.”

After a member of her family was threatened with arrest, Alkhawaja is staying at an undisclosed location. She had been chronicling her protest on her Twitter account at Angry Arabiya but her last post was two days ago and read:

frnds I’m out of breath, I need to lie down. It always makes me feel better when I read ur tweets even if its for 10 min. Love from Bahrain

Below is a video about the—tragically—growing crackdown in Bahrain.

Take Action: Sign the Care2 petition to free Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, Bahraini human rights activist.


Previous Care2 Coverage

Where Will Gaddafi Go? U.S. Seeks A Refuge

Syrian Emergency Law to Be Lifted: Too Little Too Late, Say Protesters (VIDEO)

Desperate Situation In Libya As Gaddafi Forces Fire Cluster Bombs

Tens of Thousands Demonstrate in Syria


Image from a video by iManamaa on YouTube.


Md.Aminul Hoque Bhuiya.
Aminul Bhuiya7 years ago

It should not be happened, it's their right to make their own future and it shouldn't be controlled by any other who would be he/she is.

Edward M.
Edward M7 years ago

These Bahraini people should head immediately for Libya;
the population there "opposing tyranny" is being supported by a UN RESOLUTION, no. 1973.

John E.
John E7 years ago

Rob and Jay B. ... you are so right.
"The CIA are worrying about 'when' the world would find out just how much state terrorism the US exported " !!!
Some of us might have thought the cat was out of the bag on that one ..... safe to say the US is embroiled in 2 almost decade -long wars, has about 50% of the entire world's military, and sells about half of the arms traded around the globe.
That should give us a clue .

Hilary A.
Hilary S7 years ago

feels a bit odd to say this, but it does seem to me that human rights have a low priority in most islamic countries. they aren't the only countries where this is so, but they are the only ones where it's criminal for women to dress in anything but a tent. still, that's a whole separate issue, isn't it?

Marie W.
Marie W7 years ago

If these people are so educated how did they not notice they live in repressive dictatorship under Sharia Law?

Linda B.
Linda Querel7 years ago

The US get the majority of it's oil from Canada and could get more if needed. It also cost the US an enormous figure to help in Libya, they even lost a plane and what that one plane was worth millions. People like to call for the help of the US whenever they need it and then curse them out for something - anything and the US is getting quite tired of it all and actually needs all the money it has, None, at the moment.

I fell bad for all the countries going through this, we certainly don't all think the same or agree on everything but we don't fear to be dragged into a secret police station and beaten and tortured. I can't imagine what that would be like. Also if I was a student out of the country and called home I wouldn't go, it's too risky. The long arm of the dictator reaching out to get them. Yikes, I think they better stay wehre they are for now. It is all such a mess and such a shame.

Valarie S.
Valarie Snell7 years ago

how upsetting

Salome Waters
Salome Waters7 years ago

So VERY sad and frightening, and TRAGIC for the students and their families AND for the many who are disappearing into custody and re-appearing as battered bodies.

This is a government that is OUT OF CONTROL!!

Danny W.
Danny Wilson7 years ago

We have to be careful that muslim extremist don't take over instead of those who really do want democracy.

Robert Tedders
Robert T7 years ago

@Qasim M;@Altaf Hussain: AGREED!! *ANGRY*

@AbdulAzizA: I find myself forced to agree with your points, but frankly your attitude disgusts me, in that you are assuming every 'Joe Public' in the U.S. agrees with the actions of their Govt. Unfortunately for those who don't, I.M.O, the so-called 'Democrats' are just 'Republican Lite'!! *DISGUSTED*