Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bahrain Update

From Angry Arab's Bahrain correspondent:  "I know I haven't written for a while, but this is urgent. The tiny village of Al-Ekr has been under siege since Friday. I have no idea what's going on inside. No one can go in. No one can go out. Goods can't come in. Goods can't come out. Its absolutely ridiculous and what I'm hearing reminds me of what happened in Bahrain in March 2011, except that no one is reporting whats going on. The siege came after a police man was apparently killed in an explosion in Al-Ekr. The thing is that the villagers of Al-Ekr claim that they never heard an explosion, so the entire story is suspect. Either way, there's no excuse for collective punishment. Also when policemen and security forces are allowed to act with impunity, the government should expect that one of them will eventually get killed. Zainab AlKhawaja, Yousif AlMuhafdha and Naji AlFateel (you obviously know who Zainab is but the other two are also human rights activists that work for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights) tried to enter the village but were arrested (they were later released). Victoria Nuland is of course only condemning the policeman's death (she didn't bother condemning the twitter arrests that happened a few days before).

You can read more about the siege here

By the way, the situation in Bahrain is dismal. Nabeel Rajab is in jail. He'll be there for the next two years. The five remaining doctors had their final appeal a few weeks ago. Their sentences were affirmed and they are now in jail. This was completely unexpected, given the high profile nature of the case. Anyone who is speaking up is being arrested. You posted about the people who were arrested for tweeting against the King. The two former heads of the Bahrain Teachers Association, Mahdi Abu Deeb and Jalila AlSalman (another high profile case) were just sentenced to five years and six months respectively. You can read more about their case here: "