Arrests in Jidhafs after house raided

Said Yousif Almuhafda, head of monitoring at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, reports that “police raided a a house in Jidhafs and they arrested 16 protesters”. He shared four pictures:

Jidhafs_21-4-2013_Arrests

Earlier in the day, a group of young men blocked a main road in Jidhafs with burning tyres, as part of the “Flame Volcanoes” anti-F1 campaign which had been initiated by the underground February 14th Youth Coalition.

There have also been reports of a 15 year old boy arrested in Sitra, and another young teenager arrested in Al Dair.

According to Said Yousif, several children who were arrested in Duraz, Sanabis, Musalla and Daih have been released after having been beaten.

 

 

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Maryam AlKhawaja asks “What happens when the cameras are gone?”

With the race now over, Maryam AlKhawaka, Acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, writes for The Independent:

There are those who say that the Formula One should not be canceled, but instead used as an opportunity to get media attention for the situation on the ground. It is true that media attention is not only appreciated, but also crucial to improving the situation on the ground in Bahrain. The question is not whether Bahraini’s benefit from the media attention which will highlight their plight as they continue their struggle for rights and freedoms, but rather what takes place during the race – and more importantly, what happens after the cameras are gone.

Salah Abbas Habib was well respected amongst the protesters. He was a father of four young children, and their only provider. During last year’s race, he was stopped by security forces, severely beaten, and shot with pellets. His dead body was found the next morning.

A group of minors were arrested in April 2012 in preparation for the Formula One. Some of them were thrown off the roof of the house they were in. They were reportedly severely beaten, which in some cases amounted to torture. They remained in prison until June that year. Some are currently in hiding, because they are wanted by authorities. Others are in prison after getting sentenced. The plight of these minors did not stop with the end of the race.

On the afternoon of the April 18, 2013, security forces arrested four children in Bani Jamrah. One of these children was 13-year-old Mahdi Salah Al-Khawaja. When Mahdi was just 11 years old, security forces pointed a gun to his face as they raided his family home. He then watched as his father was beaten severely, taken up to the roof, thrown off, then taken away. His mother was taken into a room and sexually assaulted. His father was subjected to severe torture then sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, which he continues to serve today. Mahdi has been traumatized for two years, and today he was arrested, hit on the head and held at a police station for several hours.

The question then, is not whether the media attention accompanying the race is important or not, the question is who will compensate the victims of this race for the price of getting that attention? When the cameras are gone, the crackdown intensifies as revenge, and the world is no longer paying attention; who will take care of Salah Ali’s children? Who will provide a safe place for the minors on the run? And who will hold Mahdi’s hand if he’s afraid of the dark?

Read full article.

Further reports of police violence from Sanabis yesterday

Said Yousif Almuhafda, head of monitoring at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been to Sanabis, scene of violent scenes yesterday, to speak with the affected residents. This account is taken from his recent tweets:

Riot police raided a house yesterday in Sanabis, kidnapped a citizen and assaulted women. Women stated to me that riot police beat them with weapons, pepper-sprayed them and cursed them.

I met the kidnapped citizen who stated to me that he was severely beaten in the police jeep in Sanabis. He stated that he was beaten nearly 30 minutes, cursed and threatened by riot police inside the jeep.

Pictures of injuries:

Sanabis_Young_Man_attacked_20-4-2013I met another young man kidnapped yesterday, beaten severely with batons and weapons by riot police. He stated that he was sexually harrassed, burned with lighters and cigarettes and he was threatened to work as an informer.

Said Yousif also shared this video of an arrest of a young man in Sanabis yesterday. At around 0:30 in the video, one of the arresting officers can be seen to jab the young man sharply in the stomach with his baton:

Policeman filmed slapping a child before arresting him

A policeman is caught slapping a child before arresting him, in footage covertly captured in Abu Saiba earlier today. The policeman’s violence is completely unprovoked. Policemen on foot and in a car are seen stopping two children, who are passive throughout. Said Yousif Almuhafda, head of monitoring at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, tweeted: “I just met those kids in the video and they are just 12 and 13 years old.”

Police attack protest in Sanabis, raid house, beat women

This afternoon, Dr Ala’a Shehabi, an academic, activist and founding member of Bahrain Watch, went to Sanabis to document the protests there. Within an hour, police had arrived. Ala’a took shelter in a house which was then raided by security forces who reportedly beat some of the women up and used CS spray on them. A young man fell from a roof, suffering serious injuries, but there was no access to medical help. The situation is still tense. At 6:45pm local time, Ala’a described Sanabis as a “scene of carnage”.

Below is a edited account of the unfolding events, taken from Ala’as tweets and pictures. All of her tweets can be read in chronological order at this at this link.

Observing protests now which started by setting up road blocks. People on rooftops have prepared sticks and stones to greet police when they raid. This lady in front of her house:

Sanabis_20-4-2013

Hearing sound bombs. The attack has started. Protestors are moving forward. Trying to break out their cages (villages).

Protestors have put nails on the ground as part of Arab hospitality to greet police. Police have raided on foot not by car as too many road blocks. Those nails are good deterrents!

Much stone throwing and various. Birdshot being used. Police are raiding house next door now:

Sanabis_20-4-2013_2Police are in the same building. Hearing shooting. It’s very tragic seeing families terrorised like this. Mother is putting her kids to bed. Mother is telling me she always does this so they don’t panic. Photo of kids in bed:

Sanabis_20-4-2013_3

Police have passed but helicopter monitoring above. Last year I was arrested because of helicopter surveillance.

Damn those sounds bombs. They give one hell of a fright. Sanabis people young/old putting up a fight. Man just threw a saucepan.

They’ve arrested a boy. All the women heading

Help

Shit

Police attacking us

Police have locked us up in a room. Women got beaten up. Used CS Spray. Can hear screams upstairs. Shooting from upstairs. They raided the house cos they saw someone filming upstairs. Police still all over the building. We are stuck in a room & getting insulted. It’s chaos. Police have arrested one boy and tear gassed the house. Women sprayed faces. One injured man.

We have a serious injury but stuck in house. Can’t go to hospital. I don’t have first aid training. Guy can’t move. Can’t post picture. Guy fell from the roof. Feeling pain across body and can’t move. Can’t get access to doctors. Don’t know if anything is broken. What to do?!

[30 minutes later]

We got first aid through Skype. Still stuck. This is the scene outside. Police still shooting.Too dangerous to leave. Meanwhile this adorable kid says he doesn’t want to live in this house any more. We’re hearing of birdshot injuries.

A scene of carnage in Sanabis now. Going to see other injured people hit by tear gas canisters and shotgun pellets:

Sanabis_20-4-2013_4Next door this 13 year old was hit directly by a “C4” tear gas canister in an awkward part of the body:

Sanabis_20-4-2013_5Now going around examining the wreckage. Here are the weapons used today:

Sanabis_20-4-2013_TeargasThe tear gas photographed here comes from two different companies. US firm NonLethal Technologies is the manufacturer of the tear gas in the left hand picture, which is the company that manufacturers the cannister labelled “MP-3-CS” in the right hand picture. The other cannister, with red markings, is manufactured by Rheinmetall Denel Munition, a company located in South African, but controlled from Germany.

BBC Interviews Bernie Ecclestone & Bahrain Crown Prince

BBC sports correspondent Dan Roan has interviewed F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, as well as the Bahrain Crown Prince.

Ecclestone was asked if there were certain places he wouldn’t consider holding a race, such as Syria. He responded by saying, “They probably don’t have a circuit.” Asked, “If they did though?” Ecclestone replied: “We’d have to have a look and see.”

Ecclestone went on to say:

I keep asking people what human rights are … but I don’t know what they are. The rights are the people that live in a country and abide by the laws in that country whatever they are.

He added:

The government here were really, in a lot of ways, stupid to put this race on, because it’s a platform for people to use for protesting.

Asked if he’d heard about the crackdown reported by Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First and other NGOs, Ecclestone implied that they were baseless claims:

I think you’ve got the right word there – you “hear”. Which is exactly what happens. You “hear”.

Watch the full interview here.

The BBC also spoke with former F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart, who echoed FIA President Jean Todt’s comments that “sport unifies people”, saying that those who are objecting to the race are “out of order” and “doing nobody any good at all”. Jackie Stewart’s son Mark runs a production company which has previously received contracts from the Bahrain government to do promotional work for the Bahrain International Circuit and the Bahrain International Air Show.

In another interview, the Bahrain Crown Prince said of MPs, human rights groups, and others who have criticised the race going ahead:

Well I wish they were here so they could see the reality on the ground. I think it’s easy to commentate from 3000 miles away. But unless you’re really familiar with the situation, it behooves one to come to the country first.

Watch the full interview here. Dan Roan also filed this report yesterday.

Video roundup

A selection of amateur footage shot over the past 24 hours. The opposition Feb 14 Media site has additional photographs and videos.

Al Qadem – A family try and resist their son’s arrest. Police ultimately respond with tear gas (via @alaashehabi):

Sitra – Anti-F1 protesters on Friday evening say: “Your race is a crime” and “Your race will fail“. (via @MARYAMALKHAWAJA)

Footage of similar anti-F1 protests from Al Dair, Markuban and the capital Manama, where protesters also chanted: “Let your palaces hear, your prisons we do not fear.”

Sitra – Street battles Thursday night (via @alaashehabi)

Sitra – Birdshot bellets, fired by security forces, being removed from a man’s leg (via @alaashehabi)

Sitra – A young man sets fire to a car on the street on Thursday in broad daylight as a protest against the F1 race. VIDEO.

Barbar – Young men spray the English slogan “No F1 – Don’t race on our blood” on a wall.

Buri – Young men block the road on the main highway by Buri with burning tyres, then proceed to burn all the F1 chequered flags flying from posts along the road.