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:

Graves vandalised

Graves in Muharraq cemetery belonging to “victims of extrajudicial killings” were vandalised today. Mohammed AlMaskati observed on Twitter that “specific graves were targeted, those around it were left almost untouched”. He identifies the graves as belonging to Yousif Mowali and Hussam AlHadad.

Muharraq_Graves_vandalisedPicture sources: top left, bottom left, right.

Yousif Mowali was killed in January 2012. The 23 year old man, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, disappeared on January 11th. His body was found two days later. Authorities claimed the cause of death was drowning. However, his body showed clear signs of torture. A Turkish forensics expert was able to covertly enter the country and examine him. She concluded: “We have proved that the scars on the hands and feet were the scars of electrical torture. The victim was most likely unconscious when he was thrown into the sea and this is why he drowned.”

Hussam AlHaddad, 16, was shot dead by security forces on August 17th, 2012. Authorities described him as a “rioter” involved in a “terror act”. Accounts by eyewitnesses dispute this. His family also contest the official claims. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) offered this account, from eyewitnesses: “Hussam was shot with shotgun pellets which made him fall to the ground. Then, one of his family members witnessed him getting kicked repeatedly by a man in civilian clothing while security forces stood idly watching. Finally when a family member was able to retrieve him, Hussam was soaked in blood. He opened his eyes for a second then fell unconscious.” Following examination of his body, BCHR reported observing “marks of severe beating on his back and shoulder”.

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.

Protesters marching to site of Pearl Square reportedly teargassed

Two pictures, taken within the last hour, reportedly show protesters attempting to march to the former site of Pearl Roundabout (map) and then subsequently being attacked by tear gas. This post will be updated as more details come in.

Pearl Roundabout (aka Pearl Square) was occupied by pro-democracy demonstrators in February and March 2011 until government forces violently removed the people and demolished the monument. Now referred to by the opposition as Martyrs’s Square, it is under tight military control. Yesterday, the February 14th Youth Coalition called for a march to the site, beginning at 3pm local time. Maryam AlKhawaja, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, tweeted earlier: “According to people on the ground, huge security presence in villages close to what was Pearl Square in an attempt to prevent march.”

PearlSquare_March_20-4-2013

PearlSquare_March_Teargas_20-4-2013(Pictures via @ahmedali_)

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.

Citizen journalist reportedly assaulted by police, pictures deleted

Said Yousif Almuhafda, Head of Monitoring at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, reports on Twitter about an attack against citizen journalist Nader AbdulEmam:

I just talked with blogger @NaderAbdulEmam who was taking pictures as usual when Riot Police stopped him in Jidhafs.

@NaderAbdulEmam stated that Riot Police beat and punched him and cursed him for only taking pictures in one of the villages!

Then he was taken to a checkpoint to see if he’s wanted, they deleted pics from his phone & threatened him with arrest if he took pics again

Our prayers with Formula 1 journalists that they don’t get beaten by Riot police while filming the race like @NaderAbdulEmam

This incident comes 24 hours after a Bahraini journalist and British news team were stopped at a police checkpoint and taken to a police station.

Yesterday, Reporters Without Borders launched a campaign in advance of the F1, titled: “Don’t Leave News Out of the Race” which aims “to draw attention to the government policy of orchestrating disinformation about Bahrain’s street protests and the ensuing crackdown, and to the way news and information have been the crackdown’s collateral victims.”

Sayed Yousif also reports that “27 people were arrested yesterday”. (See also this post on yesterdays arrest of 4 children from Bani Jamra.)