|code: 316532||Date: 2012/05/20 - 22:31||source: Press TV|
Interview with Saeed al-Shahabi from the Bahrain Freedom Movement
US, UK, keep silence over Bahraini regime crimes: Analyst
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Human rights groups and Bahraini opposition accuse the Manama regime of torture and violating human rights on a massive scale since the beginning of a popular revolution in the Persian Gulf country last year.
Bahrainis have been staging demonstrations since mid-February 2011, demanding political reform and a constitutional monarchy, a demand that later changed to an outright call for the ouster of the ruling Al Khalifa family following its brutal crackdown on popular protests.
Scores of people have been killed and many others have been injured in the Saudi-backed crackdown on peaceful protesters in Bahrain.
Bahrainis hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for the death and arrest of protesters.
The following is the transcription of our interview with Saeed al-Shahabi from the Bahrain Freedom Movement about the issue:
Q: The UN Human Rights Council is starting to debate the situation in Bahrain. It did that in 2008, with no results. Any hopes for this review to make a difference?
Saeed al-Shahabi: Unfortunately, the Human Rights Council is a collection of governments and because of the deterioration of morality, disrespect for human rights and selfishness, this council has become a club of human rights abusers. So, they would like to support each other. They do not want to abandon each other when they are in need.
This is why when they meet on Monday to discuss the UPR - Universal Periodic Review - of Bahrain, we do not expect many countries to stand up and challenge the regime of the Al Khalifa who has committed numerous, huge and outrageous human rights [abuses] over the past; and not only over the past year, it has been continuing the use of torture, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings and all sorts of other abuses and ill-treatment of people for years. Of course it has intensified, in recent years, and in recent months and in recent days in fact.
Only three days ago, Al-Jazeera put out a report about the torture of Yousif al-Mawali, who was dumped in the sea back in February and they said he was drowned. Then his family established beyond any doubt that he had been electrocuted before being dumped alive in the sea to show that he had drowned.
So, the torture has been continuing ... despite the fact that the regime has repeatedly claimed that it had rectified its practices and its policies and it does not engage in torture. Until today, torture and ill-treatment of prisoners has still been continuing because the regime cannot survive without ill-treatment of people.
Q: I am looking at some of the questions that some countries have submitted to the UPR; for example, Denmark asks if the government of Bahrain ensure the trials of the political and human rights prisoners, which includes Abdulhadi al-Khawaja ... It is interesting that when I looked down at the UK it says, “We will be grateful for the information on the extent to which civil society in Bahrain was consulted.” Why would that be behind the list of the UK instead of all these other abuses that are taking place and for them to show concern towards that? They upsided that down the first question that they should have had.
Saeed al-Shahabi: Unfortunately, both the US and UK have supported the regime unreservedly and they have not hidden that support. Until today, they have, only in extreme circumstances, said, “We are concerned.” That was the only word coming from Washington or London with regard to those abuses of the human rights. They have rarely said that they will condemn or reject or refuse the actions of the regime of Bahrain. This is one thing.
The other problem is that both countries, both Washington and London, have not only given the regime of Al Khalifa a moral, political and of course military support, but they have also sent their police to support the regime and to repress our people.
Since John Timoney (the former Philadelphia and Miami police chief), the worst cop in America - according to The New Miami Times in 2007 - and John Yates, the former assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police -- who was involved in the scandal of phone hacking in the UK -- have arrived in Bahrain six months ago, the situation has become worse, in terms of human rights, in terms of repression. At least 45 people have died since they arrived in Bahrain; since they set foot in our land. So, both countries have supplied the regime with those people.
Furthermore, at the international forums, such as the Emirates Council, it is always the US and the UK who have stood up to support the Al Khalifa, while other governments such as the Scandinavian governments, Denmark, Sweden and Germany sometimes put some questions here and there, criticizing the regime or its human rights abuses. But London and Washington will never do that. They stand by them, even if they arrest the four most prominent human rights activists in Bahrain, the foremost prominent figures: Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Zeinab al-Khawaja and Dr. Abduljalil Al-Sengai.
These four people have been in jail and we have never heard one word from Washington or London, who both have met these people or at least some of them in the past few years, but when they are arrested, they did not raise an eyebrow. Of course, the regime has signed the Convention Against Torture in 1998, but since then how many people were killed? How many people were tortured? That includes the admission of the commission headed and financed by the regime itself. It has proved, without any doubt, that systematic torture has been implemented.
I do not know how far this civilized world will accept and agree to allow this regime to exist. On Monday, we expect some voices to come and shore up the regime and support it, despite the cries and the pains of the victims that are numerous. They will not stop to repress the people of Bahrain.