Bahrain continuing rights abuses despite pledge to reform: AI

[JURIST] Bahrain has failed to meet its obligations and promises to ensure respect for human rights and prevent further torture within the country, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] stated in a 39-page briefing [text, PDF] released on Wednesday. Contrary to the government's commitment to implementing the recommendations set forth [JURIST report] in the report [text, PDF] by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) [official website] a year ago, AI claims the country has become more repressive by banning all gatherings [JURIST report] violating citizens' right of free expression and peaceful assembly. Moreover, AI documented continued abuse of power by security forces against protesters. In response, violence against law enforcement officials increased during the recent weeks resulting in the death of two police officers during a riot. However, AI said that violent protests could not excuse the government's failure to implement measures that ensure human rights. It also argued that BICI's recommendation should guide the government in preventing an escalation of violence and in establishing rule of law within the country.

Bahrain has faced international criticism for its crackdown against dissidents since anti-government protests began last year. Earlier this month the Bahrain government extended [JURIST report] the detention of Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafda [official Twitter], a leading human rights activist. He had been arrested during an unauthorized protest a week before. In October Bahrain appeals court upheld [JURIST report] verdicts against two teachers for organizing a teachers' strike early last year to support anti-government protests. During the same month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Bahrain's court of appeals to overturn [JURIST report] the conviction of human right advocate Nabeel Rajab [JURIST news archive]. In September Bahrain pledged to follow the UN's plan [JURIST report] to improve the country's human rights conditions, but HRW raised doubts as to whether the government is fully committed to reform.

 

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