Torture, imprisonment and killing – so what would it take for Bahrain to be criticised by Philip Hammond?
Once considered one of the more liberal Arab monarchies, Bahrain is turning into a police state as vicious and arbitrary as Egypt
Patrick Cockburn @indyworld Friday 8 July 2016 The Independent
Bahrainis are calling their government’s intensified repression of all opposition “the Egyptian strategy”, believing that it is modelled on the ruthless campaign by the Egyptian security forces to crush even the smallest signs of dissent.
In recent weeks leading advocates of human rights in Bahrain have been jailed in conditions directed at breaking them physically and mentally, while others, already in prison, have been given longer sentences. The Bahraini citizenship of Sheikh Isa Qasim, the spiritual leader of the Shia majority in Bahrain, was revoked and the headquarters of the main opposition party, al-Wifaq, closed and its activities suspended.
Bahrain, once considered one of the more liberal Arab monarchies, is turning into a police state as vicious and arbitrary as anywhere else in the region. Mass protests demanding an end to the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty’s monopoly of power during the Arab Spring period in 2011 were violently suppressed with Saudi military and financial help. The authorities agreed to an international investigation into what had happened that revealed widespread use of torture, unjust imprisonment and killings of protesters. Repression continued over the following five years but failed to eliminate entirely the protest movement, despite imprisoning at least 3,500 Bahrainis.