It says in document below that smoke bombs are expired and cause long term health problems, addressed to the interior minister Mr. Maisari
January 17 -2011- Doc below on receiving weapons from U.S. cc: Minister of Interior
Rights group the Organization of Defending Prisoners of Conscience in Syria has accused the authorities of threatening an activist with death, dpa reported.
The organization said in a statement Wednesday that Syrian security authorities had threatened its member Hassan Ali with “physical liquidation” for exposing “flagrant violations of human rights” in the country.
“The organization holds the security agencies in Syria responsible for any attack on Hassan’s life,” it added.
Ten people were killed Tuesday in anti-government demonstrations across Syria, according to activists.
They said that the Syrian army was beefing up its presence in the central city of Homs, which has been for weeks the focal point for mass protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
More than 1,400 people have been killed by the security forces since pro-democracy protests began in Syria in mid-March, local human rights advocates say.
These reports are hard to verify as the Syrian authorities have barred most foreign media and international human rights groups from the country.
Zainab Al-Khawaja (a.k.a. @AngryArabiya)
Zainab Al-Khawaja is a Bahraini woman who caught the media’s attention when she went on a hunger strike to protest the unjust arrest of her father, human rights activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, and her husband and brother.
Zainab’s Tweet about Her Hunger Strike
A Facebook page emerged called ‘We are All Zainab Al-Khawaja’ in support of Zainab’s hunger strike. Zainab ended her hunger strike after 10 days claiming, “being silent in a tomb and not able to speak is not in the interests of my family”.
Today, on Twitter, a Bahraini journalist reported that Zainab Al-Khawaja is being interrogated by Bahraini forces. Zainab and her closest male
relatives are currently in Bahraini custody; their crime? The desire for freedom.
Zainab Al-Khawaja and Her Father (lower left),
Husband and Child (lower right)
This is just one of many cases of unjust arrests and trials conducted by the Bahraini government and this MUST stop. Maryam Al-Khawaja, Zainab’s sister, is a fellow activist who posted a tweet expressing her opinion as to why Zainab is being interrogated. Maryam claims that it is an attempt to blackmail her and her father, an attempt Maryam says has only added to the Al-Khawaja family’s determination.
Nour is a young Kuwaiti woman who started her activism in the Kuwaiti protests demanding women’s suffrage, the rest is history…..literally :) She regularly blogs at “Peace Is the New Black”.
Popular protests calling for political reform in Syria have been met by brutal violence by security forces. Army tanks have shelled civilian areas and more than 400 people have been killed across Syria, many shot by government security forces during peaceful protests. Hundreds more have been arrested, many held incommunicado and at serious risk of torture.
Call on President Bashar al-Assad to immediately stop the killings, deliver justice and accountability. We will deliver your signatures to different Syrian embassies around the world as well as to the President himself. Read More »
It says in document below that smoke bombs are expired and cause long term health problems, addressed to the interior minister Mr. Maisari
January 17 -2011- Doc below on receiving weapons from U.S. cc: Minister of Interior
(New York) - Syria’s security forces continue their nationwide campaign of arbitrary arrests and intimidation against political and human rights activists, holding them incommunicado, forcing them to sign undertakings to stop protesting, and in some cases torturing them, Human Rights Watch said today.
“Syria’s leaders talk about a war against terrorists, but what we see on the ground is a war against ordinary Syrians - lawyers, human rights activists, and university students - who are calling for democratic changes in their country,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Syria’s emergency law may have been lifted on paper, but repression is still the rule on Syria’s streets.”
Human Rights Watch urged Syria’s authorities to immediately reveal the whereabouts of the targeted activists, to ensure that no harm is done to them in detention, and to release all those held for exercising their basic rights to free expression and association.
In some cases, the security forces have resorted to detaining relatives and neighbors of the government critics, in an effort to obtain information on their whereabouts or force them to stop their activism, prompting many activists to send their families into hiding.
On May 13, security forces detained human rights lawyer Catherine al-Talli, 32, in the Damascus suburb of Berze, at around 6 p.m. She was in a shared minivan taxi, when security forces stopped the vehicle, came on board and detained her, a family member told Human Rights Watch. The security services are holding her incommunicado and have not provided any information on her whereabouts.
On May 12, security forces in Homs detained Mohammad Najati Tayyara, a prominent human rights activist who frequently appeared in the media to provide information on Syria’s crackdown on protests. Security forces picked him up off the streets of Homs, a friend of Tayyara told Human Rights Watch, and have not provided any information on his whereabouts since then.
On May 11, security forces detained Wael Hamadeh, a political activist and husband of prominent rights advocate Razan Zeitouneh, from his office. The security forces had gone to the couple’s house on April 30 searching for them but detained instead Hamadeh’s younger brother Abdel Rahman, 20, when they could not find them. The couple had been staying with different friends to avoid being caught. To date, there is still no information about Abdel Rahman Hamadeh’s whereabouts. Zeitouneh told Human Rights Watch:I don’t know what made Wael go to work. He had stopped going lately. We don’t know which security service picked him up. We just know that they showed up at his office and took him.
Security forces also detained nine people after a peaceful sit-in at Arnous Square, in central Damascus, on May 10, and released only two, dermatologist Dr. Mazen al-Sayyid and student Ahmad al-Qattan. Syrian authorities have sought to try Jalal Nofal, a psychologist, and Ammar Ayruka in court on charges of provoking a riot, for their role in the demonstration. According to an activist, their lawyer reported seeing signs of torture, including beatings, on their faces. The remaining five - Ammar Dayoub, Malak al-Shanawani, Mohannad Amin Hussein, Ali Omar, and Omar al-Katib - have not been heard from since their arrests.
This is the second arrest in a month for Malak al-Shanawani, a women’s rights activist, first detained at her workplace on April 10 for participating in anti-government protests.
“The Syrian government is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to detain and punish every last voice for civil society reform in the country,” said Whitson.
Activists have told Human Rights Watch that the security forces are exerting enormous pressure on their families and neighbors, forcing many to send their own families into hiding. A prominent opposition activist, who preferred not to publish his name for fear of further reprisals against his family, told Human Rights Watch:They went to my home and broke the door; when they couldn’t find anyone there, they went to my neighbor. They asked him if he could tell them where they could find me, my wife, or one of my children. He refused, so they arrested him. But he is a known Ba`ath supporter, so they released him after 10 hours. They then went to my wife’s shop and did the same thing with two men who own a grocery store and electronics shop near her workplace. One was in prison for two days, and the other is still in prison now. My wife and small child are now living in one place, and my other two children in another. I am in hiding in Damascus, changing my location every two days.
Razan Zeitouneh told Human Rights Watch that she had asked her elderly parents to go into hiding because she could not bear the thought of the security forces detaining them to exert pressure on her.
A veteran 67-year-old human rights activist from Salamiyeh, a city in central Syria that is home to the Middle East largest group of Isma`ili muslims, told Human Rights Watch that a group of 30 young men, many on motorcycles, drove up to his house on May 13 at around 3pm:They drove up and started throwing stones on my house. I was out, and only female members of the family were inside. They had to rush to close the shutters. They kept throwing rocks for 15 minutes. They want to terrorize us. I am worried for my family. We were able to recognize some of the attackers. Some work as bodyguards for the head of local branch of the Ba`ath party.
The Salamiyeh activist, whom security services had detained for 24 hours on May 10 along with another 69 protesters and activists from the town, told Human Rights Watch that the aim of the arrest and intimidation campaign was to force activists to sign undertakings to stop protesting.
Another Damascus-based activist who was recently detained and released concurred:They are obsessed with the protests. They just want them to stop and are willing to do anything to make them stop. Those refusing to sign the undertakings get referred to criminal trials for inciting riots or risk seeing security forces showing up at their home, office, or even their spouse’s office.
“When families and neighbors of wanted activists are fair game for the security services and their Ba`ath thug agents, you know that the government is morally bankrupt,” said Whitson “Behind the empty rhetoric of promises and national dialogue, there is a systematic campaign to rebuild Syria’s wall of fear with only one purpose: allowing Asad and his cronies to maintain their absolute grip on power.”
Human Rights Watch has called for sanctions against Syrian officials who bear responsibility for the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters and the arbitrary detention and torture of hundreds of protesters and for an international investigation into the grave human rights violations in Syria.
The United States and European Union have imposed sanctions on certain high-ranking officials in the regime but have so far avoided imposing sanctions on President Bashar al-Asad. On April 29, the UN Human Rights Council called for an urgent investigation by the UN high commissioner for human rights into killings and other human rights violations in Syria.
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing incommunicado and arbitrary detention of Mr. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, former MENA Director at Front Line and former President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR).
According to the information received, as of May 5, 2011, Mr. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja remained detained but his whereabouts as well as official charges pending against him remained unknown. His lawyer is the only person who could have access to him on April 29 and 30, 2011. These two meetings of several hours were held in the presence of the Military Prosecutor. In addition, no information could be obtained regarding Mr. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja’s physical condition, although witnesses claim to have seen him in a military hospital in a very bad state.
The Observatory recalls that Mr. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja was brutally arrested on April 9, 2011, and witnesses present during his arrest declared that he was taken unconscious after having been violently beaten (See background information).
The Observatory firmly denounces the violation of the rights to due process and fair trial by the Bahraini authorities, the incommunicado and arbitrary detention of Mr. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and as well as the judicial harassment against him, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities. The Observatory is also deeply concerned for his physical and psychological integrity as it is feared that he might be subjected to torture and acts of ill-treatments in the framework of incommunicado detention, in a context where four people arrested during the protests have died in custody between April 3 and 12, 2011 and dozens of detained activists complained of acts of torture and ill-treatment.
The United Nations human rights chief today voiced deep concern about the continued detention of hundreds of activists in Bahrain, the prosecution of scores of medical professionals, and the sentencing to death of four protestors after a closed-door military trial.
“The trial of civilians before military courts is always a cause of concern. The application of the death penalty without due process and after a trial held in secrecy is illegal and absolutely unacceptable,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay stated in a news release.
“The defendants are entitled to fair trials before civil courts, in accordance with international legal standards and in keeping with Bahrain’s international human rights obligations,” she added.
Bahrain is one of several nations in the Middle East and North Africa that has been rocked this year by protests calling for increased freedoms and democratic reforms. The Government’s crackdown on protesters has draw criticism from UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has urged maximum restraint and called for inclusive dialogue with all parties.
On Wednesday, Bahrain’s Justice Ministry announced that 23 doctors and 24 nurses from the Salmaniya Medical Complex are due to be tried in a military court on charges including participation in unlicensed protests and inciting hatred against the Government.
Last week four protestors were sentenced to death and three to life imprisonment for the alleged killing of two policemen. This took placed after they were reportedly held incommunicado, without access to their families and limited access to lawyers.
In addition, hundreds of people reportedly remain in detention for their alleged participation in the protest movement, including teachers, lawyers, journalists and bloggers, medical professionals, artists, activists and members of political bodies, according to the High Commissioner’s office (OHCHR).
The Government has put the number of people in detention at 400, but OHCHR has received information that the figure may be higher than 1,000, the whereabouts of more than 50 of whom are unknown.
Ms. Pillay voiced particular concern about the reported deaths of at least four persons in custody. “There must be independent investigations of these cases of death in detention and allegations of torture. Bahraini authorities must stop the intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders and political activists, ensuring that their fundamental civil and political rights are protected.”
She urged the Government to urgently conduct an independent, impartial investigation and bring all those who were responsible for assaulting and killing protestors to justice, and reiterated her request for the Government to allow an OHCHR assessment mission into the country.
According to reports from Bahrain, doctors are disappearing as part of a systematic attack on medical staff. Many physicians are missing following interrogations by unknown security forces at Salmaniya Medical Complex, Manama. Although families have tried to contact administration officials, the administration denies any knowledge of their whereabouts. According to family members, the physicians are being held incommunicado in unknown locations.
Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are trained to treat those in need – regardless of politics, race or religion. The attacks on health professionals violate the principle of “medical neutrality” and are grave breaches of the international law. The human rights law, international humanitarian law, and medical ethics that define medical neutrality dictate noninterference with medical services in times of civil unrest.
“Unfortunately, these incidents aren’t isolated. They seem to be part of a systematic attack on doctors in Bahrain. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have an ethical duty to prevent and limit suffering of patients in their care and a duty to practice medicine in a neutral way without fear or favor.”
PHR calls on the Government of Bahrain to release these medical professionals unharmed in the absence of legitimate charges, or to formally charge them and assure them a fair and impartial trial.
A prominent Bahraini human rights activist has gone on military trial, his family said on Thursday.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was arrested with two of his sons-in-law earlier this month as part of a government crackdown on protests the tiny Gulf island country.
Police have been arresting opposition activists at checkpoints set up across Manama, the capital, and in certain villages.
So far, hundreds of people, many of them opposition activists and politicians, have been arrested.
Khawaja was reportedly seized from his home by masked men after being beaten unconscious on April 9.
“The trial against [Khawaja] started today but we family members were not allowed to enter the court. I don’t know what charges are brought against him,” said Zainab al-Khawaja, the activist’s daughter.
“My father called last night. He didn’t sound fine. I think he has a mouth injury because he could barely speak,” she said.
“He kept saying oppression is great,” said Zainab, who on Thursday stopped a week-long hunger strike to demand the release of her family members.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja had lived in exile for 12 years before he was allowed to return to the country under a general amnesty several years ago.
The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has said that he was severely beaten upon his arrest.
He had earlier been imprisoned in 2004 for political dissent, but was later pardoned by the king.
The government has come down hard in recent weeks on Bahrainis who took part in weeks of street protests, starting February 14, demanding more freedoms and political reforms. In particular, the protesters demanded an end to discrimination against the island nation’s majority Shia population and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
Click here for more of Al Jazeera’s special coverage
Weeks of protests prompted the Bahraini king to impose martial law and invite troops from neighbouring countries on March 14 to help impose order.
The United States and other countries have expressed muted criticism of the government, which has used live ammunition against protesters and been accused of beating prisoners belonging to the political opposition.
The uprising in the country has unnerved neighbouring countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, which fears that protests could embolden its own Shias in the Eastern Province, home to the country’s massive oil resources.
Bahrain is ruled by a Sunni monarchy, though the majority of its 600,000 population is Shia. It is also home to the US Fifth Fleet, and a key regional ally for the country.
Gulf Arab rulers have accused Iran of interfering in Bahrain, after the country condemned the Bahraini crackdown and accused Saudi Arabia of “playing with fire” in the region.
On Wednesday, a Bahraini man was put on trial in Manama for alleged links to Iran.
Ibrahim Ghuloom Abdulwahab is suspected of passing on classified military information and sensitive economic data to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard over a period of nine years, starting in 2002, the state news agency reported.
Media is banned at the trial.
Post with 2 notes
This is not really the venue for this but this is unfolding right now; please keep these brave men and women fighting for human rights in your hearts and minds (note: read bottom up)
Live account of Bahrain human rights activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja’s arrest on Twitter, as told by his daughters @maryamalkhawaja and @angryarabiya (whose husband and brother-in-law was also arrested).
List of people killed in Bahrain since 14th February 2011 - Extrajudicial Killing
(Prepared jointly by BCHR and BYSHR)
(Updated 3rd April 2011):
Details of each at the webpage linked here.
(Manama) - Bahraini authorities should immediately investigate the shooting of a 32-year-old man caught up in a police sweep on March 19, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately reveal his whereabouts and condition and hold those responsible for his attack accountable, Human Rights Watch said.The man, Hani Abdul-Aziz Abdullah Jumah, is among scores of people arrested since security forces resumed attacks on protesters on March 15. The authorities have refused to reveal where they are being held or the charges against them. “It’s bad enough that authorities refuse to say anything about the well-being, whereabouts, or legal charges against their scores of detainees,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch. “But denying information to the families of people who are injured by security forces is a new and alarming development.” Jumah, a cleaner from Khamis village and the father of year-old twins, left the family’s house at about 5 p.m. on March 19. His father, Abd al-Aziz Abdullah Jumah, told Human Rights Watch his son was responding to a cry for help outside just as riot police began sweeping through the neighborhood. Fifteen minutes later, a witness said, the younger Jumah was seen running from the Khamis roundabout pursued by eight riot police wearing helmets. “Hani was running toward the nearby building, which was under construction, and the police were 15 meters behind him,” the witness said, asking not to be named for security reasons. “He ran straight past my house.” Another witness said he had seen police chase Jumah into an empty apartment building under construction, but only realized an hour-and-a-half later that Jumah had not left the building after the police did. The witness raised an alarm, and local residents went to search for Jumah. They found him unconscious, lying in a large pool of his own blood, the witness said. He sustained massive injuries to his knees and arm caused by being shot at point-blank range with a shotgun, a witness told Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch examined the scene of the attack on March 22, three days afterwards, and found fragments of bone, which a medical expert confirmed to be fragments of knee bone consistent with being shot at close range, as well as a tooth and pieces of human tissue still stuck to the wall and ceiling of the empty room, apparently the result of the velocity of the shots that maimed Jumah. “The sheer brutality of the attack on Hani Jumah demands an immediate independent investigation, and the officers responsible need to be held accountable,” Stork said. “Bahraini authorities have not even acknowledged his whereabouts, much less explained why he was lying there in a pool of blood.” Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that they rolled Jumah onto a carpet provided by a local resident and brought him by car to a nearby private hospital, where doctors struggled for nearly two hours to stabilize him after massive blood loss. Jumah’s father said that at about 9:20 p.m., an ambulance arrived from the Bahraini Defense Force (BDF) Hospital, accompanied by two masked police officers, and the officers announced they were transferring his son to that hospital. That was the last time Jumah’s family saw him. The father told Human Rights Watch that he called the BDF Hospital on both March 20 and March 21 requesting information on his son’s whereabouts and condition, but that hospital officials would give him no information. “I told them I know the BDF ambulance came and brought my son there, but the BDF Hospital keeps saying, ‘No, he is not here.’” The father said he said he told the officials that he and Jumah’s mother would come and look for him, but that they said, “No chance.” “Hani Jumah was last seen being taken away in a BDF Hospital ambulance, and we know from witnesses and medical experts that there was no way he could have walked away after being shot in the knees at close range,” Stork said. “The military runs the BDF Hospital and needs to tell Jumah’s family how and where he is.” As of March 23, Wefaq, a leading Bahraini political society, had documented 112 cases of people missing as well as dozens detained without charge since attacks on protesters resumed on March 15. Human Rights Watch has also documented a pattern over the past week of late-night raids on homes and arrests of people who have criticized the government, as well as prominent opposition figures and doctors. “Bahrain’s declaration of martial law on March 15 does not change the responsibility of the authorities and security forces to comply with their obligations under international human rights law.” Stork said. “They need to account for all those in state custody and investigate the apparent unlawful use of force against Hani Jumah.”