There was this human rights outrage in February –
On the night of 16th February, the latest victim in Bahrain’s war on domestic dissent was arrested by masked policemen in Manama, the tiny Gulf Kingdom’s capital. The target on this occasion wasHussain Jawad, head of the European-Bahraini Organisation for Human Rights (EBOHR), who is well-known for his condemnation of abuses committed by the regime.
Jawad is at the time of writing being held in detention by the regime, and according to EBOHR (in a statement collected from Mr Jawad through his lawyer) has been subjected to torture, beatings and sexual abuse. These assaults are alleged to have taken place at Manama’s notorious Crime Investigation Directorate (CID) site.
The purpose of Jawad’s alleged mistreatment appears to have been to punish him for his rights advocacy and to silence a staunch critic of the government – if possible, by finding grounds to lock him up permanently.
The British government considers Bahrain to be on the Correct Path.
As was revealed in January, Bahrain is to host a British Naval base; in announcing this move, Foreign Secretary Phil Hammond cited “significant reform” in Bahrain as a sign that Bahrain was “travelling in the right direction.”
Prominent dissident Maryam Al-Khawaja told me that she viewed such statements as virtual “PR” for the regime, decrying the timing of Hammond’s assertion, which took place at a moment “when the crackdown is much worse.”
Asma Darwish, Hussain Jawad’s wife, expressed similar sentiments. When I asked her for a response to Britain’s presentation of the situation in her country, she said: “I invite Hammond to my house to see what is really happening in Bahrain.”
The US Navy parks the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.
At any rate, Elham Manea just told us Jawad has been released.