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Bahraini Human Rights Defender: It is time for Biden to let the people of Bahrain decide their own future

Syed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, a prominent Bahraini defender, has expressed his hope that US President Joe Biden would take a different course from his predecessor Donald Trump on the human rights situation in Bahrain.

“It is time for Biden to put geopolitics aside and let the people of Bahrain decide their own future,” he wrote for the Washington Post.

“Looking out over the mass of smiling people marching together, I tasted freedom for the first time,” he said. Al-Wadaei recalled the early days of the Bahrain revolution, which broke out on February 14, 2011, when tens of thousands of Bahrainis came out calling for change in their country.

However, the authorities deployed the army and suppressed the demonstrators and the feeling of hope would not last, especially after the cruel killing of 21-year-old Ali Mushaima, shot in the back by Bahraini security forces.

“I was among thousands arrested and tortured. Several prominent Bahrainis were killed in custody. In the revolution’s dying days, Bahrain’s rulers revealed the true brutality of their regime.” he added

“Since the uprising, any vestige of pro-democracy sentiment in Bahrain has been ruthlessly suppressed. Unlicensed gatherings of more than five people are illegal under Bahraini law, and even mild criticism of the government can land you in prison.” he added.

Meanwhile, the brave leaders of the uprising, such as Abdul Jalil Al Singace and Abdul Wahhab Hussein, remained behind bars, describing it as “a reminder to every Bahraini who dares to dream of freedom.”

Meanwhile, brave leaders of the uprising such as Abduljalil al-Singace and Abdulwahab Husain remain behind bars, as a reminder to any Bahraini who dares to dream of freedom.

But Al-Wadaei clarified that Bahrain’s rulers remain terrified of their people and have gone to extreme lengths to prevent anyone marking the Arab Spring’s 10th anniversary.

Since Feb. 7, Bahrain has arrested at least 15 children for joining protests.”These children and their parents have told me they were beaten and threatened with rape and electrocution to coerce them into signing confessions,” Al-Wadaei said.

Ali Mushaima’s 57-year-old father, Abdulhadi, was also jailed last week after being convicted for attending a protest in 2019. Al-Wadaei pointed to the irony that while his son’s killers have never been brought to justice, Abdulhadi has faced years of harassment from Bahrain’s corrupt judiciary. “The timing of his conviction, just days after the anniversary of his son’s murder, is clearly no coincidence.”

According to Al-Wadaei, this suppression is an “acknowledgment of weakness, not a show of strength.”

He noted that the monarchy in Bahrain has always been supported by its wealthy neighbors in the Gulf and strong friends in Washington and London.

In his first meeting with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa in 2017, Trump made clear human rights were no longer on the agenda. Within days, Bahraini police opened fire on a peaceful sit-in in the village of Duraz, killing five in the worst act of political violence in Bahrain since the uprising. It marked the beginning of a vicious crackdown that continues to this day.

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa met with former US President Donald Trump in 2017,and made it clear that human rights were no longer on the agenda. Within a few days, Bahrain security forces opened fire on a sit-in in the village of Duraz, killing five people.

Earlier, on the day of his inauguration, a letter was sent by human to US President Joe Biden, urging a review of the US policy towards the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain.

In the letter, Executive Director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights, presented a plan that includes a set of policies and programs to reform the human rights situation in the country.

Furthermore, the Gulf House Center for Studies and Publishing says that with the presence of a new administration in the White House, the Bahraini government may wish to verify its record on human rights, especially its treatment of political prisoners.

 

 

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