VIDEO: U.S.-Backed Bahrain Arrests & Deports 2 U.S. Human Rights Observers As 1st Anniversary Of Democracy Protests Nears
Two American peace activists, Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath, were arrested and detained this Saturday, while acting as Human Rights Observers in U.S.-backed Bahrain. Both are members of the Witness Bahrain initiative.
The Bahraini monarchy deported the two on Sunday, and they were flown — handcuffed behind their backs, and prohibited from using the bathroom, and from eating or drinking for the entire seven hour flight — to London.
According to Arraf, Bahrain appears to be removing all human rights activists and observers in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of the democratic uprising against the ruling monarchy:
[We] also were getting reports of journalists and human rights organization representatives being denied entry into the country in the lead-up to the first anniversary of the Bahrain revolution, and this caused great alarm, that the government was planning to escalate its oppression of the people.
A November 2011 report, conducted by an independent commission, and authorized by the Bahraini monarchy in an attempt to ease tensions, concluded that grave violations of human rights had been committed by government troops. These violations included disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force and firearms to repress the protests, and a systematic and deliberate policy of torture.
The panel confirmed that government forces murdered dozens of people during the protests, and five reform activists had been tortured to death while in custody. Other detainees were tortured by electric shock and by beatings with wires and hoses. Additionally, the panel found that activists were later targeted and fired from their jobs and universities and caused to lose their homes.
Just weeks ago, the Obama Administration was reported to be quietly selling arms to the Bahraini monarchy, in spite of these documented human rights abuses against its people.
In the following video, Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! interviews the two American peace activists just deported from Bahrain, Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath. They discuss their arrests, what is happening now in Bahrain, and the level of assistance they received by the U.S. embassy during their detention.
The Bahraini monarchy has blocked the above footage of Arraf being arrested by security forces from being shown in Bahrain.
Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy, recently arrived at Bahrain Int’l Airport as an observer — there to witness the gov’t response to peaceful protests — and he is reporting that he too has been prohibited from entering the country:
… the Bahrain authorities would not let me enter the country. At this writing, it’s 5 p.m. local time. My flight got in at 2:15 AM. I have been informed that the Director of Immigration has decided that I shall not have a visa to enter Bahrain — although in the past it was the practice of the Bahrain authorities to give visas to Americans in the airport pretty much automatically — so the authorities are saying that the only way I am leaving the airport is on a plane out of the country. At this writing, it looks like I could be in the airport for another 36 hours.
I won’t be able to contribute to [the Witness Bahrain] reports, since, sitting in the airport, I won’t be able to observe the protests and the government response.