Newly leaked documents show a German spying company that provides technology to governments around the world helped Bahrain spy on its citizens during a crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Analyzing documents released by a hacker this week, the news site The Intercept reports that the company FinFisher helped Bahrain install spyware on dozens of computers, including those of human rights lawyers and an opposition leader who is now in prison.
In Bahrain, state forces fired tear gas at demonstrators near the capital Manama on Wednesday amidst protests over the death of a young activist. Twenty-year-old Sadiq Sabt died this week after being hit by a car last month. Activists say he was deliberately struck. The Bahraini government, meanwhile, has issued new curbs on political groups, ordering them to obtain permission to meet with foreign diplomats and organizations, and to have a government official present at all meetings.
State forces in Bahrain have cracked down on pro-democracy rallies challenging the U.S.-backed monarchy. On Wednesday, Bahrani police fired tear gas and birdshot at a number of protests in Shiite villages around the capital, Manama. Bahraini opposition activists say more than 60 rallies were organized across the country. The U.S. embassy closed down for the day after activists planned to rally outside. The Bahraini monarchy is a key U.S. government ally, hosting the Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Bahrain has barred leading human rights activist Maryam Alkhawaja from entering the country amid a government crackdown ahead of pro-democracy protests planned for this week. On Friday, British Airways blocked Alkhawaja from boarding a flight home due to a request from the Bahraini government. Alkhawaja is acting president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, which released a statement saying she wanted to visit Bahrain in order to help monitor the situation on the ground and to see her father and sister, activists Abdulhadi and Zainab Alkhawaja, who are both in prison.
Pro-democracy rallies are being held in Bahrain today in an ongoing challenge to the U.S.-backed monarchy. Ahead of the protests, the Bahraini government sealed off entire neighborhoods and raided dozens of homes while warning activists of “decisive measures.” At least one major demonstration was organized near the U.S. embassy, prompting the embassy to announce its temporary closure.
A year after their trial started, two years after the alleged incidents, these medics have finally been vindicated after being mistreated or tortured in custody.
Demonstrations will continue following this type of ruling in the courts. And this kind of ruling will further build the strength for the people who are seeking democracy. We hope that a political solution emerges that gives priority to democracy, human rights and freedom, that will benefit everyone in Bahrain.
Bahrain’s top court has upheld the convictions of 13 opposition leaders on allegations of plotting to overthrow the U.S.-backed regime. The activists were sentenced by a military court in 2011, eight of them to life behind bars, after leading massive protests against Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy. Today’s ruling marks the end of their legal options after an appeals court upheld the convictions in September. Another seven activists were also convicted in the initial case, but did not file appeals because they were tried in absentia. Bahrain is a key U.S. government ally, hosting the Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Two policemen in Bahrain have been sentenced to seven years in jail each for beating an opposition member to death. The victim, Karim Fakhrawi, was the founder of an independent newspaper. He died in custody in April 2011. Bahrainis held fresh anti-government protests this week, despite an ongoing crackdown against demonstrators. Bahrain is a key U.S. ally and home to the Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
In Bahrain, government forces cracked down on a pro-democracy rally in the capital Manama on Monday, firing tear gas and arresting demonstrators. Among those detained was Yousef al-Muhafedha, the acting head of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, whose founding president, Nabeel Rajab, is currently serving a two-year term. The U.S.-backed Bahraini monarchy banned all public demonstrations earlier this year.