Category Archives for "Bahrain"


This week, reflecting the farcical state of “justice” in Bahrain, I sent the petition letter “Prevent Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa From Attending the London Olympics 2012”, to David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister. This is what I said:

Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa

TO: David Cameron, Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA

“Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing to draw your attention to more than 10,137 people who have signed my online petition calling on the British government to prevent Prince Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa of Bahrain from entering the United Kingdom to attend the London Olympics.

The petition reads:

‘We, the undersigned, urge the UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Jacques Rogge of the IOC, to ban Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa from the 2012 Olympics in London, on the grounds of substantial and documented allegations of the sectarian persecution of athletes and his personal involvement in their torture – all of which is completely against the Olympic Charter of ‘preserving human dignity’ and allowing everyone ‘to practice sport without discrimination’.

I started this campaign with Community Petitions, an online petition platform hosted by global campaigning community AVAAZ. Since launching this petition, over 10,000 people have joined my call, including thousands of citizens of the United Kingdom and Bahrain.

Sheikh Nasser is the son of Bahrain’s ruling King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, one of the dictators who has tried to crush the Arab Spring with force. Bahraini athletes allege that Sheikh Nasser has used his platform as head of the country’s Olympic Committee to ensure that athletes in particular have been punished if they dissent.

Sheikh Nasser is alleged to be behind the committee that targeted 150 athletes and sports officials for their democratic views and which subsequently wrecked the lives and sporting careers of many of them.

Several of the protesters have also claimed that they were personally tortured by Sheikh Nasser after their arrests for peaceful demonstrations and detailed allegations have been made against him in court. A description of these can be found at the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights website:

I believe that these testimonies are both reliable and credible and documentation has already been submitted to your officials from the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

There should be no place for him in the United Kingdom or at the London Olympics.

Despite the BICI report the Al Khalifa Government is particularly good at making pretence of doing one thing and continuing to the do the opposite. Human rights abuses and imprisonment purely on sectarian grounds, based on trumped up charges, continue on a daily basis.

The continued jailing of human rights activists like Nabeel Rajab and Abdulhadi AlKhawaja on fabricated charges rather proves the point.

Last Saturday 14th July more than 200 people, including myself, demonstrated outside the Bahraini and Saudi embassies to bring attention to the plight of the above and hundreds of other political prisoners in Bahrain. 

The UK Government makes much of human rights abuse and lack of democracy and justice in Syria, China, North Korea, Iran and elsewhere but shamefully fails to say anything even vaguely critical of Bahrain allowing its own self–interest to take precedence.

The petition can be viewed online at:

I am happy to provide you with the names and countries of all 10,137 signers at your request.

Yours sincerely, Peter Clifford”

I also sent similar letters to:

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, 70 Whitehall, London SW1A 2AS.

William Hague, Foreign Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH.

Damian Green MP, Minister of State for Immigration, Home Office, Direct Communications Unit, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF

Alistair Burt MP, Minister Responsible for Bahrain, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH.

And finally: Jacques Rogge, President International Olympic Committee, Chateau De Vidy, Case Postale 356; 1007 Lausanne, Switzerland

Feel free to do the same and use all or any part of the letter.

In a letter of reply to my own local MP, who raised the issue previously on my behalf, Alistair Burt said, “Our policy is clear that accreditation shall be refused to any individual who may present a safety or security risk, where their presence at the Games or in the UK would not be conducive to the public good or if there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that they have committed human rights abuses.”

In the case of Sheikh Nasser, the chances are that the British Government will let him into the UK and allow him to take part in the Olympic Games, wriggling out of the issue by saying complaints about him are not “independently verified”.

As long as the UK (and the US) is hypocritical about Bahrain, condemning human rights abuse elsewhere but remaining silent when it is carried out by one of its strategic allies, then nothing will change.

However, the point has been made, Sheikh Nasser’s alleged crimes recorded – and they will be on the Internet forever for succeeding generations to see, recall and remember.



“Do Not Forget Younis Ashoori”

FARCE 1: Younis Ashoori is a 61 year old hospital administrator, whose only “crime” appears to be that he, on orders from a superior, supplied oxygen cylinders to injured protesters in March 2011.

For this, and other trumped up charges he was condemned to 3 years in prison by a military court.

He is unwell, suffers severe pain from kidney stone problems and other complications and has been dragged back to court for a decision on his appeal no less than 10 TIMES!

His next appearance in court in this continuing psychological and emotional torture is  on 25th July.

You can sign a petition calling for Younis’ release, HERE:

FARCE 2 :  Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, has been jailed for 3 months for sending out comments on Twitter which the Al Khalifa Government does not like (EDITOR: I don’t suppose they like mine much either!).

Nabeel Rajab – “Sumood” (Steadfast)

He is also due in court to face other charges which are likely to prolong his stay in prison.

His family have been told they cannot visit him until August.

Meanwhile police officers, accused and on trial for murder, are allowed out from court  and free to go home every night.

In one case, an unnamed 22 year old Bahraini policeman is accused of killing Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima, 21, with a shotgun (euphemistically called a “pellet gun” in the Gulf Daily News report).

The police officer claims that he shot Ali Mushaima “accidentally” from 10 metres away, despite the fact that another officer says it was only 3 metres and Ali was shot in the back.

But this officer can go home every night to his comfortable bed and his air conditioned home. Younis Ashoori and many other prisoners in Jaw Prison are sweltering in temperatures which can exceed 45 C as part of the air conditioning system there is not functioning and conditions are crowded.





BAHRAIN: Persecution of Adults Not Enough – Children Now Under Fire






In a week that has seen a 11 year old released after more than 1 month in detention, more children arrested, some in the middle of the night, and now yesterday a small child serously injured with birdshot, Bahrain’s Opposition Tweeters can be forgiven for asking on Twitter whether the Al Khalifa Government has “run out of grown-ups to arrest and shoot?”.

Ali Hassan After His Release

Ali Hassan, the 11 year old (sometimes reported as 12) was released on bail on Monday this week after being initially imprisoned and then held in a juvenile detention centre.

While in detention the six grade student was forced to take his exams while behind bars, not the most conducive environment for clear thinking and exam preparation. All Ali wanted to do was to go home and be with his Mum.

Ali is still charged with “illegal gathering” and “rioting” and accused of trying to block the street against entry by police into his village, and will have to return to court on 20th June.

The youngster says he was just playing in the street with 2 friends when they were chased by plaincloths police. When Ali fell over while trying to escape, he was taken away and unecessarily incarcerated. You can hear his own testimony in this Al Jazeera interview, HERE:

Policewomen Smirk at Despondent Mother after Arresting Her Son

As Ahlam Oun points out an “illegal gathering” is a meeting together of 5 people or more, which would of course make many family meetings “against the law”.

In her blog post Ahlam suggests that this has become the authorities “quick-fix” to neutralise anyone they don’t like, but conversely they fail to prosecute anyone who supports them when the Al Fateh movement for example hold an unlicensed rally. You can read Ahlam’s blog, HERE:

There have also been numerous reports of villages being raided this week by police in the middle of the night, especially between the hours of 1.30 and 4.30 am.

The raids seem systematic and deliberate, one by one targeting in the last 7 days the villages of Salmabad, Daih, Jidhafs, Al Musala, Aali, Sanabis, Sitra, Buri, Muharraq, Duraz, Bilad Al Qadeem and many more and arresting people while they are still half asleep.

The raids are often noisy, aggressive and violent. The usual “tactful” approach, and almost always without a warrant to arrest, can be seen in this daylight video of a group of imcompetent “Keystone Kops” attempting to break down a door, HERE:

Ali Ashoor, shown here, is 16 years old and has been detained since January 5th. He is currently the youngest prisoner in Jaw prison.

Ali Ashoor 16 Year Old in Jaw Prison -Courtesy @jihankazerooni

Yesterday Hassan AlSamea, 12 years old, was dragged away from his mother and arrested despite her attempts to prevent it.

The despondent face of Hassan’s Mother and those of the smirking female police officers having succeeded in their task, say it all.

You can see the “battle for Hassan’s freedom”, HERE:

12 Year Old Dragged Away From His Mother


Worst of all this week is the shooting of a 4 year old child (earlier reported as 5 years old.

EDITOR: Can someone tell me why there are always problems in Bahrain getting ages right?)

Ahmed Naham was sitting in the street with his Father who was selling fish, as photographic evidence confirms.

Mr. Naham says the police coming down the street told them to “go away” but as he prepared to pick up his child, a policeman opened fire. The 4 year old now has 2 pellets in his left eye and more in other parts of his body. The father has pellets in his thigh, stomach and arms. Video on the Internet shows police carrying the boy away, closely followed by his father, HERE:

Father & 4 Year Old Shot By Police

After arriving at the Salmaniya Medical complex, police and security service personnel prevented people and some members of the family from speaking to the father or seeing the little boy.

He is now undergoing treatment, HERE:

EDITOR: It seems very evident to me that this is a new tactic – target children and indirectly intimidate their parents in the hope that they will keep their offspring away from protests. Fat chance – far too late for that! Sumood.


But of course, the persecution of adults in the Shia community in Bahrain does not stop either. This morning,Thursday, while nine of the medics who have been on trial for over a year in military and civil courts, were acquitted of all charges, nine others were convicted.

Those acquitted following a series of internationally condemned and farcical trials were Zahra AlSammak, Hassan AlTublani,
Fatima Haji, Nada Dhaif, Ahmed Omran, Rola AlSaffar, Najah Khalil, Mohammed AlShehab and Sayed Marhoon.

However, the following were found guilty, albeit with reduced sentences, Ali AlEkri (5 years), Ghassan Dhaif (1 year), Mahmood Asghar (6 months), Bassem Dhaif (1 month), Ebrahim AlDemistani (3 years), (Nader Diwani and Abdulkhaliq AlOraibi (both 1 month), Dhiaa AbuIdrees (2 months) and Saeed AlSamaheeji (1 year).

Some of the Drs Imprisoned or Acquitted Today

Two other medics did not appear in court to appeal their 15 year sentences, having either gone abroad or underground in Bahrain.

The court threw out some of the most serious charges such as “occupying the Salmaniya hospital” and “possessing weapons”, piles of which, including chains, a sword and an AK 47, were brought into court at a previous hearing.

“This is an unjust ruling,” Twefik Dhaif, the uncle of two of the convicted medics said.

“These are the elite doctors in this country. We have 15 doctors in my family, and most of the people they have treated were Al Khalifas,” referring to Bahrain’s controlling family. You can read Al Jazeera’s report, HERE:

Clearly this has nothing to do with justice. Everyone knows that all the medics did was help treat the injuries of protesters in very difficult circumstances.

Reducing sentences and freeing some is the best the Bahrain Government and judicial system can come up with in the face of continued international criticism and in an a pathetic attempt to save face. And it is not enough.

Donna McKay, the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, said after the verdict, “It is a travesty of justice that the trials continued and that the medics are now sentenced to jail time”.

Dr. Nada Dhaif, the only one of the doctors on trial allowed to travel, spoke at a demonstration in Dublin on 12rh June, HERE: supported by other speakers such Jamila Hanan (aka Frankie Dolan), HERE:  Respect to you both for your clear statements.

One of the nurses’ story, published at, is very telling too.


And the injustice continues. Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was due in court again this week but was remanded in prison again, without a court visit, until 18th June. He is also due in court on 19th May on another charge, but no-one will be surprised if that hearing is delayed also.

All part of the not-so-sophisticated sadistic mental torture practiced by the Al Khalifa Government.

Ahmed Aoun, an imprisoned 17 year old student, who had a police shotgun pellet embedded in his right eye, was denied an operation at the end of May, but now 2 weeks later the surgery has been carried out. The delay may have cost him his sight.

He was originally arrested while receiving treatment at a private hospital for his injuries which were sustained while supporting a peaceful demonstration.

Sayed Hadi Al Musawi – Courtesy BJDM

Now comes news that Sayed Hadi Al Musawi, a former Opposition MP who recently gave testimony at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva during Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on human rights, has been called for questioning today at the Public Prosecutor’s office following a complaint by the Ministry of Interior.

At the time of the UPR hearing local loyalist media in Bahrain referred to the participants as “traitors” and they were threatened with prosectuion by the Minister of Interior himself.

The Bahrain Justice and Development Movement, who also attended the UPR session, said “Regardless of whether this relates to Sayed Hadi’s involvement in the UPR there is no justification for the call for investigation. Sayed Hadi is an opposition activist and human rights defender who has always worked within the framework of the law.

This is is another attempt to try to silence the opposition and does not constitute a serious attempt by the authorities to take the country out of the current crisis.” There is further information, HERE:


In addition to all that the likely direction of further arrests and prosecutions is indicated by a statement reported in the press by the recently appointed Minister of State for Information Affairs, Samira Rajab.

Samira Rajab Expresses Her Admiration for Dictator Sadam Hussein

Samira Rajab, a past supporter of dictator Sadam Hussein apparently, said that Bahrain is set to introduce tough new laws to combat the “misuse” of social media.

Claiming that action was necessary to “guarantee the security of the state”, the minister said, “We have a right to punish those who indulge in seditious behaviour and create disunity among the people.

We have to think of how to protect our national security. We have these new threats and we have to see how we can tackle those threats”.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Bahrain Centre for Strategic and International Studies and Energy, she asserted that “social media had been and continues to be abused by the so-called human rights activists”, citing claims “that drowning victims had been killed by torture” and that “sickel cell victims” had been killed by security forces.

(EDITOR: Though independent examination of victims in both those cases has indicated that the victims had been severely tortured before death.) The full report on the minister’s speech is HERE:

Compounding the Al Khalifa Government’s inane and immature ability to understand the rights of individuals to self-expression in the modern world, the King, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa held a meeting at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Command Headquarters.

Also present at the family gathering were Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, State Minister for Defence Affairs Lieutenant General Dr. Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa and BDF Chief of Staff Major General Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa.

King Attends Another Tedious Family Gathering – BNA

In his speech to the officers present, the King said yesterday, “Our armed forces are the protectors of the nation’s achievements and everybody must know that whoever disrespects the forces or its leaders is in fact abusing us”.

We cannot tolerate,” the King continued, “Any irreverence of our beliefs, social values and armed forces in the name of freedom of expression. All competent executive agencies have to take the necessary measures to address these violations in accordance with the law”. (You can read the full report, HERE:  )

TRANSLATION: “Criticise the armed forces, police or security forces and we will take that personnally and make up new laws to prosecute you for defamation”. For the oppressed in Bahrain it does not get any easier.

BAHRAIN: Allegations of Sexual Misconduct and Continued Human Rights Abuse





TIMELINE – 7th JUNE 2012 12.55 GMT:

Bahrain’s Ambassador to France, Dr Nasser Mohammed Al Balooshi (EDITOR: English spelling of the surname confirmed by the Gulf Daily News today) yesterday denied “unfounded allegations” that he had groped a domestic worker at his up-market residence in the Paris suburb of Neuilly.

Ambassador Balooshi With Wary Embassy Staff

On Tuesday the French police had announced that they had opened an initial investigation into claims by a 44 year old domestic worker that the Ambassador had groped her and attempted rape on a number of occasions between July 2010 and October 2011.

The woman, whose husband has also lodged a complaint, was fired shortly afterwards.

The alleged victim also says that the Ambassador’s son threatened her with a gun in September 2010.

A statement released by the Bahrain embassy in Paris yesterday said, “His Excellency Nasser Al Balooshi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to France, forcefully refutes the inaccurate and unfounded allegations of assault that former domestic workers have made against him and his son,” and added that the ambassador was available to French investigators “to shed light on these false accusations.”

The initial inquiry is to determine the veracity of the allegations. It could lead to charges, the appointment of an investigating judge, or no further action.

Back in Bahrain, unable to completely ignore the international media reporting of the incident, both the official Bahrain Government News Agency (BNA) and the leading English language paper, Gulf Daily News (GDN), played down the report.

In 7 short lines the BNA reported  that his “Excellency … forcefully refutes the inaccurate and unfounded allegations” and without any investigation has already decided that these were “false allegations”.

The GDN rather naively headlined the report “Harassment Case Envoy Skips Work”, as though he had rather naughtily just decided to  take a day off without permission.

Again in a short 8 line report it repeated the outline of the alleged allegation and then said, “An embassy official told the GDN that Dr Balooshi did not show up for work yesterday, without commenting further” and , “Officials at Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment”.

(EDITOR: They had all obviously “skipped work” for the day as well suffering from an acute outbreak of “dire embarrassment”.)

The GDN also pointed out that Dr. Balooshi is Bahrain’s permanent delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.


What the state news agency or the GDN have not mentioned (neither being part of a free press) is that Dr. Nasser Ballooshi is the brother of Dr. Fatima Balooshi, who until Tuesday was Bahrain’s Minister of Human Rights and Social Development.

Dr Fatima Balooshi - Embarrassed Sister? - GDN

Since Tuesday, when the reports from Paris first surfaced, Dr. Fatima Balooshi is now only the “Minister of Social Development”, “Human Rights” having “gone out the window” and  hastily dropped by royal degree from both her official title and the name of the Ministry.

Co-incidence? Or has a family “human rights abuse” “accident” caused the Minister and the Bahrain Government acute embarrassment?

Any bets on how long before the “ambassador” is recalled to Manama?

Another Tweet received this morning comments on Dr Naser Balooshi’s former post as Director of Administration at the Bahrain Central Bank, where he is reported to have been reluctant to recruit Shia employees and to have “used the bank drivers to serve him and his family”. “He treated them bad”, says the Tweeter.

Nasser Al-Balooshi was also formally Bahrain’s ambassador to the United States. Apparently, the Balooshi family originates from Iranian Balochistan, a Sunni area in conflict with the Shia Government of Iran.

(EDITOR: And which is why the Al Khalifa Government employs Shia-hating mercenaries from the Balochistan area in Pakistan to work for them as policemen.)


Talking of HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE (1), here is a picture of 11 year old Ali Hassan, now detained in Bahrain police custody for more than 3 weeks for “participating in an illegal gathering”.

Ali Hassan, 11 Year Old Detained for 3 Weeks

(EDITOR: Perhaps he and “Ambassdor Balooshi could swop places? I am sure Ali would be much better behaved.)

Yesterday, Ali is reported to have told his lawyer, “I just want to go home!”.

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE (2): According to reports, Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was arrested in court again yesterday for Tweeting messages allegedly “insulting” the residents of the Sunni dominated neighbourhood of Muharraq.

In a complaint registered with the Public Prosecutor’s office, 24 retired police officers who live in Muharraq accused Nabeel Rajab of casting doubt on their patriotism and allegedly suggesting the people of Muharraq were “government stooges”.

(EDITOR: The retired policemen obviously have too much time on their hands!)

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE (3): It is reported from the Dry Docks Prison that 50 detainees have gone on hunger strike in protest at the continued refusal of the authorities to allow imprisoned demonstrator Ahmed Oun to have scheduled medical treatment for the removal of a shotgun pellet in his eye.

Ahmed Oun, a 17 year old student, was injured after being fired at with a police shotgun whilst taking part in a pro-democracy demonstration and was arrested shortly afterwards after seeking medical help at a private hospital.

Surgery was arranged for the 29th May but Ahmed has been prevented by the authorities from having that treatment. Every second counts. If the pellet is not removed shortly, doctors say he could well lose his sight permanently.

Ahmed is in severe pain, has bleeding from the eye and is reported to have fainted on several occasions.

Since the Formula 1 event in Bahrain in April the use of birdshot directly fired at protesters has increased significantly, causing loss of sight in a number of demonstrators and at least one death. You can read further details, HERE:

There is an #EYE4FREEDOM demonstration in Bahrain today, in support of all those who have lost an eye in the struggle for freedom in Bahrain and specifically to demand treatment for Ahmed Oun.


Ahmed Oun in Private hospital Shortly Before His Arrest. - BCHR


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