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Bahrain: No More Excuses - HRF on December 2011

Bahrain: No More Excuses - HRF on December 2011

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A Human Rights First (HRF) report reveals that not much has change in the weeks since the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) released its findings that the Kingdom’s government had engaged in a series of grave human rights abuses.
A Human Rights First (HRF) report reveals that not much has change in the weeks since the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) released its findings that the Kingdom’s government had engaged in a series of grave human rights abuses.

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Bahrain: No More Excuses–Time for Radical Change
Released December 2011
About Us
Human Rights First believes that building respect forhuman rights and the rule of law will help ensure thedignity to which every individual is entitled and will stemtyranny, extremism, and violence.Human Rights First protects people at risk: refugees whoflee persecution, victims of crimes against humanity orother mass human rights violations, victims ofdiscrimination, those whose rights are eroded in the nameof national security, and human rights advocates who aretargeted for defending the rights of others. These groupsare often the first victims of societal instability andbreakdown; their treatment is a harbinger of wider-scalerepression. Human Rights First works to prevent violationsagainst these groups and to seek justice andaccountability for violations against them.Human Rights First is practical and effective. We advocatefor change at the highest levels of national andinternational policymaking. We seek justice through thecourts. We raise awareness and understanding throughthe media. We build coalitions among those with divergentviews. And we mobilize people to act.
Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. To maintain our independence, we accept no government funding.
This report is available for free online atwww.humanrightsfirst.org. © 2011 Human Rights First. All Rights Reserved.
Human Rights First
New York
Washington D.C.
 333 Seventh Avenue 100 Maryland Avenue, NE13th Floor Suite 500New York, NY 10001-5108 Washington, DC 20002-5625Tel.: 212.845.5200 Tel: 202.547.5692Fax: 212.845.5299 Fax: 202.543.5999
This report briefly examines the response of the BahrainGovernment to the release and recommendations of theBahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI)published on November 23, 2011, including the continuedprosecution of the notorious case of 20 medics. Ithighlights some emblematic cases of those who continueto be prosecuted or detained by the Bahrain regime,including a group of policemen who refused to join thecrackdown against the democracy protestors earlier thisyear. It also features the cases of teacher Mahdi AbuDeeb and the treatment of Human Rights DefenderAbdulhadi Al Khawaja in detention.It summarizes Human Rights First’s findings, andevidence presented by the BICI, showing complicity of theBahrain Defence Forces (BDF) in the crackdown. Aproposed $53m weapons sale from the U.S. to arm theBDF is currently on hold, pending the U.S. Government'sassessment of Bahrain's human rights performance.
Poor Response to Its Own Report
The room hushed when Cherif Bassiouni stepped to thepodium in one of the royal palaces in Bahrain to deliver hissummary of the long-awaited Bahrain IndependentCommission of Inquiry (BICI). It was 3.30 pm onWednesday November 23. He had led the commission inits work over the previous five months after beingappointed by King Hamad bin Al Khalifa of Bahrain toinvestigate the crackdown and associated events earlier inthe year. The commission was paid for by the king.
 The report was awaited with some anticipation by theBahrain authorities, international media and othergovernments, not least the U.S. Government, which haddeclared that it would wait for the report before decidinghow to proceed with a proposed $53m arms sale toBahrain. “The [State] Department will review theCommission’s findings carefully and assess the
The investigation was paid for the by Bahrain government, which hadallocated $US1.3m to its bank account. According to the BICI report,Bassiouni was paid $US22,500 a month, the other four commissioners$US1,00 per day for work done in Bahrain.
government of Bahrain’s efforts to implement therecommendations and make needed reforms. We willweigh these factors and confer with Congress beforeproceeding with additional steps related to the recentlynotified arms sale,” it said in a letter dated October 18 toSen Ron Wyden (D-OR) in response to his concerns—andthose of other Senators—about the wisdom of arming theBahrain regime.Bassiouni stood in front of the King of Bahrain and largelyconfirmed what the world’s leading international humanrights organizations and media outlets had been saying formonths:
 thousands of people were illegally arrested,
 many were tortured;
 detainees were subjected to unfair trials;
 several people died in custody;
 dozens had been killed in the streets;
 thousands of workers and students were dismissed forperceived association with the democracy protests;
 there were some attacks on expat workers;
 there had been a series of attacks on Shi’a places ofworship.A series of recommendations followed his hefty, 500-pagereport which King Hamad promised to implement.However, in the days since the report's release theBahrain regime has not significantly altered its behavior.Police continue to attack protestors and funeral mourners.Those imprisoned after being convicted on the basis oftortured confessions have not been released. Those whoappear to be detained on the basis of peacefully exercisingtheir freedoms of expression or assembly are stillimprisoned.King Hamad has ordered the establishment of acommittee to “follow up and implement” the BICIrecommendations. It is expected to report by the end ofFebruary and to make suggestions “including therecommendations to make the necessary amendments tothe legislation and the application of therecommendations.” It includes the Minister for Justice, andhuman rights activists told HRF some of those on the

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