News / Middle East

Amnesty International: Many Bahraini Protesters Shot, Some at Close Range

A mourner holds up a portrait of Abdulrassul Hujairi during his funeral in the village of Buri outside Manama on March 21, 2011
A mourner holds up a portrait of Abdulrassul Hujairi during his funeral in the village of Buri outside Manama on March 21, 2011

Multimedia

Audio

The global rights group Amnesty International has a fact-finding team in Bahrain this week. Members have been meeting with government officials, human rights advocates and opposition members in an effort to investigate reports that the government used undue force in its crackdown on protesters. The watchdog group is also looking into the arrests and detentions of hundreds of protesters, bloggers and activists. Said Boumedouha is a member of the Amnesty delegation and spoke by phone from Manama with VOA’s Cecily Hilleary.

Listen to Cecily Hilleary’s full interview with Said Boumedouha:

Hilleary: Said, you are investigating - among other things - the reported use of force by the government and other security forces. Can you tell me anything about your findings on that particular aspect?

Boumedouha: Well, basically, we have been looking at the cases of deaths of protesters and also people who have been injured and the whole issue of policing. And it is clear that in a lot of cases there has been a lot of use of excessive force by the security forces, and some of the deaths - in fact, most of the deaths - have been caused by the use of shotguns - sometimes at a very close range. So it’s very clear, when it comes to policing, I think the security forces have a lot to do, basically.

First of all, we are asking for - because there was an investigation that was set up following an order issued by the King in February, which we have been told is investigating all the acts of violence that happened in March as well. So, there has been a lot of use of force.  And sometimes, to be honest with you, sometimes unnecessary use of force.

And also, we have talked to a lot of people who live outside of Manama, and there have been quite a few incidents there of excessive use of force as well, not just in the use of shotguns, but the use of tear gas and also rubber bullets and sound bombs as well.

Hilleary: We see there’s been a crackdown on bloggers, activists, medical personnel…

Boumedouha: Well, yes, definitely, there have been a lot of arrests. We have talked to people who have relatives who have been arrested and basically they have been arrested and detained by the military. They are also being investigated by the military prosecution, which is very, very worrying, because as far as we know, these people are civilians. And in fact, a few people are being interrogated and in a very few cases - I think six people have now been formally interrogated. We hear that lawyers attended the interrogations a few days ago.

And these people - we heard there are up to 400 people detained, including eleven women and most of the leaders of the protests who were arrested in the Pearl Roundabout. But I think we also have to be careful here because I think a lot of people - we have also had meetings with government officials, and they are saying, for example, that these people who have been arrested are, as far as [Amnesty International is] concerned - we are saying that the leaders of these protests and the people who have been detained, the leaders, seven or eight people, are prisoners of conscience, and we are calling for their release. And the (the Bahraini government) are challenging that in a way and they are saying that they are not prisoners of conscience, they have been calling for an Islamic republic.

But still, if they haven’t used violence and they haven’t advocated violence, they should not be there, basically. And that includes, among those arrested, it includes medical doctors and other professions as well. But obviously, for us, what concerns us, is the manner that they have been detained and the type of rights they have. They don’t have any access to their families. Only six of them have had access to lawyers. The families don’t even know where they are held, even the lawyers don’t know where they are held.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More