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

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    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.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora