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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid