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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid