Bahraini Athletes’ Trial Postponed, Security Chief Replaced
A Bahraini court has postponed the trial of 61 athletes and sports officials charged with illegal assembly and inciting hatred against Bahrain’s monarchy. Defense attorney Mohsen al-Alawi said the hearing was rescheduled for January4 because most of the defendants did not appear before the court. The defendants include handball, basketball and volleyball players along with referees and administrators for several sports, and they are among 150 Shiite sportsmen detained as part of crackdowns on protests earlier this year.
Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa reiterated Bahrain’s “commitment to democratic progress” in a press release, stating that “we will not be on the wrong side of history.” State Department Spokesman Mark Toner called the report “a good first step,” but urged “the government to meet the high standards of transparency and accountability that were recommended by the report.” Toner also said the U.S. “very much want[s] to see the democratic aspirations of the Bahraini people met by the government.”
Meanwhile, Sheikh Khalifa bin Abdullah was removed as the head of Bahrain’s National Security Agency following an inquiry into the crackdown on protesters earlier this year and has been moved to another senior security role. It was also announced that Ali bin Saleh al-Saleh will lead the national commission that will examine the recommendations of the BICI report. Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of al-Wefaq, called for the government to resign after the BICI report found evidence of systematic rights abuses during a crackdown on pro-democracy protests this year. ”What is required in Bahrain [based on the] report of Mr. Bassiouni is that the government offers its resignation for having been responsible for the torture of citizens,” Salman told Al Jazeera television.
Eoin O’Brien also criticizes Ireland’s medical organizations for “failing to support colleagues in Bahrain.” Additionally, Karim Ali Mansour gave an account of torture endured while detained in Bahrain, alleging both physical and psychological torture.