Bahrain: Excessive Violence Against Demonstrators
Security forces used excessive violence against protesters demonstrating peacefully throughout Bahrain yesterday, according to a local activist, when ”tens of thousands attended the rally of opposition parties titled ‘No withdrawal from demanding democracy’.” Prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, lead the march in Manama, Bahrain’s capital city. Police attacked the Manama demonstration, using tear gas and stun grenades to break up the anti-government march. On January 6 Nabeel was beaten at the end of a similar demonstration by riot police. A government official declared that “security forces warned those involved and requested them to disperse, but after they disobeyed orders the security forces took the necessary legal measures.”
Meanwhile, the trial of five police officers began in Manama on January 11. They are being charged in connection with the death of online journalist Zakariya Rashid Hassan Al Asheri and Ali Saqer, who turned himself in to police on the April 5 after receiving threats to his family. The prosecution was prompted by reports alleging the “systematic nature and apparent policy of the use of torture in detention centers in Bahrain” since the beginning of the upheaval in February 2011. The recent report by the Bahraini Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) also asserted that these deaths were due to torture.