Arrest of Prominent Activist Nabeel Rajab Draws Ire
Nabeel Rajab, head of Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), was arrested the day before he was due in court facing two charges in connection with organizing and participating what the government says was an illegal protest in Manama. ”They told him they have an order from the public prosecutor to arrest him,” said Yousif Mahafda from BCHR, ”He asked why and they said they don’t know.” BCHR released its own statement, listing human rights defenders who had been arrested, and calling for their immediate release with all false charged dropped. Hacker group Anonymous once again hit Bahrain government websites, vowing that the sites of the Bahrain police and Ministry of Interior would be shut down until Rajab is released from custody.
Meanwhile, the government enacted parliamentary reforms, which state-run media labeled as “the consensus of the people.” State-run media also reported, “A state-of-the-art forensics lab and a new “crime academy” are among a raft of measures in the pipeline that could transform Bahrain’s police service.” According to John Yates, these facilities could be operational within the next two years.
Rami G. Khouri believes Bahrain is the most complex of the Arab Spring uprisings, and says labeling it as a sectarian issue is “easy,” but “miss the main point.” Khouri argues that “current government responses are likely to harden protester attitudes and stoke greater instability in future, if current trends persist,” and adds, “How this issue is resolved will have an enormous impact on developments in other [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries.”