11-Year-Old Released, Still Faces Charges
An 11-year-old boy detained for almost a month in Bahrain was released yesterday and described his ordeal to Al-Jazeera. Ali Hasan said that he was playing outside with friends when police came and accused him of participating in violent activities. The boy still faces charges of “joining an illegal gathering,” and chief prosecutor for juveniles Noura Al-Khalifa said that Hasan confessed to having blocked the road with garbage cans and wood planks after a man paid him to do so.
Meanwhile, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa is backing an attempt to bridge sectarian divides in Bahrain in the form of a new group called the Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse. Despite the ongoing unrest, the Ministry of Culture is going ahead with the Bahrain Summer Festival, which will include circuses and concerts, and is themed as “Manama, City of Joy.” In Washington, the Bahrain Press Club launched a liaison office at the National Press Club building, and held a reception attended by international media, NGOs, and government representatives.
Frederic Wehrey writes that reform is stalled in Bahrain, and the resumption of arms sales has not put the US in a position to push for positive change in the kingdom.