Bahrain Arrests Eight in Clashes Following Teen’s Funeral
Eight people were arrested Tuesday in clashes following the funeral of 16-year-old Hussam Al Haddad, who died last week of injuries sustained after being beaten by riot police. In an official statement the General Director of Muharraq Governorate Police said the group “bombarded police with Molotov cocktails and stones from the roof of a religious center,” while others blocked roads and began an “illegal rally.” The opposition accused security forces of provoking the violence by firing tear gas into the crowd.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa said he would resume his meetings with local political groups in a continued effort to promote national reconciliation. The Shaikh urged all political societies to take part, arguing that dialogue is essential for national reconciliation. However, according to Al Khalifa, all previous judiciary actions are completely separate from political dialogue. “All cases related to past events that are still being considered or new cases are criminal cases to be decided by courts alone. Due respect of the courts, their decisions and rulings consolidates justice and the rule of law, and protect freedoms and the rights of all parties,” he said.
After Bahrain’s Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to three years in prison last week for his peaceful protests, Sanjeev Bery of Amnesty International questioned why the U.S. State Department took so long in coming to his defense. He noted that the U.S. had “plenty of missed opportunities along the way.” According to Bery, it was not until after Rajab’s conviction, and considerable pressing by reporters, that the State Department called for his release. “It is disappointing that it took so long for a State Department official to clearly and unequivocally say that Nabeel Rajab’s conviction should be ‘vacated,’ he argued, adding, ” U.S. diplomats should have publicly called for Rajab’s release while the charges were still being considered – not once a terrible verdict had been delivered.”