on: December 25, 2007
The Right To Peaceful Assembly Gone With The Wind
the Arab Program for Human Rights Activists (APHRA)
observes with concern the latest events in Bahrain kingdom in the aftermath of the demonstrations held in support of torture victims on December 17th 2007 and the resulting clashes between people and security forces in different regions in Bahrain, the arrest campaign, the excessive use of force for separating demonstrators and the storming of the houses of several civil society activists whether or not they participated in the demonstrations. Among the activists arrested at the morning of Friday 21st December 2007 were Haitham Al-Tamar, member of the committee for unemployed and low-income people, Naji Ali Feteal and Nader Ahmad Al-Salatena, members of the Bahraini organization for human rights, Abd-Allah Mohsin, Mohammad Al-Sankees and Shaker Mohammad Al-Hemli. In the house break-in campaign, computers, CDs and important papers were seized. According to some local estimates, 39 activists were arrested up to the present with the pretense of searching for a governmental rifle that was lost in the demonstrations as claimed by the ministry of the interior.
The Arab Program for Human Rights Activists (APHRA)
confirms that these storming campaigns and the following arrests made by the Bahraini security forces are completely incompatible with all international conventions that guarantee the right to peaceful assembly as the collective vehicle through which citizens express their opinions and legitimate demands. APHRA emphasizes that this security-based approach by the Bahraini government gets Bahrain back to the pre-reform era, gives priority to security method over democratic one and abolishes all promises given by the monarch at the turn of the millennium. These acts by the Bahraini security forces also violate articles 9 and 21 of the international covenant on civil and political rights that prohibit arbitrary arrests and guarantee the right to peaceful assembly.
APHRA asks the Bahraini authorities to immediately stop the revenge campaign and the blockade put against the people of Sanabis and Al-Diya and other regions of Bahrain and to immediately release the arrested people, particularly prisons of conscience who were arrested prior to the December 17th demonstrations. APHRA also calls for initiating an immediate inquiry for examining the claims about the excessive use of power by security forces in separating demonstrators resulting in the death of Ali Jasim in December 17th demonstrations and imposing penalties on the convicted persons.
Meanwhile, APHRA appeals to all Arab and international civil society organizations to show solidarity with the human rights activists who were arrested at the morning of Friday 21st December 2007 and to put pressure on the Bahraini authorities to put an end to all the forms of suppression to which human rights activists in Bahrain are exposed.