We’ve all heard of the film Sleepless in Seattle, full of romance and racy scenes.
Now the world can feast their eyes on Boycotting in Bahrain, a much more dramatic saga featuring repression, torture and vote rigging.
While the political junkies of the world have their eyes peeled on the US midterm elections this Tuesday, the tiny Middle Eastern island kingdom of Bahrain is engaged in its own parliamentary elections, replete with explicit government crackdowns on three opposition groups and a kangaroo-court-style trial of over two dozen human rights activists, opposition activists and bloggers.
Bahrain, a strategic American military partner and home to the US Fifth Fleet, is a Shiite majority country ruled by a Sunni minority, at the top of which is the royal al-Khalifa family. The Gulf state has been plagued by high levels of sectarian tension for decades.
Two months ago the Bahrain Ministry of Justice announced a crackdown on three Bahraini opposition groups – the Bahrain Freedom Movement, the Haq Movement and the Al-Wafa Islamic Movement – ahead of this month’s elections for 40 members of the Council of Representatives. Bahraini national security forces arrested some two dozen human rights activists, opposition members, dissident clerics and critical bloggers, accusing them of (among many charges) “forming an authorized group which incites to overthrow the government.”