Bahrain: Two more people martyred as AI calls for release of Khawaja
A new addition to the caravan of martyrs has proven the Al Khalifa lethal approach to the crisis engulfing their despotic rule for more than two centuries. On 28th March Hajji Hussain Maajed Hassan Al Majed, 69, from Demstan died as a direct consequence of inhaling excessive amounts of the lethal chemical gases fired by the Alkhalifa mercenaries earlier. The martyr had not suffered any downturn in his health until his house had been targeted earlier in the month. His house is on the main road near an area which is at the centre of daily confrontations. He had not suffered from any ill-health in the past. After the incident he was taken to hospital but was released a week later. He was exposed to more chemical gases and his health deteriorated rapidly and he passed away. His martyrdom brings to 81, the number of martyrs since the revolution erupted on 14th February 2011.
Another martyr during the past week is 27-years old Sabir Mahfoodh from Shahrakkan. He had been hit with a rubber bullet a few weeks ago. He kept the incident secret even when he was later detained and tortured. He was subjected to excessive inhalation of chemical gases that caused his health to deteriorate rapidly prior to his martyrdom on 24th March. He was hospitalised several times but the effects of the inhalation continued as his town was repeatedly gassed by the Al Khalifa mercenary forces.
Today, Amnesty International called on the Bahraini regime to release the renowned human rights activist, Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja whose health is deteriorating rapidly. The statement said: Amnesty considers Al-Khawaja to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression. He has not used or advocated violence in his participation in the anti-government protests, and no such evidence was shown by the authorities during his trial. Al-Khawaja has not eaten for more than seven weeks in protest at his sentence and his family have told Amnesty that he has now reduced his intake of glucose and minerals. According to his lawyer, he has lost 16kg since his hunger strike began on 8 February. Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther said: “Bahrain must ensure that Al-Khawaja is released immediately and unconditionally.”
The Independent newspaper today published an article titled : "UK accused of 'double standards' over weapons exports to Bahrain”. It said that according to research by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, several licences were granted for arms exports, including in February and March 2011, and during the height of the violence. In April last year, an export licence for "training hand grenades" worth more than £70,000 was issued, and was followed later in the year by licences for the sale of "body armour" "gun silencers" and "weapons sights" Denis MacShane, the Labour MP who challenged the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in the Commons last year over arms exports to Bahrain, said Britain should be ashamed of its record of arms sales to Bahrain. "Last year's review... was utterly cynical and the Government should be ashamed," he said.
Meanwhile, the situation on the ground has remained volatile. Daily demonstrations in more than 30 towns and villages have continued unabated. Nightly vigils are held every night in memory of martyrs or to compliment the day protests. The reaction of the regime has been ferocious. Chemical gases have been used extensively not only against demonstrators but also innocent families inside their homes. Images of attacks are spread every night on Facebook and Twitter. But the silence of the international bodies is deafening. More than thirty people have so far died as a direct result of inhaling these lethal gases.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
30th March 2012