white house continues to support brutally repressive regime in bahrain

by Tim Phillips

The U.S. continues to support the autocratic government in Bahrain, selling arms to a regime that shoots, imprisons, and tortures dissidents. Between 60 and 80 people have died since the Bahraini uprising began on February 14, 2011. After the king appointed an independent tribunal to investigate abuse in the government’s handling of protests, the tribunal released an indictment of the government on November 23, 2011.

Since then, however, the government has failed to implement most of the tribunal’s recommendations regarding how to better respond to protests. Instead, the government simply banned all protests three weeks ago, threatening legal action against anyone who attempts to organize a rally or demonstration. According to an October 30 New York Times article,

the move seemed likely to inflame the already dangerous standoff involving a protest movement that has been unable to wrest freedoms from a government that opposition activists say is methodically blocking all avenues for dissent. In recent weeks, activists have been prosecuted for postings on social media, and doctors, charged with illegal gathering and other crimes after treating protesters, have been sent to jail.

It’s unclear how the ban will change the government’s handling of protests, as many were already considered illegal and met with force. Yesterday a delegation of Bahraini activists came together in the Netherlands to bring more public attention to the worsening human rights situation in their country.