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Bahrain:Violent repression of peaceful demonstrations
BAHRAIN: Violent repression of peaceful demonstrations

Geneva, 16 February 2011. The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) condemns the excessive use of force and violence against the protests that have started on 14 February 2011 in different villages to demand respect for basic human rights, more democracy and better economic conditions, which led to the death of at least two protesters and leaving many others injured, some of them in critical state.

According to the information received, security forces used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the peaceful demonstrations that took place in different Bahraini villages, notably in Dirah, Sitra and Sehla. The protesters, who had declared the 14th February a “Day of Rage” spurred by the recent protests in Tunisia and Egypt, demanded respect for human rights and an end to corruption, and economic inequality in the country. OMCT is concerned about the apparent excessive and indiscriminate use of force by the riot police forces, in this case in particular, also directed to women and children, who were protesting peacefully.

OMCT is particularly preoccupied about the deaths of two young protesters. Mr. Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima reportedly died by a straight shot, on 14 February 2011, at a demonstration in Dirah. Mr. Fadhel Ali AlMatrook was shot, on 15 February 2011, when security forces started to disperse the peaceful funeral procession for Mr. Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima that took place in Dirah.

OMCT calls on the Bahraini authorities to

Immediately put an end to the repression of the peaceful protests and issue clear instructions to the security forces to refrain from using excessive force against the protesters in accordance with international standards, including the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms and the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials;
Guarantee freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression;
Carry out prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into the security forces abuses and violence, in particular into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Mr. Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima and Mr. Fadhel Ali AlMatrook, the results of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and to apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law; and provide the victims with adequate compensation, reparation and rehabilitation;
Establish, in close cooperation with the people directly concerned and their representatives, programmes for political, social, economic and cultural development that effectively respond to the needs of the people of Bahrain ;
Ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Contact: Eric Sottas, +41 22 809 49 39