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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Chan'ad is mackerel

Thursday, April 29, 2004

So I googled chan'ad and found a site that refers to it by the English term "mackerel". I'm sure chan'ad has a specific name within the greater mackerel family though. Anyways, here's a picture of mackerel which looks quite similar to the chan'ad we have here in Bahrain.


Hello, mar7aba, shlonak,

Chan'ad is the name of a species of fish found in the Arabian Gulf and elsewhere. It is small, silver in colour, and is a popular food in the local cuisine of Bahrain. I'll see if I can find a photo, or some detailed info later.[Update here]

Bahrain is an island state located in the Arabian Gulf (a.k.a Persian Gulf). It is about the size of Singapore, and has a population of roughly 600,000 (probably more). About half 35% of those people are expatriates, while the remaining are Bahraini citizens (I haven't checked the latest Census figures, but these are the numbers most often thrown around). More on Bahrain later.

I (a.k.a. Chan'ad Bahraini) am an "Asian" living in Bahrain. I have lived all of my life in Bahrain, except for my higher education years in the United States. After reading other great Bahrain blogs like Mahmood, and more recently, Letter from Bahrain, I thought I would also take the opportunity to document and comment on life in Bahrain, from the view of an "Asian" expatriate. Hopefully, some readers will also take the time to comment on my posts so that we can have dialogue also. These are interesting times in Bahrain these days and there's alot to talk about.

Until my next post, ilal liqa',

The Al-Khawaja affair

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Since I have now posted several times about the arrest of Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja, and the closure of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, I've decided to compile links to all of the posts (with short excerpts) here. Whenever I add another post about this topic I will add the corresponding permalink here, so it should be easier to keep track of everything that's going on. There is also a link to this post at the top of the sidebar on the right, under "Continuous coverage".

Here are the posts, starting with the most recent one:

  • 28-Apr-04: Al Khawaja revisited
    More from my backlog of unfinished posts. So way back in December 2004, a week or so after he was released from prison, I interviewed Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, the vice-president of the now outlawed (but still active) Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. Somehow I never got around to posting about the interview until now, so sorry for the delay.

  • 25-Nov-04: Creating avenues for change

    So King Hamad decided to play the wild card of the Royal Pardon and saved the day. Yesterday afternoon I thought it would be unlikely that he would step in, but now in hindsight it seems as though it had to happen. Here are a few possible reasons that might have pushed the King to make his decision.

  • 21-Nov-4: Al-Khawaja pardoned by the King

    From AP via the Guardian: MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) - Bahrain's king pardoned a human rights activist who convicted of inciting hatred of the government and sentenced to one year in prison Sunday in a case linked to criticism of the prime minister.

  • 21-Nov-04: It's only just begun

    It was always expected but never to be accepted. This morning a court sentenced Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja to a year in prison, convicted of "inciting hatred against the government". He is now Bahrain's first political prisoner since King Hamad's reforms starting in 1999.

  • 21-Nov-04: Al-Khawaja gets one year in prison

    I just got back from the courts. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, the vice-president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has been sentenced to one year in prison for criticizing the Prime Minister. Disgraceful.

  • 20-Nov-04: Disrespecting 3ammo PM

    I wasn't able to attend the protest in support of Al-Khawaja that took place yesterday by the Bahrain Financial Harbour, but by the looks of it the turnout wasn't huge. Look at some photos here, or watch a video (wmv 4.5MB). Well, that's what you get at 10am on a Thursday morning. It was comforting however to see that the government did not interfere with this demonstration.

  • 17-Nov-04: Protest tomorrow

    Just a reminder that there will be a protest tomorrow morning at 10am near the Bahrain Financial Harbour site in support of Al-Khawaja and the remaining 12 detainees. Apparently they will be releasing lots of "balloons of freedom" as part of the demonstration (it took me ages to figure out what "بالونات" was. I kept reading it as "balwinat"... yes, I'm a fool).

  • 14-Nov-04: Al-Khawaja update

    This is just an update on the Al-Khawaja affair for those of you who are checking. It's Eid right now so I'm not able to put in a full post.

  • 11-Nov-04: Time to wake up

    This issue about a draft law to "regulate" protest demonstrations is really quite concerning. You can read some of the penalties under the proposed law by clicking here. Also, the GDN has finally got its act together and published a good report about this issue, which you can read by clicking here (Good on ya, GDN!).

  • 9-Nov-04: Step in to my time-machine

    Step in to the magical time-machine my friends and let's go back in time to the 90s!!! Re-live those oh so enjoyable memories of the State Security law when you could get jailed for merely taking part in a peaceful protest. Oh how I cherish those days when it was impossible for anyone to say anything out loud in public without being threatened by the government. Ah, those were the days my friends.

  • 8-Nov-04: Al-Khawaja verdict on Nov 21

    Some of you outside of Bahrain have been asking me what happened of Al-Khawaja's third court session that was scheduled to have taken place on Wednesday Nov 3. The session was posptponed to yesterday (I assume because of Shaikh Zayed's death).

  • 1-Nov-04: Al-Khawaja continued

    I know I was supposed to post my full write-up of the rally-gone-wrong in support of Al-Khawaja that happened last Thursday. But, for some reason I can't be bothered. Maybe I'll post it over the weekend. You may also have heard about the few isolated incidents of violence that have taken place since then.

  • 29-Oct-04: Photos from today's rally

    Right, here are some photos from the protest. Sorry they are so poor quality. There was very little light, and my camera sucks.

  • 29-Oct-04: Trouble on the highway

    Folks, I've just come back from the the car rally demonstration in support of Al-Khawaja that was planned for today. You'll have to wait until tomorrow for my full write-up and pictures, but here is what happened in a nutshell.

  • 27-Oct-04: Protest rally on Thursday

    The details of the car protest rally this Thursday in support of Al-Khawaja have been released. The BCHR website posted something this morning with the directions, but it was a bit confusing. I stole the above map from a thread at the Ahrar al-Bahrain discussion board which makes things much much clearer.

  • 25-Oct-04: Irony of freedom in Bahrain

    Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja's trial today was adjourned until next Wednesday (November 3rd), and once again the judge refused to release him on bail, or house arrest. However I heard that the judge did allow Al-Khawaja to sit in the courtroom without handcuffs this time. Outside, there was once again a demonstration by his supporters, numbering about 100 or 120 people I would estimate.

  • 22-Oct-04: Peaceful protest makes the point

    Continuing my coverage of events related to the Al-Khawaja affair, here is my report on the protest march held last night (Thursday) in Manama. (Sorry for taking so long to post this, I've been busy). There was a relatively large turnout; somewhere between 2000 and 2500 demonstrators, including many women, children and old folks.

  • 21-Oct-04: Hooligans ruin a legitimate protest

    Right. Here is the full report on the Al-Khawaja trial protest that I promised you. From the start. When I arrived at the public prosecution court Al-Khawaja had already been taken into the courtroom (I was bit late because I was having trouble finding a parking space). There were I would say about 100 protesters in total which consisted of mostly male youths.

  • 20-Oct-04: Rocks fly at court demonstration

    I've just came back from the demonstration outside Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja's court session today. Things got slightly out of hand this time. The supporters were not allowed to go in to the building. Tempers were raised, pushes turned to shoves, sticks and stones were thrown, and the goons (read "riot police") came out and sprayed the crowd with mace.

  • 19-Oct-04: Al-Khawaja trial photos

    While browsing through one of the many Bahraini discussion boards I came across some photos from Abdul-Hadi Al-Khawaja's court session on Saturday, and the associated demonstration.

  • 19-Oct-04: It's not so gloomy

    More bad coverage for Bahrain. Today's Financial Times has an article headlined "Trial of Bahrain human rights activist overshadows reforms".

  • 16-Oct-04: Abdul-Hadi pleads not guilty

    I was planning on attending Abdul-Hadi's court session scheduled for this morning, but I wasn't able to make it unfortunately. It seems like I missed some action.

  • 13-Oct-04: Abdulhadi to appear in court

    Here's the latest statement to be issued by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights about the ongoing Al Khawaja affair

  • 10-Oct-04: More protest pictures

    The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights have updated their website with photos from the various protests they have held over the past two weeks.

  • 7-Oct-04: Crowds pledge loyalty to Premier

    Really, our press needs to grow some backbone. It's been two weeks now since Alkhawaja's comments against the Prime Minister at the Oruba Club, yet our press is still obsessed with displaying its loyalty to the regime. Is it not possible for them to take a slightly more balanced and objective approach to reporting? I don't mean that they have to go around bashing the regime, but how about reporting both sides of the story?

  • 5-Oct-04: This is kinda like what democracy looks like

    There was another demonstration today for the release of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja. This one took place on the section of Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway (ironically) that is adjacent to the Bahrain Mall, so they probably got more exposure than last time. However there were not as many demonstrators this time since it was a working day. I'm quite bad at estimating numbers, but I would guess there were no more than 200 people this time.

  • 3-Oct-04: More on Al Khawaja

    So neither the GDN nor the Bahrain Tribune had any mention of the big protest I reported yesterday. The GDN did have a long article about a demonstration against a slaughterhouse in Muharraq, but nothing about the protest in Manama. Obviously, orders have come from up above restricting the press from reporting about it.

  • 2-Oct-04: A superstar is born

    When I got to Ras Rumman there were only 15 or 20 other people around since I was a bit early. That's why there aren't too many protesters in the first few photos I took, but as you can tell, the crowd quickly grew in size. Reuters has reported (via Aljazeera.net) that there were about 2000 protesters, which agrees with my own estimate. The protesters seemed to come from all walks of life: businessmen, truckdrivers, students, grandparents, grandchildren, everyone. And of course the ladies' contingent was strong in numbers also.

  • 2-Oct-04: In support of the prisoner of conscience

    I've just come back from the protest against the closure of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights which took place in Manama. There was a big turnout, and thankfully, no trouble at all. I have a ton of photos to share with you all, but I won't be able to upload them all until later tonight. So here are just a few to keep you busy until then.

  • 30-Sep-04: Brown nosing

    It's quite nauseating to see the reports in the newspapers of "crowds" of supporters affirming their loyalty to the Premier in response to the Al Khawaja affair. Apparently, tomorrow there will be a rally tomorrow in Budaiya to pledge support to the ruling regime.

  • 29-Sep-04: Centre for Human Rights shut down

    Continuing on my last post about Abdulhadi al Khawaja, the latest news is that the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has been dissolved by the government! Really, this is a low move on the part of the Old Guard... but I can't say I didn't see it coming.

  • 29-Sep-04: The North Wind and the Sun

    If you haven't heard about it already, the vice president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was arrested after criticizing the Prime Minister at a seminar about Poverty and Economic Rights in Bahrain a few days ago.

Muharram 1426 (2005)

This post has moved to a different URL. Click this link to get to the new page.

Free Ali

I will collect all the links to my posts related to the arrest of Ali Abdulemam (Bahrain blogger and moderator of the online forum BahrainOnline.org) in this post. To read more about the BahrainOnline arrests from other blogs and news sources check out the Free Ali blog.

You can get to this page by either using this permalink, or by the link in the "Musalsalat" section of my sidebar on the right. Here are the posts:

  • 11-May-05: WSJ on BahrainOnline
    Ali Abdulemam and BahrainOnline.org are the subject of an article on page A1 of today's Wall Street Journal: "Democracy Project in Bahrain Falters"

  • 03-May-05: Web registration commences
    Around 40 or 50 people showed up today in front of the Ministry of Information to protest its decision to press charges against the BahrainOnline trio. Although the three (Ali Abdulemam, Hussain Yousif and Mohammed Al-Mousawi) were released from prison in March, they still face charges for the material that was posted on their website, and are not allowed to leave the country.

  • 10-Apr-05: News roundup
    However, the charges against the BahrainOnline Trio still are still being pursued. So, on April 5, supporters held a protest in the Seef area demanding that the government drop its charges.

  • 14-Mar-05: Look Mum, no handcuffs!
    The BahrainOnline trio, free at last. From left to right: Syed Mohammed Al-Mousawi, Hussain Yousif, Ali Abdulemam

  • 14-Mar-05: Free!
    Apparently, the BahrainOnline Trio have been released without any bail (but the case against has not been dropped). In the coming days we can try to figure out the reasons why... was it because of the upcoming F-1 race? Did elements within the regime finally realize the flaws in their actions? Or is this just part of a pre-planned script?

  • 13-Mar-05: Trio refuses bail
    The Public Prosecutor has offered the BahrainOnline detainees (Ali, Hussain and Mohammed) to be released on bail for BD1,000 (US$2,650) while the case against them continues. The Trio have however refused the offer because their freedom would still be at the mercy of the Public Prosecution, who could re-arrest them later at its will. Instead the Trio have demanded their release without any conditions, and have opted to remain in prison until then.

  • 13-Mar-05: Protest from your living room
    Desert Island Boy shows us by example how to participate in the Free Ali campaign if you can't be physicially present at the protests.

  • 12-Mar-05: The movement rolls on
    The Public Prosecutor is due to announce tomorrow (Sunday) whether the detained BahrainOnline trio (Ali, Hussain, Mohammed) will be released, charged or detained for another 45 days for "further investigation". However, it seems like no one is expecting them to be released, and so a plan of action for the coming days has already been announced.

  • 10-Mar-05: Intimidation nation
    If you're in a hurry and you want to go straight to the pics then click here. Before the protest even began, 4 people were arrested. For what? No one knows. Half of Exhibition Avenue was blocked off by the police so that passers-by would not be able to see what's going on. The presiding officer demanded that the protest be called off but the organizers refused. So the goon patrol, all dressed up with helmets, shields and batons were dispatched to intimidate the crowd.

  • 10-Mar-05: Tonight
    Don't forget: tonight, 8pm, in front of Hoora Police station, on Exhibition Ave (map). Bring something coloured orange that you can wave around. And as Bahrania suggested, if you're concerned about your identity being revealed then wear a baseball cap and sunglasses... or if you feel creative then maybe dress up like this guy

  • 08-Mar-05: Free Ali: Protest on Thursday
    A demonstration will be held this Thursday evening (March 10) in support of the three detained BahrainOnline.org moderators Ali Abdulemam, Hussain Yousif and Mohammed Al-Mousawi. It will take place at 8pm in front of the Hoora police station (on Exhibition Avenue) where the three are being held.

  • 03-Mar-05: More on the 'Free Ali' campaign
    Two new items for the 'Free Ali' campaign from the Bahrain blogging community

  • 02-Mar-05: More about the charges
    I was just thinking... the government's beloved Formula 1 Race will be taking place in just a month's time. What were they thinking when they decided to make these arrests? Were they hoping that they'd be able to wrap up the case before the race?

  • 01-Mar-05: Free Ali: Protest #2
    As stated this morning, the second demonstration in support of the three detained BahrainOnline.org moderators was held this afternoon outside the Public Prosecution building. Again, because it was announced so late (this morning), and it was a weekday, the numbers were the same as yesterday's demonstration: about 50 people. But they did have plenty of signs today.

  • 01-Mar-05: "Free Ali" sidebar button
    If you don't want to use the "Free Ali" banner at the top of this page, then alternatively here is a button you can place in your sidebar

  • 01-Mar-05: Demonstration today
    There will be another demonstration in support of the detained BahrainOnline moderators today (Tuesday) at 3:30pm outside the Public Prosecutor's office in the Diplomatic Area.

  • 01-Mar-05: Free Ali, and Hussain, and Mohammed
    Bahrania has already posted the details about this, but just to make sure that everone visiting here is up to speed: as of this posting there are now a total of three moderators of BahrainOnline.org who are being held in Hoora prison.

  • 28-Feb-05: Free Ali
    Here are some of my photos from the demonstration in support of jailed blogger Ali Abdulemam

  • 28-Feb-05: Here we go again?
    This is totally unconfirmed, but a message has been posted on Montadayat.org claiming that Ali Abdulemam is going to be detained for a further 15 days. Apparently, he is being accused of violating the Press Law, spreading lies and provoking hatred towards the government.

  • 27-Feb-05: Bahraini blogger detained
    If you haven't read about it on Bahrania's blog yet, fellow Bahraini blogger Ali Abdulemam has reportedly been detained by Bahrain authorities. Although he doesn't blog too much but he does run BahrainOnline.org which is one of the most popular online forums in Bahrain.

The expat files

Here are the links to all of my posts dealing with expat life in Bahrain and the Gulf. This includes all of the posts about maid abuse and worker mistreatment, along with other less sinister stories about expat life.

  • 24-Apr-05: More labour rage
    From the BBC: "More than 700 Bangladeshi workers have stormed their country's embassy in Kuwait, causing damage inside. [...] Mr Islam [the ambassador] told the BBC Bengali service that the motive for the attack was linked to wages not being paid."

  • 10-Apr-05: News roundup
    The Philippines is considering a ban on sending its citizens to work as maids in Bahrain and the Gulf, after a rise in complaints of abuse. This follows similar bans by the Indonesian and Bangladeshi government last month.

  • 27-Mar-05: Labour rage
    From today's GDN: "MANAMA: Workers of a top garment factory went on a rampage last night following the death of a colleague. More than 500 Asians working for the MRS Fashions, which makes trousers for J C Penny, started damaging the factory's East Riffa premises after their colleague, who was kept in isolation for 15 days due to chicken pox, committed suicide."

  • 23-Mar-05: Maid tied up for a month
    Sickening. More maid abuse from across the causeway (via Arab News): JEDDAH, 23 March 2005 — A 25-year-old Indonesian woman who came to Saudi Arabia as a guest worker will have several of her fingers, toes and part of her right foot amputated because of gangrene after being tied up for a month in a bathroom by her Saudi sponsor, who also apparently beat her severely, injuring her eye and knocking several of her teeth out.

  • 18-Mar-05: Power to the people
    Earlier this month the GDN reported: "More than 100 garment factory workers staged a demonstration yesterday, claiming they had not been paid. Some of Garment International's Sri Lankan employees' homes were destroyed in the tsunami disaster and they say their families are desperate for cash. The workers, mostly women, massed outside the factory in Sitra, demanding to be paid.

  • 13-Mar-5: Court delays and rape
    Despite my many complaints about the GDN, I do commend it for giving giving a good amount of attention to the abuse of migrant workers on the island. A worrying article in last Wedensday's paper tells us: Alleged rapists are escaping prosecution because Bahrain's legal system is too slow, say human rights workers.

  • 06-Feb-05: Fix the judiciary (part 2)
    As SBG noted in a comment here and a post on her own blog, the Women's Petition Committee (in co-ordination with the BCHR) held a protest in front of the Ministry of Justice demanding the resignation of the Public Prosecutor Shaikh Abdul Rahman Bin Jaber Al Khalifa as well as some Sharia court judges.

  • 19-Dec-04: Maid abuse: part umpteen
    Another horrific story about abused maids in Bahrain. When will it end? The woman, who was brought to the country in May, claims that the man took sadistic pleasure in beating women and raping them.

  • 29-Nov-04: More about maids
    Reading these harrowing stories in the papers on a daily basis, it may seem as though the situation is terribly bad and getting worse. However the mere fact that these accounts are now being reported in the Press is a very positive sign.

  • 27-Nov-04: Rubbing salt in the wound
    Why is it that some legal cases in Bahrain get a hearing and verdict within a few weeks, while others take several months or years? Why should maids who are the victims of rape and abuse be made to suffer more?

  • 11-Nov-04: Time to wake up
    This issue about a draft law to "regulate" protest demonstrations is really quite concerning. You can read some of the penalties under the proposed law by clicking here. Also, the GDN has finally got its act together and published a good report about this issue, which you can read by clicking here (Good on ya, GDN!).

  • 8-Nov-04: Officer, arrest that rape victim!
    Ugh... this stuff makes me sick. From today's GDN: A maid who claims she was raped three times in 48 hours by two members of the same family was released yesterday after spending Saturday night in police custody.

  • 6-Nov-04: Natural(ized) changes
    The ever-intermittent Homer of Bahraini Blog has at last re-emerged once again. He has a very interesting post today about the possible future of expats in Bahrain and the Gulf. He says: conjecture: what if all of the foreign workers [in Bahrain], perhaps maybe on direction from their governments, were to hold a massive strike, demanding better wages, better living conditions, and most of all citizenship?

  • 15-Oct-04: Keep reporting GDN
    Well done to the GDN for their continuous reporting on stories about maid abuse. Apparently, they have been getting some flak from the recruiting agents for their coverage of abuse cases.

  • 14-Oct-04: Faceless workers
    I've tried on a few occasions to take some good photos of the expat labourers in Bahrain who can be seen building this country's roads and houses. But no matter what I do the pictures never come out right. The problem is that it is very hard to capture the details of their faces.

  • 13-Oct-04: Maid abuse in the UAE
    Here's something to add to the maid abuse files. I know there have been many other cases in the papers, but this one really gave me a chill. This is from Monday's Khaleej Times: DUBAI — A 35-year old, mother of three, Sri Lankan housemaid is a victim of her employers physical and mental abuse, resulting in her losing out a finger, and left distraught without any money and hopes of returning home.

  • 29-Sep-04: Willing slaves
    After the terrible accident at Dubai Airport yesterday in which five Asian labourers were killed, the BBC has come out with an article worth reading that highlights the main reasons for the plight of expat workers in the Gulf.

  • 26-Sep-04: Expat rapprochement?
    Here are some welcome words from a Bahraini politician: Mr Redha said councillors should aim to represent all of Bahrain society - including expats. "Expats are the majority in Bahrain and they are the ones paying most of the municipal taxes," he said. "Municipal councillors should meet with them and discuss their needs and requirements, because in the end they are a part of the community whether they are able to vote or not."

  • 16-Sep-04: Advice for US sailors in Bahrain
    So US Navy service(wo)men have been getting in to trouble on the streets of Bahrain lately. Here are two reports from yesterday's GDN. In that fine tradition of all sailors, both of the Americans in the two reports were allegedly drunk.

  • 30-July-04: Relocating "the help"
    Not all of the Asian migrant workers in Bahrain are behaving liking angels, so it has been suggested that we ship them away out of sight of the Bahraini communities. Why do these people think that every problem can be solved through collective punishment and segregation?

  • 27-Jul-04: More on maid abuse
    Unfortunately, the issue of maid abuse will be a recurring theme on my blog. Maids in Bahrain seem to get the worst of it since they are not protected by the same labour laws as all the other migrant workers. For some reason Bahraini law regards maids as sub-human, and not worthy of the same rights as others.

  • 18-Jul-04: Taking steps for migrant worker's rights
    Although I don't think it occurs on the same scale as it does across the causeway in Saudi, the abuse of foreign workers in Bahrain is certainly a huge problem that we have to contend with if we ever want to claim any moral authority in the face of others. But I am quite pleased to see that the necessary steps are gradually being taken in Bahrain as the country progresses.

  • 18-Jul-04: Newsflash: Saudi system abuses foreigners!
    Sorry for the sarcasm. I was just slightly amused by the headline of the report on the BBC website: Saudi system 'abuses foreigners', as though they've discovered the missing WMDs or something. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I am referring to the report published by Human Rights Watch a few days ago: "Bad Dreams:" Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Workers in Saudi Arabia.

  • 5-Jul-04: Raising awareness of maid abuse
    If any of you have seen Lukas Moodysson's recent film Lilja 4-ever, then you will definitely recognize this story, which occurs all too frequently in Bahrain and around the Gulf. Says the GDN: An Indian housemaid was raped by her sponsor, locked up and beaten by her employment agency and then put on a plane before she could complain to the police, according to human rights volunteers.

  • 3-Jul-04: More on expat life
    Like before, Kuwaiti resident David Olivier has another great post on his blog. This time he details the way in which business is conducted in our part of the world. Here is a short excerpt: More than this however I've enjoyed experiencing the process of negotiation which has involved many delayed or canceled meetings on both ends and Mafioso-like arbitration through suggestion and ambiguous implication.

  • 27-Jun-04: The Gulf expat experience
    David Olivier perfectly sums up the Gulf Expat Experience: An ex-pat in the Gulf probably more so than anywhere else east of the Suez, west of the Sea of Japan lives a life of limited empowerment. Our fat wallets mean nothing here. Here the locals drive better cars than we do and live in bigger homes.

  • 9-Jun-04: BCHR takes up case against Bahraini employer
    Kudos to the Migrant Workers Group of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights for taking up this case with the authorities. Unfortunately, incidents like this happen far too frequently for it to be feasible for the MWG to take up each and every case. Nonetheless, making sure that at least a few of the employers are brought to justice helps raise awareness of such issues in the public eye.

  • 7-Jun-04: Sale!! Only BD300 for Bahraini torture!
    This is just ridiculous. According to the GDN: A Bahraini man was jailed for three months yesterday after being convicted of torturing a Bangladeshi employee. The sentence will be suspended if the 26-year-old fish trap maker pays a BD300 fine.

  • 28-May-04: What does it mean to be Bahraini?
    Anyways, with all the talk about illegal naturalizations and immigration and stuff these days, I thought I would discuss what it means to be Bahraini for me, as an expatriate "Asian" on the island.

Repeal 56

Here you can find links to my posts related to the movement to have Royal Decree 56 repealed, and regarding the accusations of torture and murder against the Bahraini state security forces.

  • 11-May-05: Redressing torture
    Tomorrow, representatives of the Bahraini government will go before the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) in Geneva to present its report about the implementation of policies in Bahrain to satisfy the Convention against Torture. Two separate shadow reports will be presented to the CAT by the Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) and the (outlawed) Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) (in co-operation with the National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture, NCMVT).

  • 01-Apr-05: Black Saturday
    From the Voice of Bahrain website: On Saturday 1 April 1995 at 3.00 am, the village of Bani Jamra (where Sheikh Al-Jamri [a leading opposition figure during the 1990s uprising in Bahrain] resides) was encircled by thousands of paramilitary forces. The neighbours of Sheikh Al-Jamri (around six to eight of them) were ordered to evacuate their houses within minutes or be sprayed with gunfire.

  • 03-Feb-05: Repeal 56: Part 4 (and 3)
  • The fourth installment in the series of protests by the National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture was held today outside the Ministry of Interior. If you're wondering what happened to the third protest, it actually took place last Friday, but I wasn't on the island to cover it.

  • 16-Jan-05: Repeal 56: Part 2
  • On Thursday, the National Committee for Martyrs and Victims of Torture held the second in their series of protests against government employed torturers. (Read about the first protest here). Their specific demands were:

  • 1-Jan-05: 56: The magic number
  • Also yesterday, a protest was held outside the former office of Adel Flaifel, the notorious former security officer accused of torturing political activists. They were there to demand the rescinding of Law 56 so that Flaifel and his cohorts can be tried for torture and murder. (See more photos here). Similar protests are planned for the coming weeks (the next one will be on Jan 13, I think).

  • 22-Dec-04: Martyr's Day
  • Last Thursday (Dec 16), Bahrain officially celebrated its "National Day". On Friday (Dec 17) Bahrain officially celebrated Accession Day, however in many quarters the day was unofficially marked as Martyr's Day (3eed al-shuhuda) and spent in mourning or remembrance. Bahrania posted about this last week, but I thought I'd comment on it also because it is an important issue that gets no coverage in the press.

  • 26-Jun-04: International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
    The protest rally, marking the "International Day in Support of Victims of Torture" that I mentioned on Tuesday went ahead today as planned. I was pleased to see that the event was well organized and peaceful. The people gathered represented all sections of Bahraini society (except those who are still trying to defend the accused torturers).

"Terror" detainees

I've compiled below links to all of my posts regarding the case of the six (now four) detainees on charges of terrorism. Whenever I add a post on this topic I will update the link here also. You can also find a link to this page at the top of the sidebar on the right, under "Continuous coverage"

  • 2-Nov-04: "Terror" suspects released

    As Sparkle informed us yesterday, the remaining four "terror" suspects were released yesterday until their next court appearance on December 3. They had been detained for a total of more than 105 days. Needless to say, the US Embassy and the Fifth Fleet will not be pleased with this move, so don't be surprised if they get thrown in back in jail again.

  • 15-Oct-04: What of the detainees?

    On September 13 I posted about the four remaining detainees on terrorism charges who were required to stay in custody for a further 30 days. It is now October 15, and well over 30 days have passed since that extension was ordered, but we know nothing about their fate. The detainees have now been in custody for over 90 days in total.

  • 22-Sep-04: Fishy seamen

    Ever since those six men were arrested (two were recently released) on charges of terrorism, there have been widespread rumors that it is the US interests on the island that have been pressuring the government to take these actions; and that they are effectively running the show. Up until now there had been no official word from any US authority about what their role is in all of this.

  • 13-Sep-04: Detainees in for another 30 days

    The latest news with regards to the case of the four remaining detainees is that they have been ordered to remain in custody for a further 30 days. They have been in custody for 60 days already. When the order was announced one of the detainees, Yasir Malik, sprinted out of court but turned himself in after an hour, having spent a short time with his wife and children.

  • 12-Sep-04: Here we go again

    This story just keeps repeating itself over and over again... I don't know why I keep posting it. I've lost track of how many times these guys have been rearrested and released. The last thing that happened was that after completing their 45 days under custody they were ordered to remain in custody for a further 15 days. As the article below reports, two of the six men have been released without any explanation, and a court session today will determine whether the remaining four will also be released.

  • 31-Aug-04: Another blackout

    Not a power blackout, but another media blockout. Sorry, I missed this news item from yesterday since it wasn't in any of the Bahraini papers (obviously). Apparently the six detainees are to remain in custody for a further 15 days, without having being charged (and having completed their original 45 days in custody already). In addition, the media blackout on the details of the case is to continue.

  • 26-Jul-04: Speaking about the unspeakable: Update

    It's not often that you will find me agreeing with GDN editor Les Horton, but I very much support what he has written in his column this morning. As I hoped it would do in my post last night, the Press is making sure that the news ban by the Public Prosecutor is not accepted so easily. Also, take note that the Press was told not to report about the case, nor the imposition of the ban itself.

  • 26-Jul-04: Speaking about the unspeakable

    Finally, the Public Prosecutor has spoken about the news blackout on the case of the six detainees. But he still hasn't made any attempt to explain why there is a need to impose a press ban. He may not be under any legal obligation to do so, but I hope the Press keeps pushing him on this until we get a proper answer.

  • 21-Jul-04: Bahrain imposes news blackout on detainees

    I'm not sure what this means exactly, but here is the report from Reuters: MANAMA, July 20 (Reuters) - Bahrain imposed a news blackout on Tuesday in the case of six Islamists arrested last week for allegedly planning attacks in the pro-Western Gulf Arab state. The Information Ministry said its decision was based on a ruling by the public prosecutor.

  • 15-Jul-04: The saga continues

    These guys have been arrested and released without being charged several times now I think. I wish the authorities would take the time to collect enough evidence before arresting them. It is interesting though, the way in which many news outlets are suggesting that this may be part of an ongoing tussle between the Bahraini and American authorities.

  • 24-Jun-04: Bahrain releases six 'militants'

    Uhh,... okay then. From the BBC: The authorities in the tiny state of Bahrain have released without charge six men seized on Tuesday on suspicion of planning to commit "dangerous acts".