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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Note: This page has moved to a new address. Please click on the following URL to get there: http://chanad.weblogs.us/index.php?s=Abdul-Hadi pleads not guilty. Sorry for the trouble.

Abdul-Hadi pleads not guilty

Saturday, October 16, 2004

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.

From AP via the Guardian:

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) - A human rights activist who publicly blamed Bahrain's prime minister for economic failures and rights violations pleaded not guilty Saturday to inciting hatred against the government and circulating false information about top officials.

Abdul-Hadi al-Khawajah's hearing was delayed for about 90 minutes when dozens of supporters jamming the courtroom became unruly, shouting "God is great!" and "Live, live Abdul-Hadi!" and waving signs with the activist's picture while they climbed on each other's shoulders to see him.


Abduljalil Singace, spokesman for the Shiite-backed Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, warned "the situation will really get out of control" if al-Khawajah is not freed.

"Sentiments are sky high because people feel Abdul-Hadi is unlawfully detained," he said.

The first attempt to begin Saturday's court session was aborted because of the commotion in the courtroom, and al-Khawajah was hustled away from the courthouse. He returned 90 minutes later to find that the crowd outside the courthouse had grown to about 200 supporters shouting slogans against the prime minister.

"Khalifa, lift your hand! The nation doesn't want you!" they shouted.

Police told the crowd to settle down, but did not intervene. They squeezed al-Khawajah through the crowd and, gasping for breath, he was pulled into the courtroom.

Wearing a burgundy suit and handcuffs, al-Khawajah entered his "not guilty" plea during a 10-minute court session.

He did not say anything to supporters or the court but spoke briefly with his wife and daughters before being whisked away. Al-Khawajah's wife, Khadija al-Mousawi, cried as her husband entered and left the courtroom.

"He has done nothing wrong," she said, accompanied by their four daughters.

A defense request to release al-Khawajah on his own recognizance was denied.

Al-Khawajah could be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison for inciting hatred and two years for circulating false information, defense lawyer Mohammed Ahmed said.

"My client is innocent," Ahmed said. "We hope he will be released soon."

Al-Khawajah's next court hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.

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5 Responses to 'Abdul-Hadi pleads not guilty'

Anonymous Anonymous says:

damn.. his poor family.
I doubt he'll be found innocent.
The Khalifas are a sham.    

Anonymous Anonymous says:

Get rid of the PM - he's irredeemably corrupt. The reforms can't go any further with him around and instead he's undermining the whole process - destroying the Kingdom's recent successes by prosecuting Khawaja.

The only selling point the PM had previously was that he could stand up to the Islamists. That's obviously not the case given his failure to take any real action when Al Wefaq and co have rioted against Nancy Ajram, liquor sales, or expats over the last year - he's just grinned from the side lines saying I told you so to the reformers - and then there's his cosy relationship with 'moderate' Islamist Khalifa Al Dharani.

Someone put the PM out of his misery. How much influence do the Americans have in Bahrain? As much as in Qatar in 1995?    

Blogger Chanad says:

While we can argue about whether the PM is the source of all of Bahrain's problems, I do not think that those of who want reform should be publicly demanding his resignation.

We have to be realistic and realize that provoking the PM is not going to convince him to leave, nor will it make things easier for the King and the Crown Prince who (we are lead to believe) are seeking genuine reform. The reality is that the PM is the King's uncle and it must be quite difficult to sack your uncle. I have a hard enough time declining my uncle's invitations to visit him... I don't know how I might go about sacking him if I had to.

If you really want the PM to step down you have to create a situation where he can leave the reigns of power without losing much face. He needs to be given the opportunity to step down in a way that he can claim that he is doing it out of his benevolence and deep caring of the Bahraini people. Applying force just won't work

Moreover, making the PM's resignation a core demand marginalizes the main objective: human rights. This works on two levels. First, demanding the PM's resignation gives the ruling regime a reason to apply force and reduce the reformists public presence. This can be seen in the way that Abdul-Hadi was arrested, the BCHR was shut down, and more importantly, the local media was not able to report about it freely. Second, this confrontational approach reduces the mass appeal to the cause among influential Bahrainis. Bahrainis who can pull strings will not likely support a movement that openly demands the removal of the PM.

In my opinion, the core goal that must be stressed is the demand for human rights. People will support this, domestically and internationally.And stay within the mainstream so as to have the maximum public influence. If you stick to the principle of human rights, the PMs shortcomings will eventually become obvious to anyone (without us needing to point it out). Things will change.

This will of course require a long sustained effort, and requires us to choose a very delicate line. But I believe it will lead to a more organic and stable political equilibrium. Revolution is fun, but it usually creates more problems than it solves.

Professor Asef Bayat has an excellent article about this topic. Read it here (pdf 100KB), or visit here.    

Anonymous Anonymous says:
10/18/2004 02:16:00 am

chanad... i u & yo readers including mahmood.... are interested in seeing a.hadi's courtroom pics... i'll get my newspaper photographer to post the pics up here.... abt 3-5 pics in total... hadi in the jeep, in the courtroom, surrounded by cops going inside the court, cops clashing with demonstrators, the press and the egyptian judge.... cops weren't local either... and well this is just an exclusive picture coverage or the bahrain-based blogger community :-)......

so if u're interested post back and u'll see the pics on here....


Blogger Chanad says:
10/18/2004 05:49:00 am

Anon, thanks very much for your offer. I'd really like to see some of the pics, as I'm sure would most of the readers here.

I don't think it's possible to post pictures directly in to the comments section, so please e-mail me at chanad@gmail.com with the pictures and whatever text you want to go along with it. I will post whatever you send me in a separate post without making any changes (and of course with the credit to you or the photographer).

I'm really looking forward to the pictures. Very much appreciate it, so thanks!    

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