Bahrain: Women's Petition Committee Condemns Attacks on Peaceful Protest

Bahraini Special Security Forces and National Security suppress peaceful demonstrations; Women's Petition Committee condemns the attack on women at the General Prosecutor's.
1 January 2008
"Women's Petition Committee in Bahrain expresses its deep discontent concerning the attacks, insults mistreatment suffered by the families, including wives and children, of the political prisoners by the hands of the Special Security Forces and the Women's Police at the General Prosecutor's premises. These incidents took place while they were demonstrating on 25 December 2007, demanding their right to visit their detained relatives. This demonstration came as a reaction to the refusal of the Prosecutor's Office to comply with the promise they made to allow visits to the detainees. Accordingly, the families of the detainees insisted to set an appointment for the visit, however, the Prosecutor's Office insisted on ignoring their demands.

The families of the victims didn’t leave the Prosecutor's building until the closing hours of the facility, which required the Security Forces to directly order the demonstrators to leave the building. The demonstrating women held still their position, as they didn’t receive any information concerning the detained relatives. The Women's Police were allowed in to deal with the demonstrators, using violence to dismantle the assembly in a very humiliating manner. The Police were able to dismiss some of the demonstrators, while the rest didn’t leave insisting on their demands which are considered their basic rights. One of the demonstrating women saw her mother fainting inside the building, so she asked the officer/ Usama Elmahry to let her in, however her request wasn’t answered until she had to kiss the officer's foot!!

Another female activist, Zainab Abdulhadi El Khawaja, and Rabab Marhoon, reporter of Afaque Website, were both subjected to physical assaults by the hands of the Women's Police. Director of Bahraini Center for Human Rights, Abdulhadi el Khawaja, was also subjected to beating while he was monitoring the incidents from outside the facility. Reporter were banned from taking photos, and they were also subjected to searching and harassments. Some of the demonstrated women were taken to hospital due to their deteriorating health conditions resulting from beating and mistreatment.

Note: see attached links to video clips showing the incident at the end of this report.

Names of women subjected to assaults:

Sadika Haron (19 years old), transferred to hospital.
Afrah Haron (23 years old), transferred to hospital (pregnant in her first month)
Mariam Gasem (50 years old), fainted and taken to hospital.
Amina Shokr, transferred to hospital.
Sharifa Sayyid Gaafar (50 years old), transferred to hospital.
Fakhria Singace, (in her thirties)
Somayyia Singace (12 years old) suffered from nervous breakdown
Zainab el Kaffas (thirties)
Haifa Mohamed Taha (twenties)
Sanaa Mohamed Taha (twenties)
Zahra Khalil (14 years old)
Fatimah Salman Gassem (twenties)
Afaf Abdulhadi (twenties)
Rabab Marhoon (23 years old), reporter of Afaque News
The mother of the detainee Abdullah Mohsen
Zainab Al Khawaja (24 years old), human rights activist

More violations were monitored during the attack of the Special Security Forces on the detainees houses to arrest them, on the other side many women suffered from insults, beating and violent treatment by the hands of "armed militias" dressed in civil clothing took part in suppressing the demonstration and houses intrusions.

Its worth mentioning that these militias are Bahraini nationals with Iraqi origins, and they fall under the orders of the National Security of the Minister of the Royal Divan, Khaled Ben Ahmed Al Khalifa. These militias were brought from Jordan and Iraq as a part of the plan called "Secret Organization", which was revealed by the Ex-Council Dr Salah al Bandar, which aims to alter the demographic structure of Bahrain in favor the Sunnis over the Shi'a in order to suppress opposition. According to received information, these militias are part of what is called "Fadai'e Saddam" that worked under the son of Saddam Hussein the Ex-President of Iraq. Its worth mentioning that Udai, Saddam's son, used these militias to terrorize citizens and to rape women.

This wave of arrests came as a reaction to the incidents that followed the death of Ali Gassem during the demonstration "Victims of torture" that took place on 17 December. Its worth mentioning that the charges faced by the detainees, such are participating in illegal gatherings or acts of disorder are the same charges faced by the political activists in the 1990's when they were demanding a democratic life. These charges are used to restrict their political activism and their struggle for spreading human rights principles, enacting the fundamental principles of democracy to reach to the ideal state of law.

Bahrain witnessed many arrests of human rights activists, especially after the incidents took place after the death incident previously mentioned, and also due to accumulations and general depression among the commons. In the time we see the Bahraini women are subjected to human rights violations, the Supreme Council for Women in Bahrain is not taking any actions to protect them from these violations, and always plays the role of the spectator, taking a non-neutral position because it falls under the auspice of the Royal Divan and is abide by the orders of the Minister of the Royal Divan.

Accordingly, the Women's Petition Committee demands the following:

1- the resignation of the Prosecutor General, Ali Fadel Albuainain, as a respond to these irresponsible assaults that took place inside the Prosecutor's premises. Albuainain used to be an officer at the Attorney General' Office in the Ministry of Interiors, then he was appointed as the vice president of the Security Committee formulated after the 1990's riots. He was nominated to be the Prosecutor General by the Minister Khalid Ben Ahmed as a reward to his actions during the riots. Albuainain is also the bother of the first parliament member Ghanem Albuainain, who is the president of Asala Islamic Association which is loyal to the ruling regime.

2- Allowing the detainees families to visit their relatives, in accordance with human rights norms.

3- Enabling freedom of expression and peaceful assembly without suppression.

4- Refraining from any assaults on activists in human rights and media.

5- Reopening the investigations in the death incident of Ali Gassem.

6- Refraining from attacking houses during night without warranties and terrorizing peaceful citizens.

7- Dismanteling the Supreme Council for Women because of its passive role.

Links to video clips of the assaults on women:

For more information please contact:

Ghada Jamsheer
Head of the Women's Petition Committee


Hawaa Bahrain Blog