Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bahrain's Shawshank

Abdulemam's latest post describes his experience of being arrested on 28th February and detained for 16 days. He notes the irony of being repeatedly questioned on his 'national loyalty' and love for his country by a non-bahraini chief officer (an egyptian).

He emphasizes that the case is NOT over. The General Prosecutor is still building a case, and has summoned several people as prosecution witnesses since their release. When will the court case begin and how long it will take no one knows. The Committee supporting the Bahrainonline trio is still campaigning for the charges to be dropped and organising protests and rallies. Here are photos of 21st March protest.





Meanwhile, in the latest edition of Aldemokrati magazine there is a fascinating TRUE story (in arabic) recounting the way a young man called Abdulla Tooq and another inmate, arrested in 1996, escaped from Jow prison in 1997 using an ingenious plot that involved shutting down the electricity in the prison compound. A risky plot like this had two possible outcomes: freedom or death if it goes wrong.

Escaping through a pipe, and into the outside world, he lived in hiding for 8 months in Bahrain, managed to sneak out of the country, to another Gulf country, then onto Malaysia, finally reaching the safe shores of New Zealand where he is now living. No this isnt something out of Hollywood, this happened in Bahrain! All the while I was reading the article I was reminded of scenes from one of my favourite movies, the Shawshank Redemption. He doesn't miss out on any details either, recollecting how he saved the toenails that were ripped off his feet by Adel Flaiful (notorious officer or should I say more like a war criminal) and tried to show them to the judge before he was sentenced to life imprisonment on fabricated charges.

Part 1: [1] [2] [3] Part 2: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Many other political detainees have their own stories to tell. One of our family friends had gone to the extent of dressing up as a women, hiding in the back of a lorry and into Iran, where he lived till 2001.

Next week from 24th March-1st April is Martyr's Week where there is a program of activities in remembrance of the many people who died in the nineties in the name of civil liberty. Concluding with a human chain that will be begin near the American Ambassador's residence on Friday 1st April. Someone has also taken the effort to compile a photo gallery of Isa Qambar, executed by a shot in the head in the nineties on a fabricated charge of murder.

What strikes me about all these different activities (articles, remembrance services, photo galleries among many other things) coming from many different sources is that people are not letting this issue go and are still seeking some form of justice. Will they get any response or is this just a way of dealing with grief and seeking comfort in collective mourning?

Posted by BB @ 3/23/2005 04:23:00 AM

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You know what would make all of these commemorations complete, and might indeed turn them to celebrations? The sincere participation of the government and a representative(s) of the royal family...

That would give the regime a lot of legitimacy, and prove that they are in fact in touch with the people and much more importantly that they want reparations and reconcilliation. This would undoubtedly pour water on the fires which have multiplied over the past couple of years.

That's another of my pipe dreams I know...

Posted by Anonymous M @ 3/23/2005 03:41:00 PM #
 

this is a really stupid system and this new commenting "feature" of blogger is pissing me off.. why don't you get your own domain? I'll even host it for free if you like! (yes that was my comment above, hence this rant)

Posted by Anonymous Mahmood Al-Yousif @ 3/23/2005 03:42:00 PM #
 

Yeah I totally agree. An official acknoweledgment of the martyr's slain, is a good first step.

The human chain event was cancelled as it clashes with Formula one and the Committee has been pressured into calling it off.

wrt Blogger. The only good thing about blogger is the no-strings attached, no forms, credit-cards, annual renewals, technical malfunctions, support staff etc really eases blogging and takes the burden off the blogger. Its like living in your parents house, i'm not ready to move out yet and pay my own bills, when my mom does the cooking everyday! I'm too immature to move out into cyberspace alone.

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 3/23/2005 05:51:00 PM #
 
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