After the GAVI event I chaired a meeting on Bahrain organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the highlight of which was a telephone call with Nabil Rajab of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. He answered questions from the audience, and the picture he painted of the current situation was of relentless oppression against the leaders of the opposition, and against Shi'a intellectuals and professionals in all walks of life. Here is the BCHR update on yesterday's hearing in the military court:
Update-12 May 2011
At the trial today, and despite statements that the hearing would be open to international observers, Brian Dooley from Human Rights first and A lawyer from Frontline Defenders were not allowed into the hearing of the 21 detainees on trial for 10 different charges. The security personnel threatened the woman from Frontline that they would remove her forcefully if she did not leave.
At the hearing, the lawyers complained that they did not have enough time with their clients and that the prison conditions were very bad. They also demanded the detainees be given more time to use the bathroom. The government lawyer said that was not necessary and the prisons were just fine. One of the lawyers asked the judge to release the detainees and that they would attend the trial, but the judge refused saying that the sentence if they were found guilty would be either death or life imprisonment, so bail was out of the question. During the hearing, AbdulHadi Alkhawaja told the judge that he feared for his life as he had been threatened by his jailers that they would kill him. After the hearing, all the families were allowed to see the detainees except Alkhawaja's family, who were told they would only see him if the lawyer from Frontline left. She did, but they did not allow the family to see him anyway.
Human Rights First on Alkhawaja: "When he was recovering from the operation they tortured him again," Torture and Unfair Trial of Protesters in Bahrain http://goo.gl/9fcMq
Human Rights Watch: "Activist Bears signs of Abuse": http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/05/10/bahrain-activist-bears-signs-abuse
The security also threatened all the families that if they speak to the lawyer from Frontline they will not be allowed to see the detainees.
Mohammed Jawad Parweez told his family he had been tortured and showed them marks on his arms and legs from long periods of being hanged.