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Bahrain's Trial of Civilians Illegal: Activist

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TEHRAN, May 5 (ICANA) – The ruling regime in Manama has intensified its crackdown on the popular revolution in the tiny Persian Gulf state, which has drawn the criticism of the international community.
Thursday, May 05, 2011 12:00:28 PM
Bahrain's Trial of Civilians Illegal: Activist

Amnesty International appealed to rulers in Manama to end the arrests of opposition members. The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has expressed deep concern over the imminent executions of four anti-government protesters in Bahrain.

However, the Western powers have even fallen short of condemning the gross human rights violations in the tiny kingdom.

To learn why the international response to the human rights violations in Bahrain has been so lackluster, Press TV interviewed Husain Abdulla, a human rights activist in Alabama.

What follows is the transcript of the interview, supported by other guests.

Q: In accordance to the international human rights convention, Bahrain has signed up to this and that involves for every person to have the right to a fair trial, including the right of appeal. But we can see that not being exercised by Bahrain with these military trials that have led to death sentences, in one particular case, involving some protesters. Aside from Bahrain not living to its commitments, don't other members have an obligation to come out and be proactive and do something about the situation?

Abdulla Yes, they have an obligation; they have a moral obligation and a legal obligation. However, this obligation is not being delivered or not being translated into an action because the US blocks any move. The reason Libya, Yemen and Syria have been discussed in the UN is because it is convenient for these nations to discuss them because they just don't like the ruling regime or they are willing to let the ruling regimes of these countries to go.

However, in the case of Bahrain, with the strong Saudi lobby, the US is going to do everything to support this regime. As a matter of fact, Secretary Clinton said there will be no acceptable political outcome for Bahrain without al-Khalifa being in it. She clearly said that, which means they are doing everything possible not to put the Bahraini case in front of the UN Security Council or any higher body related to the UN because they basically want support these regimes. When it comes to military court, these are illegal courts, these are illegal sentences, these are unfair and have no legal standing because you cannot try civilians, whether they participated in any political activities or not, in a military court because they are basically not a part of armed forces in Bahrain. But we even don't know they are represented by lawyers or whether they had any witnesses at their trial.

Q: Along the lines of reactions by the international community, the European parliament has come out, European Union's Catherine Ashton, the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, has also come out talking about these military trials and we had a statement by the UK Foreign Office also. A little bit of momentum there but nothing beyond statements which are dwarfed compared to the list of human rights organizations such as the Human Right Watch, Reporters Without Borders... The list goes on of the volitions taking place. How much longer can Bahraini authorities, backed by Saudi forces, maintain what they are doing in Bahrain?

Abdulla They will continue their policies of atrocities against the people of Bahrain as long as statements by the Western powers don't deliver a tangible pressure. Right now what we are seeing is only statements, but those statements are not followed by meaningful actions. The government of Bahrain will care less about these statements, exactly the same way they treated the human rights organizations' reporters' statements.

The government of Bahrain believes they have the support of the Western powers to do everything possible in the country to crackdown the pro-democracy movement. If is not made clear to the government of Bahrain, specially by the US and UK, that these actions are unacceptable and they will have some serious negative consequences for the government of Bahrain, only then the government of Bahrain is going to stop. All we are hearing are statements from here or there and some contradictory statements. You see, you get this statement by the White House that they had a conversation with the King [Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa] but at the same time Secretary Clinton says that the al-Khalifa is a vital and important ally. It doesn't make sense. They need to make a clear statement or it is next to clear that you are with these atrocities.

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