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'US, Britain Sheltering Al Khalifa'

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TEHRAN, April 28 (ICANA) – The sentencing to death of four Bahraini anti-government protesters in a Manama military court 'is virtually a secret' as the verdicts were 'ready-made,' says an expert.
Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:46:28 PM
'US, Britain Sheltering Al Khalifa'

The rulings were viewed as part of the efforts by the US-backed Bahraini regime to further crush the ongoing revolutionary movement in the tiny Persian Gulf country.

The development comes as the Al-Khalifa rulers rejected reports by a number of human rights organizations on massive rights violations in the country.

Press TV interviewed Saeed al-Shahabi of the Bahrain Freedom Movement in London regarding the progress of the uprising amid the persisting brutal crackdown on protesters by the Saudi-backed Bahraini government forces.

The following is a rush transcription of the interview.

Q: I don't know if you have any information on the trail process for these four protestors who have been put to death. Do we have any information about their access to lawyers, their charges, and why they were, of course, facing the verdict of the death penalty?

al-Shahabi: First of all, very, very little information has been linked from the court. It is virtually a secret, and the people did not have any real access to open this legal representation. The may have had some contacts with some lawyers, but the lawyers access to the dependence was very, very restricted. In some cases know that they were allowed to talk to the lawyers for a very short period, for few minutes. And it is very clear that the sentences were ready-made. They were political decisions rather than judicial outcomes, and this puts a lot of cloud on the objectivity of the judiciary, and we know this, it has been know that the judiciary is an arm of the regime for the Al Khalifa, similar to the security forces. It is just yet another arm to be used against the Bahrainis as the Al Khalifa circle to contain the situation.

Q: Well Mr. Shahabi, we were speaking to Mr. Nabeel Rajab a few days back. And he was telling us that the prosecution is following a terrorism law that Bahrain has adopted, which is ,likely he said, is criticized by human rights bodies and even the Unites Nations. Do have any information if that is the case? If that is the law under which these men have been prosecuted?

al-Shahabi: Well, the terrorism law was imposed on the people of Bahrain by the Al Khalifa. It was criticized by special .... on torture. And also it was ever since the national and human rights which have both criticized in details. The international commission of jurists is studying it carefully and they have a lot of observations about it.

However, [in] this court we do not know whether they are bearing their verdict on that law or on these completed charges. Because as far as we know, no policemen were killed during the protest, and all the footage that was shown by the official TV was made up and nothing is real. Several people who saw it realized that the footage was made up fabrication rather than reality. These people will be killed in the same way as the 30 people who were either killed by bullets in the streets or torture behind bars.

So these killings, if they are killed and executed, then it is yet another case of extra judicial killing which is barred and banned by international law.

Q: You say its banned by international law, and a lot of what we are hearing in Bahrain is being termed as such, for instance, the attacks on hospitals, the arrest of medical staff, allegations of torture which are coming out. What have the human rights originations and groups, your own movement the Bahraini Freedom Movement, have been doing in terms of bring these cases to light? And how are you seeing the international response these cases are getting?

al-Shahabi: There are two ways of converting a regime that is an illegal regime, and a violent regime. You either counter it with by face to face means that they are adopting, or use these slow processes. Were by you [will] try to influence international opinion, through human right bodies, through political bodies. And these bodies [will] hopefully [and] eventually put some pressure on the politicians, and hopefully [on] the international ... such as are the Human Rights Council, the Security Council, and their bodies will take up the question and the case and they will apply the pressure.

So, either you can continue in the process of popular uprising and the revolution [and] adopt this, or you do the work. In our case, we have been doing work. The people of Bahrain have not and will not give up the struggle against the regime, and they will continue whatever the cost may be. And at the same time we are perusing the international way and pressure in order to bring some political international pressure in the regime for it to be sanctioned. And I think we have succeeded in one case, when the crown prince was banned from [being] presented [in] the royal wedding in London. That was a big blow to the Al Khalifa legitimacy and international standing.

Q: There is a question that is being raised now by a lot of people on what is making Bahrain different form the cases in Libya, when we are seeing the international the UN Security Council action on cases like Libya or even Syria. We are not seeing the same action taken against the authorities in Bahrain. Why do you think that we are seeing the kind of response that we have been seeing and still seeing from the international; community? Especially when it comes to the Unites States?

al-Shahabi: I think only two countries are taking this stance. Apart from those two countries, the international community is aware [of] what is happening in Bahrain. It is not different at all from what is happening in Yemen, in Libya and other places. It is only the Unites States and Briton that are sheltering the Al Khalifa. They are the people who are planning the operations, executing some of the operations, and also offering the international sheltering and defense of the Al Khalifa regime. Sheltering it form international condemnation and from the Security Council hearings.

So, apart from that, human rights bodies, media bodies, some political circles, the European parliament, all of these are unanimous in saying that Bahrain is the same as the other countries in terms of its revolution, and must be treated in the same way. However when you are the United States and Briton taking a different stance, then the situating changes, and they tend to influence the other nations and the international resolutions.

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