14 February 2020 – Protests have taken place in towns and villages across Bahrain since last night to mark the ninth anniversary of Bahrain’s popular uprising, including in the capital Manama. Photos circulated online show police responding with tear gas and numerous arrests, while family members of those extrajudicially killed in 2011 were summoned for questioning, including the father of Ali Mushaima, the first individual “fatally shot” by police during the uprising.
— BIRD (@BirdBahrain_) February 14, 2020
Solidarity actions from Bahraini exiles were recorded in 13 European capitals including Brussels, Berlin, Paris and as far away as Melbourne, Australia. In London, protesters gathered outside the Bahrain Embassy in Belgrave Square, while BIRD held a parliamentary event featuring prominent British and Bahraini speakers.
.@ADHRB .@fidh_eu .@FrontLineHRD solidarity stand in #Brussels to commemorate the #February14 2011 pro-Democracy movement in #Bahrain demanding the release of Human Rights Defenders and thousands of political prisoners in the country pic.twitter.com/Xfbsls6uKH
— ADHRB (@ADHRB) February 14, 2020
BIRD also launched their first annual human rights report to mark the anniversary of the uprising, finding that the human rights situation “deteriorated” in 2019 due to the Bahraini government’s “unrelenting campaign against all forms of dissent.” The report also strongly criticises the UK government’s role in supporting the Bahraini regime, with British funding and training to Bahraini institutions subject to particular scrutiny.
One of these institutions, the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) mandated to investigate human rights abuses, came under fire from Peers during a House of Lords oral session on Wednesday. Brandishing a recently disclosed SIU dossier, Lord Scriven described the investigation into the torture of death row inmates Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa as “contradictory, inconistent and in contravention with international standards.”
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at BIRD, commented: “Despite arrests, intimidation and intensifying repression, the Bahraini people continue to mark the anniversary of the uprising in the hope that the international community will hold the Bahraini government to account. The struggle for democracy in Bahrain cannot be achieved while Bahrain’s Western allies, especially the UK and US governments, continue to put geopolitics ahead of human rights.”
Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of ADHRB, commented: “Seeing the anniversary marked 13 capital cities sends a clear message to our brothers and sisters back home that they have not been forgotten and that the world stands in solidarity with their struggle. While the situation remains grave, more and more people are learning the truth about Bahrain’s dictatorship and supporting the movement for democracy.”