16 Feb 2012

Families of martyrs in Bahrain have been suffering a punitive campaign of punishment since the start of the movement, as they have been targeted with arrests, intimidation, house raids and deliberate attacks by toxic gases. While none of the officials responsible for the protesters' deaths has been convicted at a court, and while the families should have been compensated both morally and materially for their losses, instead they are being attacked deliberately in an attempt of the Bahraini regime to punish them for openly accusing the regime with the murder of their sons and demanding to hold the officials accountable for these deaths. The families are being treated in a discriminative manner to force them and others into silence on the crimes of the regime. Many of the relatives have either been arrested or are in hiding in fear of an arrest.

The following are a number of cases which prove the regime's systematic manner of targeting families of martyrs. These cases are only a fraction of what the families go through, and do not include all of the attacks which they have been subjected to.

Ali AlMoamen

Ali AlMoamen was a 23 year old engineering student at the University of Bahrain. He was in his last year of studies when he was killed by Bahraini regime forces in the first attack on the Pearl Roundabout. On the morning of February 17th, he headed to the Pearl roundabout after hearing of a pre-dawn attack by the Bahraini army and security forces on peaceful protesters who were conducting a sit-in. He was deliberately killed with birdshots after he was caught attempting to help medics save the injured. The shotgun was placed and shot directly on his left thigh and then on his right leg. His main arteries were cut in both legs which caused him to bleed to death. The Canister was later removed from inside his body. Today, his killer "Ahmed AlDhawadi" is being tried on a show trial and charged of "beating lead to death by mistake".

The AlMoamen family, however, did not stop being targeted by the Bahraini regime forces after their son's killing. Their youngest son Mustafa AlMoamen, who is only 17 years old, was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment on December 15 2011 with charges of participating in illegal gatherings and incitement of hatred towards the regime, in a trial where the judge was a member of the Bahraini royal family. Their oldest son, Hussain AlMoamen, is a 21 year old university student. He was arrested on January 4 2012 after security forces raided his grandfather's house following an attack on a funeral procession of a martyr who was killed a few days before. Hussain is being deprived of his education, as he was arrested prior to his final exams which he missed while in detention. Watch the video of his arrest.

GRAPHIC: Photo of Ali AlMoamen at time of death

Ali AlMoamen death was listed in the BICI report under Case #6 (paragraph 921)

Ali Mushaima

Ali Mushaima,27 year old, is the first martyr of Bahrain revolution. Ali was shot with shotgun to his back outside his house, although there were no demonstrations in the area. He was transferred to Salmaniya hospital to die an hour later.

The family's home has been attacked more than 3 times since their son's killing, which proves the regime's tactics of deliberately targeting martyrs' families. On January 13 2012, their house was directly attacked with tear gas after security forces raided the house by entering the kitchen, where they broke teapots and assaulted the martyr's sister by spitting in her face and shouting at her. From what she recognized the security forces were Yemeni, and they were filming the assault. They attempted to beat the martyr's father, then they threw tear gas at the entrance of the house, which is very narrow leading the teargas to spread throughout the house. This lead to his uncle's wife, an 83 year old woman to suffocate. Following the attack, the old woman started to have difficulty breathing, high blood pressure and an infection in her kidney, all of which she had not suffered from prior to the attack. Although the family attempted to leave the house to escape the toxic gas, the security forces encircled it for a while preventing them from leaving.

GRAPHIC: Photo of Ali Mushaima at time of death

Ali Mushaima death was listed in the BICI report under Case #1 (paragraph 896)

Ahmed Farhan

Ahmed Farhan was a 30 year old who was one of thousands of pro-democracy protesters who went out in protest in March 2011 to peacefully demand their rights. They were met with violence as Ahmed's killing has proven. He was killed on March 15 2011 during the famous bloody attack on the island of Sitra. This is a video of him right after he was shot (GRAPHIC). According to the BICI report (pg. 228, parag. 927), he was "hit by shotgun pellets in his right leg. He attempted to escape but was shot in the head from point blank range while he was lying on the ground.” This led his head to blow up, turning his death to one of the clearest evidences of police brutality in Bahrain. Human Rights Watch stated that "photographs of Farhan's body show the back of his head blown open and an empty brain cavity, suggesting that he had been shot at close range."

After his head was blown up from a close range, his friend AbdulMonaim Mansoor carried his body to Sitra Medical Center. AbdulMonaim has been is prison since May 2011 for carrying his friend's dead body. He was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment by the military court. Another close friend of his, Yousif Ali Hasan Khamis, was arrested on the morning of September 24 2011. Around 18 police cars arrived at the fuel station where he worked to arrest him, subjecting him to beatings at the time of arrest. He has been accused of illegal gathering and incitement of hatred towards the regime.

The martyr's brother, 28 year old Ridha Farhan, has been also arrested between September 29 2011 to Jan 17 2012. He was insulted and beaten at the time of arrest, even more so in detention. He is currently undergoing a trial with several charges including illegal gathering. Ridha suffers from a severe level of sickle cell anemia and slow growth.

The doctor present at Sitra Medical Center the day martyr Ahmed was brought in is Dr. Alaa Zaidan. He was unfairly dismissed from his job by the Ministry of Health, due to treating injured protesters in Sitra and showing his sympathy with the father of martyr. Dr. Alaa was forced to leave Bahrain to his home country Egypt, though he has been living in the country for years and is married to a Bahraini woman.

The ordeal of martyr Ahmed Farhan's family does not end with the killing of their son. Security forces have continuously targeted their house with tear gas, going as far as throwing tear gas canisters inside their house. See this video

Ahmed Farhan death was listed in the BICI report under Case #7 (paragraph 925)

Ali AlShaikh

Ali AlShaikh was a 16 year old child who was killed in August during the Islamic holiday Eid Al Fitr. He went out to peacefully protest in the morning following Eid prayers with his father, only to be shot at with a tear gas canister from less than 15 feet away after being chased by a police jeep. The canister hit him in the back of his neck, causing him to die immediately. Following his son's killing, Jawad AlShaikh, says that the government tried to force him to sign documents stating that Ali was not killed by regime forces. A few months later he was summoned by police for interrogation. Jawad fears getting sacked from his job due to being the father of a martyr. Security forces have numerously raided the family's home and ripped pictures of Ali off the wall. They constantly smash the pictures on his grave as well as throwing away any flowers which the family leaves on their son's grave.

Ahmed AlShaikh, the cousin of martyr Ali AlShaikh, who is a witness of his killing was recently arrested on January 5 2012 when he went to renew his passport in the Bahraini Passport Department. Ahmed has been charged with illegal gathering, and is currently being held in Dry Dock detention center which is a prison infamous for its ill-treatment of detainees.

GRAPHIC: Photo of Ali AlShaikh at time of death

Mahmood Ahmed Makki (Abu-Takki)

In the early hours of 17 February 2011, while peaceful protesters in pearl roundabout were sleeping, Bahrain forces violently attacked without warning. Riot police stormed the roundabout attacking using teargas, rubber bullets, shotgun pellet and even live ammunition. 4 protesters were killed that night, Mahmood Ahmed (Abu Takki), 23 year old, was one of them. At 2:30 am, riot police woke Mahmood up and despite his cries “We are peaceful”, he was killed by shotgun.

As if killing Mahmood was not enough, Bahrain’s authorities targeted his family. While Mahmood’s brother Shaker AbuTaki is detained since July 2011, another brother was summoned to police station on February, 1.

GRAPHIC: Photo of Mahmood AbuTaki at time of death

Mahmood AbuTaki death was listed in the BICI report under Case #3 (paragraph 906)

These stories are just a small part of what the families of martyrs are subjected to from mistreatment to deliberate targeting with arrests, beatings and home raids, at the time that their killers have not been held accountable. The continued plight of these families after one year from losing their sons during their struggle for rights and democracy only proves the lack of serious-will to end the human rights violations and proves a high level of impunity granted to those who have deliberately killed unarmed peaceful protesters.

Therefore, BCHR calls for the following:

1. The Bahraini government must stop attacking and targeting the friends and families of martyrs. 2. Those responsible for the killing of martyrs must be hold accountable and be brought to an independent judicial system rather than be put on show trials. 3. Families of martyrs must be compensated both morally and materially for their losses, as well as for the attacks they have been subjected to. 4. International community must condemn the Bahraini regime's use of vengeance in the case of the families of martyrs.