Amnesty International urges Bahrain to end torture after sex abuse report

Bahraini protesters run for cover during anti-regime protests in Sitra on January 1, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
Amnesty International has called on Bahrain to put an end to torturing government critics and all other forms of human rights violations after a report revealed sexual abuse of a female activist during interrogation.
Amnesty made the call in a Thursday report, after Bahraini human rights activist Ebtisam al-Saegh told the rights group she was tortured and sexually assaulted while in detention for seven hours at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Muharraq, northeast of the capital Manama, last week.
"The state must end all forms of reprisals it is currently using against human rights defenders and government critics, targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression," Amnesty International said.
"They beat me on my nose and they kicked me in the stomach, knowing that I had undergone surgery on my nose and that I was suffering from my colon," Saegh told Amnesty.
"I could hear an electric device next to me, which was to scare me. I was made to stand up for most of the time," the report cited her as saying.
Bahraini troops dressed in heavy riot gear take a teenage boy into detention during anti-regime protests. (file photo)
Bahrain, which is home to the US Fifth Fleet, has recently stepped up a crackdown on critics, barring two main political groups, revoking the citizenship of the spiritual leader of the Shia community, Sheikh Isa Qassim, and jailing rights activists.
Less than 48 hours after US President Donald Trump left Saudi Arabia in May, Bahraini regime troops attacked supporters of Sheikh Qassim in the northwestern village of Diraz, killing at least five people and arresting 286 others.
The London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said Trump “effectively gave [Bahraini King] Hamad a blank check to continue the repression of his people.”
The American president has hinted at the improvement of bilateral ties under his administration and lifted some of the former restrictions against the Manama regime.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
On March 5, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.  
King Hamad ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3.

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