The execution of Shiite opponents in Bahrain .. An internal issue or a message to Iran? | Politics and Economy -

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The government of Bahrain carried out two death sentences by firing squad for both Ali Al Arab (25 years) and Ahmed Al Mulla (24 years), who were convicted of "joining a terrorist group, committing murder and possession of explosives and firearms for terrorist purposes." The Bahraini Attorney-General stated that the two youths had been arrested in February 2017 and sentenced to 58 others on 31 January 2018. They had since exhausted all appeals against the sentence.

The Bahraini authorities accuse the group, allegedly belonging to the two youths, of "attacking a police officer" on 14 January 2017 and of "the murder of a police officer in the old country" on 28 January 2017.

Tension in the Bahraini street

After the execution, violent clashes broke out between demonstrators and the police, who used tear gas. A young man died in a local hospital due to intensive use of tear gas and delayed medical care, according to Bahraini activists..

The mother of one of the youths criticized the execution of her son, and the young man's relatives confirmed that he was innocent of the charges for which he was executed:

He sees Dr. Khattar Abu Diab, professor of international relations at the University of Paris that "Bahrain may have carried out the execution of the death penalty against the Shiite opponents for their sense of imminent danger to their national security, knowing that it had also issued an amnesty for other opponents before that," stressing the need to investigate allegations Extracting confessions under torture, according to an interview Arabic.

International criticism

Several reports of international human rights organizations have reported that they have been extracted under torture and have been tortured again after their death sentence..

British Minister of State for Human Rights Tariq Ahmed said: "We express our deep concern and regret at the execution of these executions … We will continue to communicate with Bahrain in this case bilaterally and in the United Nations Human Rights Council"He said.

In London, a protester was arrested for assaulting a diplomatic building late on Friday after jumping on the roof of the Bahraini embassy. The man's video showed a banner calling for new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene to stop the executions. Emergency officials also broke the embassy door to reach him:

The opposition group, the Bahrain Institute for Democracy and Democracy (BIBRI), confirmed that "embassy staff pulled the demonstrator from the edge of the roof … Two embassy employees beat him with injuries and bleeding." Police said the man was heard chanting "Stop the killing in Bahrain" during his arrest.

Lama Fakih, Deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division She said in an interview with her The organization has documented the absence of legal proceedings in the trials. Reports have also been published showing that individuals were tortured in custody and that their confessions were extracted under duress. Nevertheless, the Bahraini government continued to carry out executions.

According to Human Rights Watch, this was not the first time in Bahrain where people were mistreated and tortured in the absence of fair trials. "We have documented other cases in which individuals were charged under terrorism laws after procedures that lacked any legal protection for the accused," she said. Lama Fakih.

Bahrain has consistently denied accusations of human rights abuses, discriminatory measures against its citizens and suppression of the opposition and says it protects national security from terrorists.

Bahrain has seen unrest since 2011 as a result of demonstrations led by the Shiite majority to demand political reforms. However, the crackdown on the movements took a sharp turn, preventing opposition parties from operating and arresting hundreds of demonstrators. About 1,000 people were also stripped of their nationality, according to human rights organizations, while scores of them, including politicians and human rights activists, were imprisoned and many others fled abroad..

Escalate with opposition based on support international?

Bahraini opponents say the executions were "an attempt to intimidate, deter and repel the opposition," and to suggest the regime's strength and that the actions of the Bahraini government "demonstrate its apparent weakness and inability to resolve its internal crisis".

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said US President Trump's decision to activate federal death sentences may have been one of the reasons Bahrain encouraged the decision. "So rights violators are using each other to cover up,:

"The Bahraini government considers some Shiite dissidents" terrorists who seek to destabilize the fragile relationship between the ruling Sunni minority and the Shiite majority of the population, says Sebastien Zunes, associate fellow of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the German Council on Foreign Relations."He said.

The death sentences in Bahrain coincide with the announcement by the British Ministry of Defense of the arrival of a second British warship to the Gulf, to strengthen operations to protect tankers and other vessels, in the presence of threats from Iran.

Hidden messages to Iran?

Bahrain Jusitz l Protste gegen Festnahme (Getty Images / AFP / M. Al-Shaikh)

Bahrain accuses Iran of stoking extremism in the kingdom and supporting dissidents with the aim of toppling its government, a charge Tehran repeatedly denies. Some believe that the execution of death sentences at this time is inseparable from the current tense scene between the Gulf states and Iran, where the governments of those countries believe that the loyalty of the first Shiites be to Iran and not to their countries.

"After the 2011 unrest led by mainly Bahraini Shiites, the government has arrested many opposition Shiite leaders and as tensions escalate with Iran, Bahrain also wants to send a signal to its closest allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE that many Of the Shiites are seen as agents of Iran"He said.

The Bahraini expert believes that the Bahraini government is more interested in satisfying the interests of its close partners such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, "Bahrain is heavily dependent on Saudi and Emirati support in the economic and military fields and therefore executions can be considered part of the broader anti-Iran approach of both countries." Tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the one hand and Iran on the other are blaming others, such as Shiites, as an important part of the official propaganda of the Gulf Arab states"He said.

But Dr. Khattar Abu Diab, professor of international relations at the University of Paris, sees no direct or indirect messages to Iran from Bahrain or its regional allies. "The message may be general and a preemptive deterrent to groups that may target operations inside Bahrain, The whole region is at a critical stage at the regional security level"He said.

Emad Hassan / Christine Kneep

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