Bahrain. Approximately 2,500 people were reported in
February to have demonstrated in the capital Manama
demanding that the Shi'ite Muslim activists arrested in the
northern part of the kingdom in December 2007 be released.
In May, King Shaykh Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah appointed
Hoda Nono - woman, Jewess and member of the Majlis al-Shura
Advisory Assembly - as the country's ambassador to the
United States. It was the first time a person with Jewish
background became ambassador to an Arab country.
Countryaah reports, Foreign Minister Shaykh Khalid Al Khalifah proposed in
September that all countries in the Middle East should be
united in a new cooperation forum to resolve the region's
contradictions. Non-Arab countries, such as Israel and Iran,
would also be invited.
On April 13, the Justice Department threatened to ban
Wefaq and the Islamic Action Party. That led to US protests,
prompting the regime to declare it misunderstood.
By mid-April, over 30 had been killed and about 600
injured. The dictatorship kept the country in an iron grip.
In mid-2011, Al Jazeera made the documentary Shouting
in the Dark about the demands of democracy and the
dictatorship of the dictatorship. The broadcast has since
been viewed by over 300,000 people on Youtube. The Western
governments insist that everything is in order now.
Meanwhile, the dictatorship continues its massive human
rights violations. Up to 1,000 people were killed in the
period February-November 2011, and thousands more were
jailed. In particular, the dictatorship sought to hit health
professionals such as doctors and nurses whose "crime" was
to treat wounded protesters. This led to protests from
medical organizations all over the world - incl. The Danish
The film led to a diplomatic conflict between Bahrain in
Qatar. Bahrain pulled its diplomats home. Only after a Gulf
Cooperation Council summit in November 2014 did Bahrain
announce that its diplomats would return to Qatar.
In June 2011, the King set up an independent commission
of inquiry to investigate the incidents. The Commission
issued a report in November. The report reaffirmed the
regime's systematic use of torture, mistreatment of
prisoners and systematic abuse of the opposition. By this
time, at least 5 had been murdered during torture in the
regime's torture centers. The report also argued that Iran
should be involved in supporting the uprising.
In September, a military court sentenced 20 doctors and
other health professionals from Salmaniya Hospital to 1-5
years in prison for "kidnapping" and "weapons storage" at
the hospital. As in Denmark, the "trial" was based on the
use of secret witnesses. An appeals court upheld the June
The protests diminished in the latter half of 2011 as a
result of the intense repression, but flared up again in
2012. In February 2012, the king's spin doctor announced
that reconciliation meetings were planned but that they
would not be initiated until all the culprits were been
located and punished. On March 9, the largest demonstration
against the regime so far was conducted with around 250,000
people. The demonstration and those following it should
focus internationally on the repression in Bahrain and if
possible lead to the cancellation of the Formula I races in
the country in April. As part of this, the Danish-Bahraini
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja went on a hunger strike. al-Khawaja had
been arrested in April 2011, subjected to torture and
sentenced to life in prison in June "for calling for riots."
At the beginning of April 2012, his hunger strike rounded
out the 60 days, leading to international demands for his
transfer to a Danish hospital. It was rejected by the regime
and the Danish authorities kept low profile due to the close
political and generous relations between the two countries.
Bahrain's authorities instead began to force-feed