HRW: Bahraini Protesters “Exercising Their Legitimate Rights”

Local Editor
Human Rights Watch criticized on Wednesday the Bahraini regime for staging arrest raids against pro-democracy activists in the Gulf Kingdom, stressing that it’s their legitimate right to protest.
The international watchdog said that the Saudi-backed regme was more concerned with arresting activist than with “addressing the legitimate grievances that have led so many Bahrainis to take to the streets.”

Plainclothes police officers have arrested 20 people Formula One in Bahrainso far in raids in towns around the Gulf state’s Sakhir circuit, the New York-based watchdog said.

“Bahraini authorities are carrying out home raids and arbitrarily detaining opposition protesters in advance of the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend,” it said.
“These raids and detentions suggest that officials are more concerned with getting activists out of circulation for the Formula 1 race than with addressing the legitimate grievances that have led so many Bahrainis to take to the streets,” said HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson.

“The Bahraini authorities have a responsibility to ensure the safety of those attending the Formula 1 Grand Prix, but that should not extend to arresting people for exercising their legitimate rights to free speech and assembly,” Whitson said.

“Night-time raids of targeted people by masked officers who show neither arrest nor search warrants appear intended to intimidate them, their families and their supporters,” he added.

The Bahraini regime has been since February 2011 staging a brutal crackdown against pro-democracy activists. So far dozens of protesters have been martyred; hundreds others were injured or arrested by the regime, including nurses who treated wounded demonstrators.

Source: AFP
10-04-2013 – 13:40 Last updated 10-04-2013 – 13:40

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