Thursday, March 18, 2010

Authorities revert to live ammunition (Buck shots) to suppress citizens and participants in public protests

HAQ: Movement of Liberties and Democracy- Bahrain

حق: حركة الحريات والدموقراطية- البحرين

مكتب حقوق الإنسان ..Human Rights Bureau, Email:

Authorities revert to live ammunition (Buck shots) to suppress citizens and participants in public protests

Directives of the security services cause delay in the treatment of a young man shot by Special Force

Risking his life, Public Prosecution interrogates the victim before treatment and without a lawyer

The Human Rights Bureau of the "HAQ" movement expresses its deep concerns about the increased tension shown by the Bahraini authorities in dealing with the growing wave of popular protests in the villages and cities. These public activities are demanding the release of detainees of popular protests associated with the files of sectarian discrimination, change of demography program, improve the economic status and democratic reform in the country.

The news is frequent of excessive use of force by Special Forces and the collective punishment of villages that have shown numerous protests. These are expressed by stacks of smoke coming out of blazed rubber tyres burned by protesters to show their peaceful protest. The three days of the Formula-1, between 12-14 March 2010, were exacerbated by popular protests, as offset by the presence of high-level security, siege of villages and the increased presence of troops (consisting of foreign forces) at the entrances to villages and some alleyways. Reports indicate that members of these "tense" Special Forces randomly attacked many young people in some villages, made loud noises and used sound bomb grenades to reduce the movement in those villages during the said period. In addition to the release of chemical suffocating tear gases, the SF used batons in the assaults on bystanders, as happened in the village of Samaheej. This attitude was extended the use of live ammunition (Buck shots) in areas that have shown intense protests.

Among those assaulted were the young man, Husain Ali Hasan Al-Sahlawi (25 years) who was in a visit to his grandfather in the village of Karzakan, which, like other villages, saw protests and smoke stacks as part of the activity to draw the attention of visitors to Bahrain and the media attending Formula-I in Bahrain. Testimonies indicate that Husain was barraged with live ammunition (Buck shots) after he left his grandfather's house last Sunday afternoon, March 14 (The attached images show signs of those bullets in some parts of his body). In order to preserve his life, Husain fled to his family and was in a deplorable condition and blood was covering all parts of his body which contained dozens of convex metal bullets. Husain was wounded in the abdomen, back, chest, head and legs and hands, and other parts of the body. While some of the wounds were superficial, other bullets penetrated Husain's and settled in sensitive areas which cannot risk elimination.

Husain Al-Sahlawi is currently in Sulaimaniya governmental hospital awaiting a surgery under the surveillance of members of the security apparatus who were waiting for him when his family returned with him last night after failing to have him treated at the beginning. The security authorities issued a public statement warning hospitals and health centers to provide treatment to those in need of treatment in the current incidents and confrontations. Reports indicate the spread of large numbers of detectives and security service personnel in civilian dress into hospitals and health centers to monitor who is being brought for examination and treatment. This has resulted in deterring and reluctance of many hospitals from providing treatment for any of the injured and wounded.

On the other hand, the Public Prosecution Office (PP) today started early interrogating with Al-Sahlawi before allowing for his treatment, and without the presence of a lawyer representing him. Before allowing for urgent surgical operations to remove some of the bullets from his body, the PP faced Husain with charges of illegal gathering and riot. Members of security services are made continuously present in his Husain's private room in Salmaniya Hospital.

While HAQ movement deplores the security authorities for the use of live ammunition and collective punishment to suppress demonstrators as well as those in the location of protests, it demands the following:

  1. Fulfilling State and hospitals obligations to the citizens and residents to provide the necessary medical treatment of injuries of any kind or cause, without politicization of the profession of medicine by security directives. This includes the provision of the required treatment for Husain Ali Hassan Al-Sahlawi and not expose him or his family, during the handling of any investigation, to any form of pressure to coerce him to confess what he did not do.

  1. Abiding by the United Nations Charter with regard to treatment of the wounded and injured during popular incidents and not to hinder any attempts to rescue or treatment of any victims of the protests, whether they are present in the areas of protest or the protesters themselves.

  1. Cease collective punishment and siege of villages and subjecting them to chemical suffocating tear gas and sound incendiary bombs.

  1. Abiding by the principles of fairness trials and investigations and the right of the accused in the presence of their lawyers before starting any investigation involving them.

  1. Forming an independent inquiry commission to look into allegations of collective punishment and the use of live ammunition (Buck shots) against citizens, bring those responsible for such decisions to a fair trial and compensate the affected people and injured

  1. The unconditional release of all detainees in the recent events and cleansing prisons of activists as an initial entry to solutions of files causing the current aggravating situation in Bahrain.

March 17, 2010.