Inside the Middle East
May 26, 2011
Posted: 1502 GMT

By Jenifer Fenton, CNN

Bahrain plans to lift its state of emergency on June 1. Two days later, the country will learn if it can reschedule its Formula 1 Grand Prix, which was cancelled due to the unrest.

The Gulf Kingdom is hoping for a return to business as usual, but the county’s trials and continued detentions are cause for concern to many.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague in London on Wednesday.

“Bahrain’s recent unrest is distinct in that the protests ultimately divided and polarised society rather than uniting it,” Prince Salman said in a statement released by his office. “Undoubtedly, mistakes have been made by all sides during the recent period, but lessons are being learnt.”

Also Wednesday, four were sentenced in a Bahraini national military court to one year in prison for taking part in pro-democracy demonstrations that began in mid-February, according to Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights.

In a speech addressing the Middle East, U.S. President Barack Obama said that “mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens, and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away.” Calling for dialogue, he added, “You can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail.”

This week, Bahrain said it had released 515 detainees since the state of emergency went into effect. It is unclear how many are still being held in custody.

A prominent Bahrain human rights activist said he doubts the government’s figures. At least 1,100 are still believed to be in detention, Nabeel Rajab said. He believes the true number is much higher. The arrests have also continued, Rajab added.

Among those still detained are 46 medical employees, including six women, according to Information Affairs Authority President Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa. Twenty-nine are facing criminal charges and 17 are accused of committing misdemeanours, Al-Khalifa said on the state news agency's website this week.

Hassan Ali Mushaima, the leader of the hard-line Shiite opposition group Haq, Ibrahim Sharif, the leader of the secular Waad party and Abdulhadi al Khawaja, a leading human rights activist, are also among those on trial accused of attempting “to topple the regime forcibly in collaboration with a terrorist organization working for a foreign country,” according to Bahrain’s news agency.

Others have disappeared. At least two senior members of Al Wefaq, the main Shiite opposition group are missing. Matar Ebrahim Matar, 35, a former Al Wefaq MP, was taken from his car by armed men in mask on May 2, according to a family member. He has not been heard from him since. Bahrain has not responded to queries about Matar from his family or from CNN. His family is not aware of any charges against Matar. Matar represented the biggest constituency in Bahrain, approximately 16,000 people.

According to Human Rights Watch Jawad Fairuz was also taken on May 2. Matar and Fairuz won seats in Bahrain’s lower house of Parliament in October 2010. The two, along with 16 other Al Wefaq members resigned their position in protest of the government’s crackdown.

On Sunday, Bahrain upheld the death sentences of two men in connection with the killing of two police officers during anti-government protests. Two other men had their sentences commuted to life in prison. Approximately 30 people have been killed since the protest began on February 14.

Bahrain is a key ally of the U.S. in the Persian Gulf and the home of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet

What will change when Bahrain’s state of emergency is lifted on June 1 remains to be seen. “It is more a decision to attract back businesses that left the country and attract Formula 1.” Rajab said. “I don’t think that it is going to change anything on the ground, it is more cosmetic.”

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Filed under: Bahrain •Human Rights

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Ali   May 26th, 2011 11:00 pm ET

In Bahrain jails nowadays, you will find most prominent oppostion leaders, parliament members, most famous physicians, surgeons and nurses, promonent Lawyers, bloggers, cyber-activists, poets, journalists, photographers, engineers, union figures, human rights activists, proffesors, teachers, children under 15 years, elderly... I'm not kidding. Read the news...

Abuali   May 27th, 2011 6:36 am ET

I believe there is one missing issue in this article where more than 1600 educated and qualified experts employees lost thiere jobs in different fields in Bahrain major companies just because of participating in anti-government protest. This is an official record from Bahrain labour federation.

Jamal   May 27th, 2011 8:04 pm ET

They arrests and detention of professionals is still going. Everyday a number of female teachers are arrested in front of their students and taken to detention, blind-folded and beaten. Their crime speaking out for their rights and some for participating in peaceful demonstration in February and March. The government announced that it released 24 medical personnel but that never happened. They are still there being tortured and may be taken to military court for bogus confessions. These are well-qualified doctors who had the courage to expose the atrocities in the media.

rashid   May 28th, 2011 5:35 pm ET

Yes this is true ....
I expect it too ... By the government, what is for information only, and paving to host Formula One, but on the other side is trying to suppress an entire people to reach for their rights ...

jsr   May 28th, 2011 7:13 pm ET

Where is America, where is UN, where is NATO force to ensure democratic reforms, protect civilians;

Ooops, I forgot. Bahrain has huge OIL reserves, and home to US Naval Fleet.

Too bad for Bahrain civilians, SHAME on Western Powers, Militants will use as another example USA is only concerned about ITS citizens. The rest can be categorized as collateral damage, and/or if they're starving it's referred to as food insecurity.

Rocker   May 29th, 2011 9:01 am ET

Last week, the riot police raided a girls school where students were taking their final exam. They barged into the exam hall, pulled an 18-year old and took her away for interrogation in front of teachers and students. This is just a small example of the Bahraini people's suffering.
What future does the young men and women of this country has, if their government continue to treat them this way?

Khalid Alkhayat   May 29th, 2011 9:16 am ET

To the best of my knowledge, when sep 11 terrorist events took place, and America did what it did to "protect "its land and people never asked itself how many I should arrest? or what profession they have?

The only thing it did is caring of its ppl and land security and peace.
So, how come some ppl are trying to ruin Bahrain image by displaying it as the county which arrests professional ppl?

If they were professional enough, they wouldn't have done what they did!

Selling your own countrty to the devil is considered a killing crime even in America.
Killing policemen by intentioal running over them by cars, taking the whole and the biggest medical centre in Bahrain under hostage, banning patients from entering it based on their faith, cutting tonge of a man who calls for prayer, stabbing to death 86 year old taxi driver, blocking one of the biggest business areas and land mark to operate, and banning its staff from entering it, and much much more crimes that this little space can accommodate.. and still some ppl are blaming the gov for the arrest of these criminals who work as doctors and nurses!!!

If America accepted it for its own people , then we might think about it.

Mohamed   May 29th, 2011 9:54 am ET

anyone of you who are requesting Nato to "protect" civilians, you must be the biggest traitors in history, havent you seen what happened in Iraq, and now libya where Depleted Uranium is being dropped on people, and its effects will pollute the waters and soil for the next 40,000 years..

seriously, you are a bunch of idiots who rode the "wave of change" and got fished by the media giants which are known for their role in this new world order, Bahrain has huge reserves?? ha ! yeah right man..

by the way, we the other half will never stand and watch you shit over us just like iraq, lebanon and the whole mahdi army , you are the tools of satan , a minority of muslims and the traitors who are being used by the west and Iran to f us over,, you idiotic imbeciles

Ahmed BH   May 29th, 2011 11:30 am ET

All who are in custody are deserved to be there, Justice MUST be served to all of the criminals. No one is above the law, no matter what sect, gender, race, nationality. It doesn't matter if it was a Doctor, Poet, "Human Rights" Activist, Teachers, or whatever, if you committed heinous crimes, or anarchy of any sort, you will suffer the consequences. I think this is relevant in all countries and should not be different here.

The only way forward is for the opposition to change their leaders and Reform themselves before asking for reform from the Govt. A national dialogue must take place ONLY IF ALL is invited in the dialogue not by the Govt and Opposition only. The Majority of Bahrain, who are against those "peaceful" protesters have a right to say what they want too. They cannot snub us any longer, the silent Majority have spoken, and now we demand that they listen.

John   May 29th, 2011 12:09 pm ET

The problem in Bahrain is not Democracy???? it is frankly and plainly the local Muslim Shea supported by Iran, America and Iraq militiamen’s are trying to show that the government is injustice...... the Shea are laying and laying until they believed them self that they are not treated well..... Just compare Bahrain with most of the Arab countries and see the difference in the civilized and progressive way the government of Bahrain is doing.

Jen   May 29th, 2011 1:12 pm ET

Armed foreigners are killing citizens,, how shame

Rana   May 29th, 2011 1:46 pm ET

I wondered what are the reliable evidence of mentioned in this article have ever heared what happened in health sector by the protesters the people have been prevented the health services they are tourerist

sr1   May 29th, 2011 3:14 pm ET

The Bahrain problem will resurface as the social divide has not been resolved.Also Bahrain is not oil rich as some people believe.The US is there only for its strategic importance and it will watch Bahrain burn ,because then it can have more control on any new dispensation.And do not forget Iran in all of this.

Raza   May 31st, 2011 4:07 am ET

I hope no one has any concern of human rights violations by Bahraini and Sauidis killers. Why should US, UN, EU or OIC raise any offence against opressors as it is neither Iraq nor Libya.

Bint Al Bahrain   May 31st, 2011 7:06 am ET

On March 14th we lived a day of FEAR when the terrorist protesters blocked the main roads to the Central Business District and attacked the University of Bahrain. Policemen were killed and innocent civilians were beaten and stabbed to within an inch of their lives.. you call this PEACEFUL?!!!!! Houses were marked, lists of "traitors" were created, I could go on and on and on about what they did to us but it is too painful to relive those days...

THANK GOD for the GCC Armed Forces help!!! THANK GOD for our brothers in Saudi Arabia & the UAE's help!! We were living in complete fear and anxiety since February 14th!!

What oil is this that you talk of? Bahrain processes some oil from Saudi Arabia -an agreement that is only in place because the 2 Royal Families descend from the same tribe!! Bahrain is granted financial aid from the GCC because the royal families of Saudi Arabia & Kuwait are of the same tribe as Bahrain!!!

The doctors that aided in taking over Salmaniya hospital did not do their jobs in treating patients! Instead they discriminated & violated people's privacy & made false phone calls to international organizations and spread lies!!

Since when is America responsible for the world?! America the watchdog is in bed with Iran to create chaos in this area so that we buy more weapons from them!! WAKE UP ALL OF YOU!! THIS GAME IS BIGGER THAN ALL OF US!!! And if you terrorists prefer the American way -then please go there as immigrants and see that you will NOT GET free housing, medical, education etc etc etc as you are ENTITLED TO AS A BAHRAINI CITIZEN!!! STOP COMPLAINING! GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASSES AND WORK!!!!

I am so glad this is all over and if they idiot, retarded, uneducated, villager, terrorist protesters do decide to "emerge" again on June 1st then I will willingly fight alongside the army against them.

Ali   June 20th, 2011 9:26 pm ET

Coverage of International media About Matar Matar Kidnappingby Free Matar Matar on Monday, May 30, 2011 at 3:02pm
Updates on Mr. Mattar’s kidnapping:

On May 26, 2011 CNN published a report "Bahrain Trials, Tribulations and Detentions" and mentioned that "Bahrain has not responded to queries about Matar from his family or from CNN".

On May 25, 2011 Roy Gutman from McClatchy Newspapers wrote an article about Bahrain "Bahrain's arrests of opponents show unsettling pattern of abuse" mentioning details on Mattar's kidnapping case.

On May 25, 2011 Alkarama announced "Alkarama has written to the His Majesty the King of Bahrain, as well as to the Kingdom's Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, and its Permanent Mission in Geneva to request further information on Mr Fairuz's and Mr Mattar's behalf". Alkarama (Dignity) is a non-governmental organisation founded in 2004 by a team of volunteer lawyers and activists on human rights to help ensure the promotion and protection of human rights, especially in the Arab World.

On May 23, 2011 Financial Times released an article titled " Foreign media allege Bahrain abuse" and mentioned Mattar by saying " Two former members of parliament from al-Wefaq, the main Shia opposition group, remain imprisoned. Family and colleagues of one of them, Matar Matar, have not seen him since he was detained three weeks ago."

On May 22, 2011 Mr. Matar has completed 3 weeks since he was kidnapped on May 2, and still there is no official news about him and we don’t know his whereabouts or whether he is alive or not. His Family is terribly worried about him and they say that Mr. Mattar is being targeted with false accusations.

On May 22, 2011 Mr. Nabeel Rajab the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights wrote on twitter that "Jala Fairooz and Mattar Mattar and Shaikh Maitham Alsalman are in the same jail with the opposition figures". Mattar's family still hear only uncertain nonofficial leaked information about Mattar.
الرموز في نفس السجن مع جلال فيروز و مطر مطر و الشيخ ميثم السلمان #bahrain—
Nabeel Rajab (@NABEELRAJAB) May 22, 2011

On May 20, 2011 Al-Jazeera English aired a report “Obama slams Bahrain's mass arrests” on Mr. Obama speech on the Middle East. Charles Stratford reported “Al Jazeera interviewed Mattar Ibrahim, an opposition figure, the day before he disappeared. He was excited about the invitation he had to meet US embassy officials. His wife says he was snatched from his car by armed masked on May the 2nd. She has not seen or heard from him since.”

On May 19, 2011 Mr. Barack Obama had a speech on the Middle East and said when mentioning Bahrain “The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can't have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail. The government must create the conditions for dialogue.”

On May 17, 2011 RSF (Reporters Without Borders) calls for the immediate release of Mr. Matar:,40301.html

On May 17, 2011 Mr. Mattar was mentioned in Reuters report about Bahrain “One of the last handful still talking was Matar Matar”:

On May 16, 2011 Mr. Matar has completed 15 days since he was kidnapped on May 2, and still there is no official news about him and we don’t know his whereabouts or whether he is alive or not

On May 11, 2011 Al-Jazeera English aired an inside story about Bahrain where Ms. Staci Haag, the director for gulf programs in NDI said that Matar is a moderate opposition leader who needs to be part of the dialogue in Bahrain

On May 11, 2011 AFP published news about Bahrain and said " Two former MPs, Matar Matar and Jawad Fayruz, were taken at gun point earlier this month, according to the opposition."

On May 10, 2011 Mr. Nabeel Rajab knew from a witness that Mattar was seen in the army barrack in Alriffaa Town and that he was heard screaming and severely beaten while being interrogated.

If you have no time, please only read this part:

On May 9, 2011 The Washington Post released an article about Mr. Matar titled:

In Bahrain, a reformer who needs our help

On May 9, 2011 Project on Middle East Democracy Executive Director wrote on their website about Mr. Matar

On May 6, 2011 Amnesty International calling for the protection of Mr.Mattar and others:

On May 6, 2011 Aljazeera English aired Mattar’s story: “Mattar is a moderate opposition leader who supported the reform and dialogue”- May Welsh

Crackdown reins in Bahrain activists

On May 4, 2011, Human Rights Watch called for immediate release of information on the whereabouts and well-being of Mr. Matar and others, and to allow him immediate access to medical care, lawyers, and families:

On May 3. 2011 BBC: Mr Matar had continued to speak out against Bahrain's heavy-handed clampdown on demonstrators, the imposition of martial law in 15 March, and the bringing in of troops from neighbouring Sunni-ruled Gulf states.

On May 2, 2011 Aljazeera English published the kidnap story and aired the video of Mattar’s interview with AJE just one day before he was kidnapped

Bahrain arrests opposition politicians

Ali   June 20th, 2011 9:27 pm ET

The following is summary of Mr. Mattar’s political and societal profile, and his voluntary contributions towards civil society:

Representing Kingdom of Bahrain in 2008 in the “Democratic Leaders Program” organized by the Middle East Partnership Initiative of the United States. Mattar was nominated for this program by the US Embassy in Bahrain.
Completed the “Democracy & Democratic Transition” academic program at Maxwell College, Syracuse University, one of the most renowned universities in the field of public relations and public administration in United States.
Completed “a one month Internship in the National Conference of states legislature in Washington”
Attended a course on the Principles of Constitutional Laws by Dr. Mohammed Al-feeli, an expert on constitutional affairs.
A member of the first Advisory Body of Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, the largest political party in Bahrain, appointed by the society’s Board of Directors.
A previous member of the Al Wefaq Consultative Council elected by Al Wefaq’s General Assembly.
The Head of the Founding Committee of Bahrain’s Youth Center and the Chairman of the center’s first Board of Directors.
Elected in October 2010 in the parliamentary elections for the Northern First Constituency, representing Al Wefaq Society. This is the largest constituency in the country in terms of number of voters. He won by a majority of 85.72% (7689 votes).
He was the youngest Member of Parliament and was a member of the Financial Affairs Committee and was known for his outspoken criticism of the government’s huge spending on the military. Please check this video

Since Martial Laws were activated in Bahrain, and as part of his responsibility towards the people who elected him, he had been following up with the cases of the detainees to ensure they get their basic human rights, and also communicating with the main international media (especially Reuters, BBC, Aljazeera English and France 24) to pass the facts to the international community. Just two days from him being kidnapped, he was interviewed by Aljazeera English. To gain a better perspective on Mr. Mattar political believes, please watch and listen to the interview by following this URL:
Other Contributions

Contributed towards the creation of the National Strategy for Youths.
Launched the famous Lawsuit against electoral gerrymandering.
Presented several papers in Al Wefaq’s scientific conferences centered on developing practices of political practices, the evaluation of political performance of elected parliamentarians, and discussing ways of elevating youth’s political activities.
Was a member of the anti-discrimination committee in the society where he contributed in writing a report about the systematic discrimination by the Bahraini government in many sectors. This was later presented before one of the foreign affairs committees in United State’s Congress.
Moderating a large number of workshops and lectures around education, vocational training, and Labour Market needs.

Hussain   June 29th, 2011 12:52 am ET

All this has been done by USA and C.I.A.
The real goal is war and getting even with Iran ,who knows whats gonna happen there but it won't be good ,thats for sure.
Michael Scheuer is talking now and warning but for the last decade or so he and his C.I.A. officers are creating all this mess. Not only Jeffrey Conroy and Zoran Veljovich but many other agencies agents are poisoning this part of world just for that one reason I mentioned ....going after Iran. Will it be the solution we just have to wait to see.

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