Photo from http://www.fpif.org/articles/in_bahrain_an_uprising_unabated
On May 21st, NI Director Michael Beer, with other activists, spoke up at a Bahraini diplomatic event at the Bahrain Embassy in Washington DC and questioned the human rights and business policies of the regime.
While expressing admiration for the Bahraini people and society, the activists made clear to the audience of 100 people that the government of Bahrain is engaged in a public relations exercise to cover-up and distract attention from the appalling mistreatment of its own people.
During the question and answer period, Beer asked why anyone would want to invest in a country which has been categorized by Reporters Without Borders to be among the 5 worst enemies of the Internet. He went on to ask if the reports were true that it was necessary to give the prime minister a cut of any substantial new business venture. He concluded with a question about the economic stability of the country by asking what the prospects of a power-sharing arrangement might be since many of the key opposition leaders with whom a deal would need to be negotiated are in prison.
The Deputy Chief of Mission, Khalid Yousif Al-Jalahma, responded by saying that no country is perfect and that Bahrain is making progress. He also said that the reports of the Prime Minister taking a share of new businesses were exaggerated. Before finishing his response, Tighe Barry of Code Pink stood up and asked Al-Jalahma to justify the imprisonment of nonviolent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and his recent report of witnessing torture in prison. Finally, Medea Benjamin stood up to ask why the regime was imprisoning 6 nonviolent people for tweeting. Al-Jalahma responded by saying that being far away in Washington, D.C. he could not respond to the specific allegations but would refer us to the Interior Ministry.
Nonviolence International calls on the Bahrain government to release nonviolent activists, to end its censorship of the internet, and to pursue a political power sharing negotiation that substantially meets the democratic demands of its citizens.
NI calls on supporters to continue to send financial donations to the Bahrain Nonviolent Activist Humanitarian Fund that provides humanitarian assistance to activists and their families.
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