Bahraini activists have no option but exile: Report

Bahraini activists have no option but exile: Report
Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:35:51

Bahraini activists who have not been locked up or tortured for opposing the ruling monarchy are finding themselves with no option but exile.

Thirty-one-year-old Yousif al-Muhafda is the latest activist to join the growing list of asylum seekers to flee Bahrain – ruled by the Al Khalifa family since their 1783 invasion of the Persian Gulf archipelago brought the tribesmen to power, al-Akhbar reported on Wednesday.

Two weeks ago Muhafda wrote a letter from Europe announcing he would not be returning home after receiving a barrage of death threats, following the launch of a campaign that publicly named officials involved in the torture and killing of prisoners.

“The son of the king can go on TV and threaten protesters, and officials can send death threats under their real names and photos, and they feel confident that they won’t be held to account.”

The most alarming threat came from Adel Fleifel – a former security official notorious for corruption and torture – who, in thinly veiled terms, called for the father of two activists to be killed in a tweet earlier this month.

"This is what we mean when we talk about the culture of impunity in Bahrain," Muhafda told al-Akhbar.

For almost three years Muhafda traversed from village to village, interviewing people who had been harassed, beaten, shot, and had their homes raided and ransacked by regime forces. With mounting evidence in hand, he shared an endless stream of photographs, videos, and reports implicating the kingdom’s ruling family in violations of human rights to his nearly 100,000 followers on Twitter.

Since the 2011 revolt he has been arrested seven times, and collectively spent about eight weeks in prison for documenting violations.

International rights groups, including Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights and others, have come to rely on Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) for that kind of intrepid investigative work.


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