Bahrain Regime under Pressure Turns to Executions

 Bahrain Blood 08730

During the middle of the night on January 15 2017, the Bahrain regime executed three political activists by firing squad for the apparent killing of three police officers back in 2014, one of the activists was just 21 years old. The news of their execution led to further massive street protests across the island and resentment from the population of Bahrain which coincides with various reports from human rights groups exposing that the Bahrain regimes security apparatus obtained forced confessions from the 3 activists under torture techniques such as sleep depravity, electrocution, beatings and sexual assault. [1]

Fears have once again been raised with concern that the King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, will approve the executions of Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa, who also face the death penalty for the February 2014 bombing that resulted in the death of security forces. Human Rights Watch analysis of their trial and appeal judgments found that their convictions were based almost exclusively on their confessions, which both men retracted. [2] The treatment of prisoners in Bahrain has led many to fear that peaceful activists may be forced to confess to crimes they did not commit under torture, there confession can, and has already, led to death sentences.

The January executions of Abbas al-Samea, 27, Ali al-Singace, 21, and Sami Mushaima 42, [3] are the only executions the Bahrain regime has carried out since 2010. With Bahrain’s regime coming under more pressure from its constant internal civil unrest, the regime may consider executions as a tactic to try and crush the popular peoples revolution.

The Khalifa Kingdom looks its ideological & economic superior, Saudi Arabia, for leadership. Equally the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has faced similar problems from its own dissident population, mostly located in the oil rich eastern provinces. Similarly, the Saudi King ordered a brutal crackdown, imprisonment and torture of protestors within its borders. A senior Saudi Shi’i religious leader and freedom activist, Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, was imprisoned, tortured and finally executed by the Saudi regime on 2nd January 2016 allegedly “after being convicted of terrorism offences”. [4] The killing of Sheikh Nimr caused massive outrage across the Shi’i world and Nimr has since become a recognizable figure of martyrdom among a large religious community, scattered across the Middle East and Asia, which values martyrdom incredibly highly. Saudi Arabia knew the execution would draw a massive response, yet it continued; now it is likely that Saudi Arabia is encouraging the King Khalifa of Bahrain to follow a similar policy against notable Shi’i activists, regardless of condemnation.
The Background

Since 2011, the overwhelming majority of the people of Bahrain took to the streets to demand political reform. The regime, backed by Saudi Arabia, then launched a crackdown on the peaceful opposition that included conducting thousands of arrests and systematic torture. [5] Since the brutal crackdown the opposition has demanded regime change and fair political representation for the population under a new genuine democracy.

Oppression of the population is nothing new for Bahrain, however, these highly questionable recent executions signal a new turning point in the current standoff between the peaceful opposition of the majority and the authoritarian minority regime which has been looking for new ways to extinguish the escalating opposition pressure.

On 20 June 2016, a week after the government of Bahrain suspended the leading Shia opposition group al-Wefaq, [6] Ayatollah Isa Ahmed Qassim, a senior Shia Muslim scholar and spiritual leader was stripped of his Bahraini citizenship which caused massive public outcry from the overwhelming Shia Muslim majority population. [7] The removal of Al-Wefaq, the arrest and imprisonment of leading political figures and freedom activists such as Sheikh Ali Salman [8] & Nabeel Rajab [9], along with the removal of Ayatollah Qassim’s citizenship are all pre-planned attempts by an increasingly desperate King to hold onto absolute power of the Bahraini people which see him as no more than an evil oppressive tyrant.

Britain’s role

The UK is directly involved in what happens in Bahrain due to a unique relationship between the two Kingdoms which goes back to the days of the British Empire. Nowadays the UK, in a desperate attempt to remain relevant in the Persian Gulf region, is looking to mark its military presence as well as strengthen political relations with the Persian Gulf Arab Kingdoms such as Saudi Arabia & Bahrain. The US already uses Bahrain as a base of operations for the US Navy in the Persian Gulf; the UK is currently building a navy base of its own on the island [10] which is where a major moral problem lies. As a British journalist, it is deeply concerning for me to witness my own government doing so little to help the situation in Bahrain. We have massive leverage over this country and the evidence of human rights violations being committed by the regime is both overwhelming and grossly disturbing. Our government refuses to acknowledge the depth of criminality being committed and it is very rare for any British politician or mainstream media comments or coverage on the situation.

I remember very well the comments made by our dear old ex-prime minister, David Cameron, back in 2011 not long after the Arab spring first began to spread across the Muslim world.

“The Arab spring is a massive opportunity to spread peace, prosperity, democracy, and security.” (David Cameron speaking at the UN.) [11]

The people of Bahrain have been demanding for reforms, fair political representation and for real democracy but have been met with brutal oppression, torture and murder while the great democracies of the west ignore the peaceful struggle of the Bahraini people.

If our government, led by Theresa May and Boris Johnson, wants to keep up its pretend game of ‘Persian Gulf power-brokers’, it must be prepared to stand up for the principles that a true western democracy stands for and come to the aid of any reformist revolution calling for democracy and freedom. Where better to start than Bahrain, however, one thing I have learned from covering the Middle East, democracy is not a high priority for the true holders of power in this oil rich part of the world.


[1] ADAM SCHRECK, ASSOCIATED PRESS (Jan 15, 2017, 2:39 ) Bahrain Executes 3 Over Police Bombing, Triggering Protests, Available at:

[2] Human Rights Watch (JANUARY 23, 2017 12:00AM EST) Bahrain: 2 Face Execution Despite Torture Allegations, Available at:

[3] Marc Jones (January 19, 2017 3.01pm GMT) A triple execution in Bahrain has provoked national outrage – and international silence, Available at:

[4] BBC News (2 January 2016) Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr: Saudi Arabia executes top Shia cleric, Available at:

[5] Law, Bill (6 April 2011). “Police Brutality Turns Bahrain Into ‘Island of Fear'”Crossing Continents (via BBC News). Retrieved 15 April 2011.

[6] Al Jazeera (17 JULY 2016) Bahrain dissolves main Shia opposition Al-Wefaq party, Available at:

[7] BBC News (20 June 2016) Bahrain revokes top Shia cleric Isa Qassim’s citizenship, Available at:

[8] BBC News (16 June 2015) Bahrain opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman jailed, Available at:

[9] Amnesty International (23 January 2017, 17:31) Bahrain: Postponement of Nabeel Rajab’s trial for sixth time is blatant harassmen, Available at:

[10] Jamie Merrill (Sunday 1 November 2015) Royal Navy base construction begins in Bahrain as Britain seeks a return to ‘East of Suez’, Available at:

[11] The Guardian News Blog (Thursday 22 September 2011) Leaders address the UN general assembly, Available at:

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