According to press reports, five people were killed and 230 injured when police attacked and cleared the protest camp without warning. Furthermore, live ammunition was used against protesters outside the Salmaniya Hospital and elsewhere in Manama on Friday, causing many injuries. I wish to register my revulsion at the clearly disproportionate level of violence used against unarmed demonstrators.
Amnesty International has received reports that ambulances were prevented from entering the area to treat the wounded, and that paramedics from Salmaniya Hospital were beaten by police. There is also photographic and video evidence of injuries to paramedics. Furthermore, families of many demonstrators have been unable to find their loved ones in hospitals and believe they have been arrested.
On Wednesday H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs gave a statement (reproduced on your embassy website) noting that his government had quickly taken action against the alleged perpetrators of two earlier killings by the police and that the incidents would be fully investigated. In that spirit, I call on the government of Bahrain and His Majesty the King to institute an independent investigation of the deaths and injuries caused on Thursday and Friday and suspend or sack those responsible for ordering such excessive use of force. The use of excessive force against peaceful protesters must end immediately.
I also call for the immediate release any people detained at Pearl Roundabout and at other demonstrations, since they were simply exercising their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful protest. All these rights are guaranteed by law and by the Constitution of Bahrain, as well as by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which Bahrain acceded in 2006). Any demonstrators accused of criminal offences should be given access to a lawyer of their choice and their families should be informed of their whereabouts.
I request that you pass on my concerns to His Majesty the King, Sheikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and the Minister of Interior, Sheikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah bin Ahmad Al Khalifa.
I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.
Please join me in writing to the Bahraini Ambassador to protest against the shocking violence used by the security forces against demonstrators.
His Excellency Sheikh Khalifa Bin Ali Al-Khalifa is Bahrain’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway and Sweden. If you live in any of these countries please write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or using the embassy’s web contact form, or by post:
30 Belgrave Square
You can also e-mail via Amnesty International UK, who have a ready-drafted e-mail for you. You are free to use this post as a template as well.
The King of Bahrain can be faxed at this address:
His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Office of H.M. the King
KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN
Fax: (+973) 1 766 4587
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