Thursday, April 14, 2011

US blasted for silence on Bahrain

The United States has been criticized for being silent about the recent killings of anti-government protesters in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain.

Maryam al-Khawaja of the Bahrain Center of Human Rights asked US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the US Islamic Forum about Washington's silence on the Bahraini regime's violent crackdown on protests, Press TV reported.

"I was hoping that the US would take a stronger stance on Bahrain. I've been trying to get the Department of State to impose a ban on the sale of arms to [P]GCC [Persian Gulf Cooperation Council] countries," Maryam told Clinton in Washington on Wednesday.

"[P]GCC countries have been using these arms against peaceful civilians," she added.

The Bahraini rights activist also expressed concern over the destiny of her family members who have been detained recently.

"My father and two brothers-in-law and my uncle have all gone missing. We don't know where they are and it has been several days. We are afraid for their lives… already four people have died and their bodies have showed up with torture marks on them. And I think it's really necessary for the US government to make a strong statement about what's going on in Bahrain because these are US allies at the end of the day," she explained.

The arrested family members of Maryam were reportedly beaten before being taken away by masked men believed to work for the Bahraini regime.

Clinton, however, did not condemn Manama's brutal clampdown on opposition protesters and activists in her speech.

Meanwhile, Human Rights First has criticized the US secretary of state for failing to condemn the rights abuses and the killings of several activists in Bahrain, saying the US has been shamefully muted in its response to developments in the country.

People in Bahrain have been protesting since February 14, demanding an end to the rule of the al-Khalifa dynasty.

Demonstrators maintain that they will hold their ground until their demands for freedom, constitutional monarchy as well as a proportional voice in the government are met.

Bahraini forces have cracked down on the anti-regime protesters with the help of Saudi, the UAE and Kuwaiti troops. Many people have gone missing since the beginning of the revolution.



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