Kate Allen: A warped response to calls for democracy

Comment

Share
Related Topics

Ayat al-Gormezi is far from being the only detainee in Bahrain who may have been tortured before going on trial. Hundreds have been arrested and many, like Ayat, were held incommunicado (always a deeply worrying sign).

Many report unprovoked assaults at the time of their arrest, often – in a clear pattern – by groups of masked police and security forces who smashed down doors in the early hours.

Amnesty International has had numerous reports where detainees allege torture, often while at undisclosed locations. Many of a group of 48 medical staff from Salmaniya Medical Complex in Manama seem to have been horribly abused.

Relatives of the medics – who are on trial apparently as a punishment for treating wounded protesters – have told Amnesty how security officials at Bahrain's Criminal Investigations Directorate made them stand for long periods, deprived them of sleep, beat them with hoses and nailed boards, and made them sign "confessions" while blindfolded.

A 31-year-old man from a Shia village told what happened at a police station. "They put me in the middle of a room, blindfolded, and several men – I don't know how many – beat me and applied electric shocks on both legs," he said. "It hurt so much that after they applied the first shock I fell on the floor because I could not feel my legs. Once on the floor, they beat me and kicked me on my head and body. They beat me so hard that I still cannot see from one of my eyes."

Torture may have been lethal. In April, at least four detainees died in custody in very suspicious circumstances. The mistreatment seems aimed at warning protesters.

When the medics attended court this week their heads had been shaved and many looked gaunt. The men had been forced to stand in the hot sun before entering court and all were led in blindfolded and handcuffed.

Ominously there have been no independent investigations into the alleged abuses. But if they can do this to doctors, nurses and a poet, what does it say about the authorities' warped response to the challenge of people taking to the streets just to demand change?

Kate Allen is the director of Amnesty International UK

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The law is too hard on sexting teenagers

Memphis Barker
 

Obama must speak out – Americans are worried no one is listening to them

David Usborne
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?

Some couples are allowed emergency hospital weddings, others are denied the right. Kate Hilpern reports on the growing case for a compassionate cutting of the red tape
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit