Activism

US citizens arrested in Bahrain supporting peaceful protest near one-year anniversary of uprising

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The following press release was just sent out by WitnessBahrain.org:

American Citizens Arrested in Bahrain during Peaceful Protest
Huwaida Arraf & Radhika Sainath in Police Custody

For immediate release

Febraury 11, 2011

(Manama) – US Citizens Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath were arrested by Bahraini security forces in Manama on Saturday during a peaceful protest in near the Standard Chartered Bank downtown. Protesters had marched into the city center to reestablish a presence of nonviolent, peaceful protest leading up to the 1-year anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain.

Huwaida and Radhika were in Bahrain as part of an international solidarity effort aimed at providing an international civilian presence to report and monitor the situation on the ground. Leading up to February 14, Bahraini authorities had prevented journalists, human rights observers and other internationals from entering the country, leading many to fear a brutal crackdown. The two women are part of the Witness Bahrain initiative ( http://www.witnessbahrain.org ), which arrived in Bahrain in response to a call by Bahraini democracy activists for international observers.

Just yesterday, top US human rights envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, called on the Bahraini authorities to respect the rights of Bahrainis to peaceful protest and to refrain from using excessive force. Huwaida was dragged away by numerous security forces after sitting on the ground, and it is widely reported that detainees have suffered physical abuse while on the way to and at police stations.

Both women were part of a peaceful protest marching near the Pearl Roundabout – site of last year’s peaceful round-the-clock protest in Bahrain, modeled after Egypt’s Tahrir Square – when they were attacked. Both are human rights lawyers, and both have experience as human rights activists in Palestine. Additionally, both were part of the National Lawyer’s Guild delegation to Gaza following Operation Cast Lead to investigate possible war crimes and illegal use of American weaponry on a civilian population.

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Sure don’t hear anything about this in the US MSM. 0 about Bahrain. 0 about Saudi Arabia.

Let’s compare the official US position about their arrests with those Americans arrested by the Egyptians.

Huwaida Arraf and Radhika’s brutal arrest and detention in Bahrain is alarming to say the least. I happen to know Huwaida and she is a remarkable person: so brave, brilliant, and fearless, but she and Radhika have been arrested in a place where medical doctors are jailed for treating the… Read more »

Radhika has posted Off the Coast of Gaza on MW. Huwaida was arrested in Freedom Riders and was roughed up by the IDF in the the flotilla to Gaza that included the Mavi Marmara.

The events just before the brutal arrest were captured on video here.