Six US citizens arrested in Bahrain, to be deported

Contact Witness Bahrain to schedule an interview.

For Immediate Release

[Manama, Bahrain] Six US Citizens were arrested by Bahraini security forces in Manama on Tuesday during a peaceful protest on the way to the Pearl Roundabout. Protesters had marched into the city center to reestablish a presence of nonviolent, peaceful protest on the one year anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain.

The international observers were in Bahrain as part of Witness Bahrain, an effort aimed at providing civilian presence to report and monitor the situation on the ground (witnessbahrain.org). Leading up to February 14, the one year anniversary of pro-democracy protests, Bahraini authorities had prevented journalists, human rights observers and other internationals from entering the country, leading many to fear a brutal crackdown.

Just yesterday, Secretary of State spokesperson Victoria Nuland stated that the US wanted to see the “security forces exercise restraint and operate within the rule of law and international judicial standards.” But she failed to condemn the violent arrests of US international observers, the detainment of numerous Bahraini pro-democracy activists (including President of the Bahraini Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab) and the ongoing use of overwhelming amounts of tear gas.

The six US citizens were part of a peaceful protest marching towards 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. Bahraini authorities appear to have targeted the Witness Bahrain observers, as one volunteer was told that she was detained for reporting on the February 11th Manama protest.

The six observers remain in Bahraini custory in the Naem Police Station in Manama. This group of internationals is the second to be deported by the Bahraini government. Attorneys Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath were deported on Saturday, February 11th. The two were handcuffed for the duration of their flight from Bahrain to London.

Several international observers remain on the ground.

Video

Biographies of the six arrested international observers:

Kate Rafael works at a San Francisco law firm and is a radio journalist, blogger and political activist from Oakland, California.

Flo Razowsky is photographer and community organizer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a Jewish anti-Zionist activist with Witness Bahrain and several Palestine solidarity organizations.

Linda Sartor teaches graduate school, and is a community activists based out of Northern California. She has been a human rights activist in Palestine, Sri Lanka, Iran, Afghanistan and Bahrain.

Paki Wieland is a retired social worker/family therapist educator in the Department of Applied Psychology, Antioch University, Keene, New Hampshire. Since the 1960s, she’s also been a dedicated anti-war and civil rights activist.

Mike Lopercio is a restaurant owner from Arizona and has visited Iraq with a Military Families delegation.

Brian Terrell lives and works at Strangers and Guests Farm in Maloy, Iowa. He is a long time peace activist and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

US HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS DEPORTED; RETURN TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT BAHRAIN SUPPRESSION OF DISSENT

Government Cracks Down on International Witnesses as Bahrainis Prepare for Return to Pearl Roundabout

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Adam Shapiro +353-85-236-0262 (in Ireland)
Jessica Rafael: +973-3345-1787 (in Bahrain)

February 12, 2011

Huwaida Arraf
Huwaida Arraf

(Manama) – Radhika Sainath and Huwaida Arraf, arrested yesterday while filming police repression of a peaceful demonstration in Manama, have been deported by the Bahraini government.

At approximately 10:00 am this morning, Ms Sainath and Ms Arraf were put on a plane for New York via London, less than eighteen hours after being taken into custody by Bahraini riot police. They were handcuffed behind their backs during the eight-hour flight to London. Ms. Sainath reported being punched in the head three times.

The two women, both US citizens, were arrested on Saturday during a peaceful protest near the Standard Chartered Bank in downtown Manama. Protesters had marched into the city center to assert a presence of nonviolent, peaceful protest leading up to the 1-year anniversary of the Arab Spring movement in Bahrain for equality and democracy.

Both were charged with being present at a gathering of “more than five people with intent to riot,” illegal assembly and engaging in “acts other than tourist acts” while on a tourist visa. Their cameras and computers were confiscated and searched, and police photographed personal information including credit cards and journals.

Radhika Sainath
Radhika Sainath

As the February 14 anniversary approaches, Bahraini authorities have become more aggressive about excluding journalists, human rights observers and other internationals from the country, leading many to fear a brutal crackdown. Radhika and Huwaida are a part of the Witness Bahrain initiative, which arrived in Bahrain in response to a call by Bahraini democracy activists for international observers.

Yesterday, the Bahraini government also blocked access to the website of Witness Bahrain and announced that other members of the group were being sought by police so they could be deported as well.

Radhika and Huwaida will be available for interviews in the coming week to discuss what they witnessed in Bahrain.

Witness Bahrain includes activists from Iowa, Northern California (Sonoma County), San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Minneapolis, Western Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia.

American citizens arrested in Bahrain during peaceful protest

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

For Immediate Release

(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 (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.

Take action to free National Lawyers Guild members detained in Bahrain!
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