On the Ground International Solidarity with Bahrain's Revolution

Day and night in a Bahraini jail (Part II)

By Radhika Sainath

See original post and photographs at Mondoweiss.

You can read the first part of Sainath’s account from Bahrain here.

Posters read Down with King Hamad in Arabic, Down Down Hamad in English (Photo: Flo Razowsky)

Posters read Down with King Hamad in Arabic, Down Down Hamad in English (Photo: Flo Razowsky)

In the alleys of Manama, a Bahraini police commander yelled at me that I had been disrespectful, as the other policemen dragged the young man away. The woman who had tried to protect him with her arms and her body sobbed. The youth was certain to be beaten, likely tortured. She thanked me, though I felt I had failed.

Radhika Sainath

I hurried back through narrow alleys, past sand-colored homes and onto the main road, the sounds of percussion grenades guiding me to the site where the Bahraini democracy activists had since re-gathered.

Everything seemed cast in a soft white light. Downtown Bahrain could be any city, small stores lined the broad main road, some open, some with ridged metal shutters pulled down over the glass. Dozens of Indians, presumably workers or small businessmen, stood outside these stores watching the police, and a certain slender wavy-haired Palestinian-American walked away from police officers calling after her.

I kept my head down and my eyes affixed to the iPad, walking down the sidewalk, then turning left between two parked vans. I avoided eye contact with Huwaida Arraf as she passed me, walking quickly away from the police officers pursuing her.

I walked further down the street, to what I believed was a safe distance away, and tweeted a photo of the police surrounding Huwaida.  I could not see them, there were a dozen of them, maybe more. A number of Bahraini women had surrounded her and were trying to help. (more…)


Day and Night in a Bahraini Jail – Part One

By Radhika Sainath

Radhika Sainath in Gaza City, December 2011

Radhika Sainath in Gaza City, December 2011

When I graduated from law school, I never imagined that a few years later I would be defending myself in the small Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain – known for its repressive security apparatus and the torture of political prisoners – after being teargassed, arrested, jailed, hit on the head, handcuffed, forced into a stress position and deported.

And I consider myself lucky.

I got up Saturday morning, exhausted but excited. Today would be the first of a series of ongoing attempts by Bahraini democracy activists to retake Pearl Roundabout, Bahrain’s Tahrir Square. The regime had killed dozens, demolished the Pearl monument and turned the site into a closed military zone last year after thousands had camped out there requesting freedom, democracy and equal rights. (more…)


Radhika Sainath describes arrest and deportation from Bahrain

Radhika Sainath was arrested and deported from Bahrain while acting as a human rights observer with the Witness Bahrain initiative. Radhika is a human rights attorney with experience in conflict zones. She was interviewed by Al Jazeera English.


Democracy Now!: U.S.-Backed Bahraini Forces Arrest and Deport Two American Peace Activists Acting as Human Rights Observers

By Democracy Now!

On Saturday, Bahrain arrested and deported two U.S. human rights lawyers, Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath, for their role in recent protests. They were deported Sunday and returned to New York last night. Both Arraf and Sainath are human rights lawyers and members of the Witness Bahrain initiative, which places international observers in the country in the hopes of preventing violence by security forces. Their arrest comes just ahead of the one-year anniversary of the popular uprising against the U.S.-backed monarchy. In the past year, Bahraini security forces have killed dozens of demonstrators, and hundreds more have been arrested or fired from their jobs. “[We] also were getting reports of journalists and human rights organization representatives being denied entry into the country in the lead-up to the first anniversary of the Bahrain revolution. And this caused great alarm, that the government was planning to escalate its oppression of the people,” says Huwaida Arraf.


US citizens deported from Bahrain available for interview

Contact Witness Bahrain to schedule an interview.

For Immediate Release

On Saturday, February 11, Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath were arrested during a peaceful, pro-democracy demonstration in Bahrain. They were subsequently deported on February 12th in the morning to London. The Bahraini authorities kept their hands handcuffed behind their backs for the duration of the flight. They arrived in New York on Sunday night and are available for interview.

Human rights attorney Huwaida Arraf, stated ” What we went through is nothing compared to what Bahraini democracy protesters face. I hope that we can use our experience to shed light on the U.S.-backed Bahraini regime’s brutal repression of its people taking to the streets for freedom, human rights and democracy.”

Civil rights attorney Radhika Sainath stated, “We were deliberately targeted because the Bahraini regime does not want international observers to government repression of democracy protesters. I hope the US government will not stay silent about this and the ongoing brutal repression of nonviolent protesters in Bahrain.” (more…)


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