Bahrain Live Blog
Bahrain - May 21, 2012 - 20:25
The Associated Press reports:
Bahraini officials defended the Gulf kingdom's record before the UN's top human rights body Monday by insisting that the government has moved to investigate alleged abuses and compensate victims during the 15-month uprising by majority Shias against the ruling Sunni monarchy.
The UN Human Rights Council's review of Bahrain's human rights record, part of a routine assessment that all 193 UN member nations undergo every four years, comes at a particularly sensitive time following widespread protests and the monarchy's crackdown on dissent.
Al Jazeera sought a response from Fahad AlBinali of the Bahrain Information Affairs Authority. However, the Skype connection on which we contacted AlBinali was poor so the interview was halted. AlBinali later sent a statement to us via e-mail:
The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed in Bahrain constitutionally and by international obligations. No one is arrested for merely protesting. It is important to draw a distinction between protests/demonstrations and riots and not adopt a very loose definition of protests. Protests, that adhere to the law and follow proper procedure, are a regular occurrence as evidenced by the frequently occurring protest that take place here in Bahrain.
Mr Khaleel Marzoug's claim that they are not free to protest or express their opinion is difficult to reconcile with the fact that his political society and others' almost regular weekly protest that draw thousands. However, the government distinguishes protests/demonstrations and riots where acts of vandalism, violence and disruption are often committed. It is unfortunate that the line between that two is often blurred leading to inaccurate misconceptions. It must be stated that even the most liberal of democracies draw the line at intentional acts of disruption, violent assault at police officers, and Molotov cocktails.'