Opposition groups blamed for BICI office attack
Manama, November 25, 2011
Groups close to opposition society Al Wefaq provoked an attack on the headquarters of an independent commission investigating unrest in Bahrain, said a report.
Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) chairman Professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni yesterday described the incident in August as an attempt to pressure his team into bending to opposition demands.
"The attack was a result of close members of the opposition, in particular Al Wefaq, and families of detainees inciting hatred towards the commission," Prof Bassiouni said during an interview with Al Arabiya.
"The commission's employees felt the attack was an attempt to intimidate and pressurise them." However, he said such attempts were useless since the BICI was "completely independent".
"When the opposition finally realised that the commission was completely independent, they changed their target from the panel to attacking me personally," added Prof Bassiouni.
He also said it was wrong to describe what happened in Bahrain as a "revolution".
"The Bahraini situation didn't need the use of the term 'revolution' as the circumstances were different than other countries," he said.
"Despite the importance of deaths that occurred, it still wasn't a massive number that required people to claim the government should be revolted against.
"Bahrain isn't Rwanda, Cambodia or the former Yugoslavia," he added.
Prof Bassiouni also denied claims that the commission, which had a staff of 41, pocketed BD5 million - saying it stuck within its BD1.3 million budget. "No international inquiry commission in the world would work for less than this budget," he said.
The BICI headquarters, in Adliya, was attacked by hundreds of people who verbally and physically threatened its employees in August.
Opposition activists previously tried to discredit the commission after it acknowledged the co-operation of Bahraini authorities.-TradeArabia News Service