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Bahrain rejects ‘biased’ US claims as ludicrous

Manama, May 12, 2014

Racially-charged language, inaccurate figures and sweeping, unverified allegations weaken a US government report on Bahrain's human rights record, according to the Interior Ministry.

In a scathing rebuke to the US State Department's Bahrain Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2013, which was published earlier this year, the ministry has issued an official response that slams the report's findings - branding them "ludicrous" and as inflaming tensions rather than informing people, reported the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

The 49-page US report was unveiled in February and includes a raft of accusations about the human rights situation in Bahrain.

Baseless

Many of the allegations are based upon unproven facts from unofficial sources and some are even copied directly from previous years' reports, the Interior Ministry said.

The GDN reported, in March, on the outrage and exasperation of activists and legislators, who called into question the credibility and accuracy of the US report.

Minister of State for Information Affairs and official government spokesperson Sameera Rajab said at the time that any report that focuses on negatives and exaggerates them to serve an interest cannot be respected.

In its response, which highlights no less than 42 instances where the US report was factually inaccurate, the Interior Ministry called on the US government to provide "factual information to back up these allegations."

Several times in the US report, Bahraini police officers are described as nationals of other countries - a practice the ministry calls "incomprehensible".

"Would the US Department of State refer to a Honduran national working for the Houston Police Department, who sacrifices his life while on-duty as a Honduran police officer," the response reads.

"With a language such as this, the US Department of State is aiding and abetting violent opposition groups in their efforts to dehumanise Bahraini police officers."

Other examples of US hypocrisy are highlighted by the ministry's response, including an assertion in the State Department report that "no statistics were available on the prevalence of death in prisons, although there were reports that prisoners died as a result of inadequate medical care."

"The inference here is that there is a prevalence of death in Bahraini detention centres, but that statistics were unavailable," the ministry's response reads.

"In 2013, three individuals died while in detention in Bahrain, when, on average, there were approximately 2,000 prisoners and detainees. Therefore, the percentage of detainees who died is 0.15 per cent.

Truth

"A 2009 US Department of Justice report states that the percentage of prisoners who died in local jails in the US was 0.12 per cent while the percentage that died in state prisons was 0.25 per cent."

The ministry further points out that much of the US report's information appears to come from unreliable sources such as Twitter.

"While there are daily rumours on social media of arbitrary arrests, the fact is that arrests are made as a result of the commission of a criminal act or acts," the ministry said.

"The Public Prosecutor then reviews each case. The accused subsequently goes before the court where guilt or innocence is determined. This is the same process that is used in the US."

Meanwhile, the US report's description of the arrest of certain so-called activists as "arbitrary" was also criticised.

"While the Department of State may romanticise bomb-makers on the run from the law by calling them 'activists,' the government of Bahrain considered them to be fugitives from justice," the ministry said. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Human rights | US report | Country report |

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