Global press to attend unrest report launch
Manama, November 21, 2011
More than 60 foreign journalists will fly into Bahrain this week to cover the launch of a landmark report into unrest since February.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) will publish the findings of its investigations on Wednesday.
Some of the world's biggest media organisations will cover the much-anticipated event, an Information Affairs Authority (IAA) representative told our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News yesterday.
"The media requests submitted to the IAA were considered and there are several international media outlets granted visas to attend the report launch," she said. The official added that the IAA was committed to increasing accessibility to journalists."We are expecting more than 60 journalists attending the launch from international media outlets such as Al Jazeera English, CNN, BBC, Reuters, AP (Associated Press), Al Arabiya, LBC, Le Monde and Russia Al Youm."
The Bahrain Journalists Association will host a reception tomorrow for foreign journalists in town for the launch at the Sheraton Hotel, during which visiting journalists will be presented with fact files and an agenda for the launch.
Local and international human rights groups, non-governmental organisations, political societies and public figures are set to attend the launch, which is expected to take place at Al Safriya Palace at 3pm.
BICI head Professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni and four other senior members of the commission will officially submit the report to His Majesty King Hamad.
The four members are former International Criminal Court president Judge Phillipe Kirsch, former UN special rapporteur on human rights Sir Nigel Rodley, international legal expert Dr Mahnoush Arsanjani and Sharia (Islamic law) specialist Dr Badria Al Awadhi.
Human rights violators are expected to be named in the document, which has taken almost five months to put together.
BICI investigators have put it together using testimony from Bahrainis and expats, as well as information from political activists, civil society organisations and other government agencies.
It was initially due to be presented to the King on October 31, but the deadline was pushed back to Wednesday to allow the BICI to continue collecting evidence and because it was still "awaiting responses" from some ministries and government agencies.
The BICI said last month that all physical documents would be destroyed, but a digital file would be held by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, for 10 years - before that too is destroyed.
The commission has received around 9,000 written complaints from both citizens and residents who claimed to be victims of human rights violations.
More than 5,000 interviews with individual complainants have also been conducted.
The commission has been asked to provide a complete narrative of the events, describe any acts of violence that occurred as well as the actors involved.
It has investigated instances of alleged police brutality and alleged violence by protesters against the police. – TradeArabia News Service