Thursday, February 16, 2012

Six US Activists Arrested in Bahrain While Monitoring Military Crackdown

Six US Activists Arrested in Bahrain While Monitoring Military Crackdown


by Allison Deger



February 15, 2012


Yesterday, six international activists where arrested in

Bahrain while attempting to monitor the government crackdown

on protesters commemorating the one-year anniversary of

uprisings.  The arrest comes a few days after two activists

from the same group of internationals were deported from



Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath sent out the following press release:


    Six US citizens arrested in Bahrain, to be deported


    For Immediate Release


    (Manama) - Six US Citizens were arrested by Bahraini

    security forces in Manama on Tuesday during a peaceful

    protest on the way to the Pearl Roundabout. Protesters

    had marched into the city center to reestablish a

    presence of nonviolent, peaceful protest on the one year

    anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising in Bahrain.


    The international observers were in Bahrain as part of

    Witness Bahrain, an effort aimed at providing civilian

    presence to report and monitor the situation on the

    ground ( Leading up to February

    14, the one year anniversary of pro-democracy protests,

    Bahraini authorities had prevented journalists, human

    rights observers and other internationals from entering

    the country, leading many to fear a brutal crackdown.


    Just yesterday, Secretary of State spokesperson Victoria

    Nuland stated that the US wanted to see the "security

    forces exercise restraint and operate within the rule of

    law and international judicial standards." But she

    failed to condemn the violent arrests of US

    international observers, the detainment of numerous

    Bahraini pro-democracy activists (including President of

    the Bahraini Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab) and

    the ongoing use of overwhelming amounts of tear gas.


    The six US citizens were part of a peaceful protest

    marching towards the Pearl Roundabout - site of last

    year's peaceful round-the-clock protest in Bahrain,

    modeled after Egypt's Tahrir Square - when they were

    attacked. Bahraini authorities appear to have targeted

    the Witness Bahrain observers, as one volunteer was told

    that she was detained for reporting on the February 11th

    Manama protest.


    Kate Rafael works at a San Francisco law firm and is a

    radio journalist, blogger and political activist from

    Oakland, California.


    Flo Razowsky is photographer and community organizer

    based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a Jewish anti-

    Zionist activist with Witness Bahrain and several

    Palestine solidarity organizations.


    Linda Sartor teaches graduate school, and is a community

    activists based out of Northern California. She has been

    a human rights activist in Palestine, Sri Lanka, Iran,

    Afghanistan and Bahrain.


    Paki Wieland is a retired social worker/family therapist

    educator in the Department of Applied Psychology,

    Antioch University, Keene, New Hampshire. Since the

    1960s, she's also been a dedicated anti-war and civil

    rights activist.


    Mike Lopercio is a restaurant owner from Arizona and has

    visited Iraq with a Military Families delegation.


    Brian Terrell lives and works at Strangers and Guests

    Farm in Maloy, Iowa. He is a long time peace activist

    and a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.


    The six observers remain in Bahraini custory in the Naem

    Police Station in Manama. This group of internationals

    is the second to be deported by the Bahraini government.

    Attorneys Huwaida Arraf and Radhika Sainath were

    deported on Saturday, February 11th. The two were

    handcuffed for the duration of their flight from Bahrain to London.


Raw video footage of activist Huwaida Arraf facing arrest in Bahrain on February 11, 2012.


Supporting the arrestees, the International Jewish Anti-

Zionist Network additionally issued an action alert, calling

on the Bahrain government to return the activists and not

handcuff them during the flight:


    REQUESTS: Return delegates stuff AND do NOT handcuff

    them on long journey home




    1. Call embassy in Bahrain and ask for an off-duty

    consular to go down to where the delegates are being

    held and make these demands: 011 973 1724 2700


    2. Email embassy in Bahrain and ask for the same:


    3. Call the US State Department Bureau of Consular

    Services, Citizen's Services (888) 407-4747. Try to

    speak to Trish Cyper-Burley. If she is not available

    then ask to speak with someone who is. - let them know

    that you are relying on the embassy to do their job and

    protect the rights of their citizens who are there as

    human rights activists





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