Socialist Worker

Exclusive: Bahrainian government targets family members of pro-democracy campaigners in Britain

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2244

At 2.20 yesterday morning, Bahraini and Saudi forces raided 20-year old Sayed Mahmood Shuber’s home in Jidali in Bahrain. They pointed guns at the heads of his family and abducted him. They beat him. He has now disappeared.

The abduction seems to be part of a concerted effort to punish Bahrainis in Britain and their families for expressing solidarity with the revolts against the country’s regime.

Yasser, Sayed’s uncle, is a British citizen living in Bolton. His nephew’s arrest follows his taking part in protests in support of the democracy movement in Bahrain. Socialist Worker has knowledge of a number of other examples of the Bahrainian government trying to intimidate its citizens in Britain for supporting the revolution.

Yasser is originally from Bahrain. His family telephoned him to tell him about their ordeal.

Yasser told Socialist Worker, “Seven jeeps and two civilian cars pulled up outside the house. They raided the house, started shouting and pushing the family around.

“Some of them were in blue uniforms–the uniforms of special branch. Others were in civilian clothes and wore balaclavas so that only their eyes were showing.

“My nephew Sayed was beaten in front of his family very badly. The men then pointed a gun at him. My sister, Sayed’s mother, says she began screaming, ‘Don't shoot my son’.

“The men then pointed a gun at her, telling her to shut up or they’d kill them both. From the accents my sister could tell that some were Saudi and some Bahraini.”

The men took Sayed’s laptop and mobile phone. They brought with them some papers and documents into the house and went into his room. They came out with papers and documents and took them away.

Yasser went on, “They told my sister they were taking her son, but that she could go to the police station in Isa Town at 8am to collect him.

“She was terrified and confused, but went. She waited for one hour before anyone would see her. When they eventually did, she gave her son’s name to the guards.

“Then came the reply. They said they had no record of anyone of that name and had no idea where her son was.”

This can be many people’s worst fear – people are “disappeared” after encountering Bahraini forces and turn up dead in hospitals with horrific injuries. It is left to the hospital to call the family of the dead.

Yasser told Socialist Worker, “My dad has been arrested before and held for seven days. They stopped giving him his medication and told him it was because of my activities in Britain.

“The Bahraini authorities monitor people in Britain. Maybe they saw me on demonstrations in Manchester in support of the democracy movement. Now my nephew is being punished.

“I call for justice and democracy and freedom for the people of Bahrain. But you ask for freedom on Bahrain and this is what you get.”

Saudi and United Arab Emirates troops are currently occupying Bahrain. The US and Britain are ignoring the brutality of the forces. They continue to back the Bahraini regime.

“The British and US governments are plain hypocrites,” Yasser said. “The US has marines patrolling the Saudi boarder with Bahrain. We don’t want any military in Bahrain, we want the US bases gone.

“For 100 years the US has used Bahrain to attack Japan, Vietnam, and to supposedly free Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We don't get anything from this apart from more repression by our own government. The Bahraini government buys arms from the US to use against the people. The US marines train the army and special forces in Bahrain. Those people are the ones killing the protesters now.

“The people of Bahrain are strong and united, and can resolve their own issues. We do not want any foreign intervention. Our real friends in Britain and the US are the people who marched against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Mark Krantz from Manchester Stop the War Coalition told Socialist Worker, “I stood with Yasser in Manchester against the king of Bahrain while people were being shot for demanding constitutional reform and human rights.

“We need assurances from the British government that solidarity protests by people in Britain will not lead to their families being persecuted.

“We will not be intimidated. We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters across the Middle East, and across the world, who are demanding justice.”

Call the Bahraini embassy and demand justice for Sayed Mahmood Shuber. His ID number is 910305820


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Sat 26 Mar 2011, 07:51 GMT
Issue No. 2244
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