Socialist Worker

Exclusive: Bahraini students hounded in Britain

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2245

Bahraini students who study in Britain have had their scholarships and financial support revoked by their government.

They are accused of plotting to bring down the Bahraini regime because they have protested here.

It is part of a systematic attack on Bahraini citizens who support the protests for democracy.

Ahmed and Rashid are students in Britain whose scholarships were terminated by the Bahraini ministry of education.

Ahmed told Socialist Worker, “The ministry contacted my family back home to say that the government has taken my scholarship away because I took part in a protest.

“I stand in solidarity with the Bahrani people calling for freedom and justice.

Allowance

“The scholarship pays our fees and a monthly allowance. If they stop the money I won’t be able to carry on. And I can’t go back to Bahrain—if I do, there are concerns I’ll be arrested.

“This has put a lot of pressure on my family. They cannot afford to support me.”

Ahmed said that he knows of at least seven students whose funding was cut after they attended a protest in Manchester.

Rashid also spoke to Socialist Worker. He said, “Three days after I went on a protest the education minister called my mother. Now they have cancelled everything.

“The government paid our fees until the end of this academic year. After that we’re on our own. But they’re stopping our monthly allowance now.

“I only have £40 left. Next month we cannot pay our bills. The banks in Bahrain are closed so no one can send us money.

“We cannot go back home either. Three women had their scholarships stopped. When they went back they were arrested and have disappeared.

“My future is uncertain. My family are scared and I don’t know what to do.”

The Saudi army has occupied the country with agreement from the US and Bahraini governments. They are butchering democracy protesters. Over 30 people have died and more that 1,000 have disappeared since the protests started in February.

The Bahraini government wants to crush dissent—but the students remain defiant. “They want to intimidate us,” Ahmed said. “But we won’t be scared.”

Rashid went on, “Bahraini and Saudi forces are attacking peaceful protesters with tanks and shotguns while the people fight back with their bare hands.

“Some of my friends and family have died in the protests. One friend was walking to work when he was arrested, accused of being a protester and killed.

“What kind of people are they? The army is attacking doctors who have helped the wounded protesters. I’m worried about my country, my family and friends and my future.

“Britain and the US have been silent on the killings—they just want Bahrain’s oil. They don’t care about us, only money.”

Names have been changed to protect the identities of the students. Sign the petition to support the people of Bahrain against repression http://petitions24.com/supporting_people_in_bahrain


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News
Tue 29 Mar 2011, 18:01 BST
Issue No. 2245
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