The King of Bahrain has announced that the state of emergency imposed in March will end by the start of June.
But after three months of anti-government protests, in which at least 31 people have been killed, many see this as an attempt to portray the country as returning to “normal”.
Bahrain relies heavily on foreign investment. The ruling class hopes this declaration will reassure banks, governments and foreign investors.
But in reality, “business as usual” means torture, arrests and executions.
And a day before this latest announcement the government issued fresh arrest warrants for 21 opposition activists. Seven are based in Britain.
One of the seven, Dr Said Al-Shihabi, said, “They killed innocent people before the state of emergency and they will kill people after.
“Bahrain wants to prove that it is a modern state, but any country that needs emergency law is not a legitimate one.”
Five British-based Bahrainis with experiences of torture are trying to prosecute their government for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. They hope to know soon if their case has been accepted.
They will not be able to return home under the current regime. Yasser, who lives in Manchester, said, “We know the risks, but we can’t be silent any more.”
Bahraini education minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi travelled to Britain this week.
He and other government officials met academics at the University of London to discuss building stronger ties.
Al Nuaimi has signed letters ordering Bahraini students studying in Britain to return home after attending solidarity protests. Some have disappeared since returning.
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