Wednesday Dec 14, 201104:52 PM GMT
'Human tragedy unfolding in Bahrain'
Tue Apr 5, 2011 1:25PM
Interview with Saeed al-Shahabi, Bahraini opposition leader from London
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Scores have been killed and thousands injured as the Bahraini government continues its violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators.

In an interview with Press TV, Bahraini opposition leader Saeed al-Shahabi shares his views on the government's violence against the people, even going so far as to capture nurses and doctors, and raiding people's homes in the early hours.

Press TV: Can we get a reading of your situation in Bahrain today, please?

Al-Shahabi Thank you very much. The situation is grim. The people are under siege, under occupation. The regime has intensified, with many injured. A total number in the month of hostilities and attacks from the regime is not less than 3,000 people because in each instance, such as the first attack on the 16th or 17th of February, at least 550 people were injured. And it happened at least four or five times. So I know that more than 2,000 people have been injured.

And, of course 21-22 people were directly killed, and a few others killed indirectly by lack of medical attention and so on.

The number of those people who have been taken into custody over the past two weeks is now between 450 and 500, including senior figures and senior scholars some of whom are more than 60 years in age. And, of course, some of them are less than 15 years of age, also. You have a vast ranging age [difference] between the people who are in custody. Nothing has been heard about these people since they've been taken into custody.

We know that the torture is so harsh that it led to, at least, one death so far which was reported only yesterday. The one who was killed, the body was handed over to his family and he was buried yesterday. Of course, the images were published on the internet and you could see, clearly, the signs of torture on his body. So, the treatment of Bahrainis has exceeded any limit of cruelty, torture, killing, attacks on checkpoints, snatching people, kidnapping.

There are at least 12 women who have been taken into custody. What is their crime? One of them was arrested just because she recited a poem at the square. Another one was arrested because she attended to victims because she's a nurse.

Two doctors were arrested because they also had attended to the injuries of victims. There are many such cases, including some male doctors who were also detained because they defied the ruling authority of the hospital and gave attention, medical care to the injured people. So, we are witnessing a human tragedy unfolding in the face of the unyielding support by the United States and Britain to this murderous regime.

Press TV: The other thing I wanted to ask you about, I'm sure you know about this, in fact, we're hearing reports about Saudi forces taking part in operations that include acts like raiding people's houses at night times to take them into custody...have you heard that and how do you react to this?

Al-Shahabi Well, I have heard that the Saudis have participated in attacks in the very first day they occupied Bahrain. On the 15th or 16th of the month they participated in the attacks on Sitra in which several people were killed.

In the past two weeks, many attacks were undertaken on people's homes, many raids were made, many people were dragged away from their beds in the early hours of the morning, at 2 o'clock-3 o'clock. And women were beaten, threatened. One woman, the wife of Salah al-Khawaja, was threatened with rape by five people. She was seriously assaulted by these soldiers who included Saudi soldiers. So, the Saudis have participated in war crimes, as well as the Al Khalifa mercenaries.

What we are witnessing is a real human tragedy unfolding by the day, and it is not ending in any sense. And this is why instead of calming the situation, these people, raiders, attackers, and occupiers are only fueling the sentiment and anger of the people. That's why we also see continuous opposition to the regime. If anything, today the situation is much more desperate than before and people are just calling for the end of this regime. Yesterday, the only newspaper that was supposed to be headed by a Shia leader was closed down and he was replaced by an Arab non-Shia man. It is, like I called, a sectarian appetite in one of the worst manifestations of haters against the natives of the country.

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