Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have beaten to death a 16-year-old boy as anti-regime demonstrations continue across the Persian Gulf country.
The teenager, identified as Husam al-Haddad, was killed when regime forces launched an attack on a peaceful demonstration on Friday night.
Bahrain’s Interior Ministry confirmed Haddad’s death.
Anti-regime demonstrations in Bahrain continue despite the heavy-handed crackdown by the security forces.
Meanwhile, a Bahraini court has sentenced human rights activist Nabeel Rajab to “three years in jail over three cases of taking part in unauthorized protests.”
Press TV has conducted an interview with Hisham Jaber, director of the Center for Middle East Studies, to further discuss the issue. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Let’s jump right in. Do you think that actions of this sort, the beating to death of a teenager on Friday night by the Saudi-backed Bahraini forces finally and enduringly deserves some level of international condemnation?
First of all it is not the first time that people in Bahrain were killed by the authorities. People in Bahrain, what is going on in Bahrain, there are two sides-- on one side peaceful people who make peaceful demonstrations asking for equality, for democracy, for human rights, on the other hand authorities, very severe authorities using the force and violence against those protesters.
It is not the first time. You are asking about if the international community will protest or will move, I do not think so because it is not the first time what happened.
Yesterday or two days [ago] Mr. Nabeel Rajab was judged and condemned by the court three years in the jail, why? Because he was pushing the people for peaceful demonstrations on his facebook, asked the Prime Minister to resign.
I do not think this is a crime in anywhere in the world and especially in Bahrain because the constitution in Bahrain protects the expression of freedom. This is according to their constitution. At least many observers were expecting that the authority in Bahrain must respect its own constitution.
Nabeel Rajab for example he has a page in the Twitter, had everyday 140,000 visitors, means 25 percent of the people in Bahrain and because he was supposed to go next month to Geneva where is a conference or a meeting will be held for Bahrain, I think they are using all means to disturb that international survey for Bahrain.
And I was not surprised that the young guy was killed. I think the international community and United States also who would ask for human rights is busy now, is watching another side, is busy by incursion, the violence in Syria. But at the end of the day I do not think it will stay like this because people in Bahrain will have its rights.
Here we have to mention and we have to be clear that the tight relationship between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, we do not have to forget it, when it happened in Bahrain I repeated many times that I think if the king in Bahrain want to give some human rights and democracy in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia will not accept this because it will threaten the regime and the security in Saudi Arabia because everybody said there that democracy is like a disease, it is contagious, it will move to Saudi Arabia.
That is the whole issue, this is the whole problem but I think very soon the international community will wake up and will start to see that there is people in the [Persian] Gulf that needs human rights, needs democracy, needs to be equal, needs to be real citizen, equal to any other citizen whether in Bahrain or in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Jaber, it is interesting how you mentioned the issue of prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab. Just a few days prior to the beating of Husam al-Haddad, Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to three years in prison just for a single treat as you mentioned exercising his rights of freedom of speech.
Now many believe that this harsh response by the Al Khalifa regime also shows the level of threat they feel to the year-long demonstrations that have been going on in Bahrain. How do you perceive it?
Yes everybody believes that the judgment against Nabeel Rajab was very really very severe and the justice in Bahrain is in state of being in the middle between the people and the authority. It seems it belongs to the authority.
There is a bias here in the judgment. Everybody believes this Nabeel Rajab never used any violence, never used any gun and never used any harm. Nabeel Rajab, he is on the Twitter everyday asking for human rights, asking for equality, maybe the only crime he made, Mr. Nabeel Rajab, that he asked the Prime Minister in Bahrain to resign in order to protect the unity of this country.
I think the authorities considered this very dangerous and also it is not the first time he was judged. Last month Nabeel Rajab also received a judgment from the court who was accused to push people in his face on the Twitter to demonstration. But what is wrong in the demonstration? Says that demonstration is peaceful for one year and a half, says the people in Bahrain never used any gun, any knife. I do not think and nobody believes in the whole world that it is a crime.