Farcical Bahraini Elections
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Elections the way they should be held are nonexistent in most countries. In repressive regimes like Bahrain, anointments install officials in office, the process entirely illegitimate.
Regimes throughout most of the Middle East rule with iron-fisted brute force, notably in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Despotic al-Khalifa rule runs Bahrain. Police state terror is longstanding policy, fundamental freedoms banned. Anyone criticizing regime ruthlessness risks arrest, imprisonment, torture, or death.
Parliamentary elections on Saturday mocked what a free, fair and open process is all about. Days earlier, Human Rights Watch said so-called Bahraini elections “are occurring in a repressive political environment.”
The National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) and al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, Bahain’s largest political opposition groups, were banned and dissolved. The last independent broadsheet al-Wasat was forcibly closed.
Ruling regime political opponents, human rights workers, independent journalists, defense attorneys, peaceful protestors, and others languish under harsh conditions in Bahrain’s gulag – including doctors and other medical workers treating injured demonstrators.
A regime decree bans anyone earlier belonging to a dissolved political organization from running for public office – disqualifying all legitimate opposition figures.
Bahrain is involved with Saud/UAE crimes of war and against humanity in Yemen. The US, UK, France, and other countries continue selling its regime weapons, including what’s used for internal repression, its horrendous human rights abuses ignored.
On Friday, Bahrain Interfaith Cultivating Harmony president/Bahrain Center for Human Rights advisor Sheikh Maytham Al Salman slammed the country’s parliamentary election process, saying:
It’s occurring in a controlled, repressive, anti-democratic environment – reflecting the deplorable state of things in the country, including over 14,000 political prisoners, victims of arbitrary arrests and brutality since 2011.
Ahead of Saturday voting, activists and members of political parties urged Bahrainis to boycott the farcical process.
The regime controlled parliament has a lower house and upper house Shura Council (SC) – rubber-stamping Khalifa policies.
SC member selected by king Hamid can block any lower house initiatives. According to Gulf Matters founder Bill Law, most Bahrainis feel “what’s the point” of participating in a regime controlled process.
UK-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) director Ahmed Alwadaei slammed Saturday elections, saying:
“Clearly, legislatures from the world’s leading democratic states believe that the upcoming election in Bahrain lacks legitimacy.”
“You simply cannot crush, torture and imprison your entire opposition, call for a pseudo-election, and then demand the respect of the international community.”
Majority Shias are brutally persecuted in the Sunni-run country. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bahraini ruling authorities “systematc(ally) harass” Shias, “stripping many them of citizenship,” adding:
“(A)rrests, detentions, summons, interrogations and criminal charges brought against numerous Shia religious clerics and singers, human rights defenders, and peaceful dissidents is having a chilling effect on fundamental human rights” in the country.
Fabricated charges are used as a pretext for restricting free expression, assembly, and other fundamental rights.
Bahrain is a US/Western/Saudi supported fascist police state. Virtually all fundamental rights free societies cherish are banned.
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