(3) The excutive power

2014-06-30 - 8:46 م

How was the loan to lable all forms of protests in Bahrain as terrorism enacted? This labelling includes the opposition, protestors and opposition political associations that emphasize their peaceful choice of work

Terrorism was not only the name given to the riots that include some violent forms but also for every peaceful protest call. Calling for "Tamarod" movement was considered the most lowlight event that made the authority increase the use of the term "terrorism", escalate the arrests campaigns and make the verdicts issued against the arrested harsher. On July 1, 2013, calls were launched to establish Tamarod movement including protests in all Bahraini movements on August 14. Although the authority was proceeding in a non-stop security escalation, this call made it worry about the potential of returning to February 2011 protest field. Thus, the authority hysterically escalated the threats, menaces, cities' sieging and closing, attacks, arrests and trials; let's not forget that terrorist crimes are the attributed charges to the arrests.

The first hearings of the "fourth criminal court" started on 10 July 2013. This court will be the core of our next part; in addition, it will be responsible for issuing the verdicts in all political aspects which will then go under the name of terrorism.

On 13 July, the Ministry of Interior issued a threatening statement warning responding to what it called "the instigating calls spread via social networks under the name "14 August Tamarod"" and "launching illegal marches and activities that threaten the security and public order, endanger the civil peace, freedoms and interest of people", as it claimed.

The Ministry did not stop at the level of this threat; however, it started threatening for things beyond Tamarod movement in order to add the terrorist character and goal to the movement. "It should be noted that incitement to violence and committing acts of violence are crimes themselves (...). Moreover, the legislators of terrorism act state that the inciter's imprisonment duration should not exceed 5 years even if no consequence resulted from his act". This threat clarifies the scheme followed by the authority bodies in (intimidating) all forms of protests in Bahrain.

Despite it being clear that it is a planned escalating scheme aiming at putting an end to all forms of protests in Bahrain through security forces release and harshening of punishment, July and August embraced non-stop campaigns of statements, visits, gatherings and meetings publically led and done by the prime minister and his followers, blessed by the King.

On 20 July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a meeting with the head of the parliament in order to review the legislative power of existing laws to support the security bodies in their work to confront what the 2 parties called "the recent escalating of terrorist attacks". During the meeting, the parties agreed that "there are laws that should be reviewed and there are some existing articles and projects that only need to be activated".

On 22 July, the Ministry of Interior issued what it called a legal explanatory statement about law99620451204253 (58) of 2006 regarding "protecting the society from the /terrorist acts". Evoking this law at the time, in particular, reveals that the plan was already set to refer all protest cases to terrorism. The Ministry added, "based on the fact that the policemen are still doing their jobs in the legal frame, it is to notice that pursuant to law 58 of 2006 regarding protecting the society form the terrorist acts; the terrorist crime is of the felonies stipulated in the criminal code or any other code, if its purpose was a terrorist one."

It is clear now that the (objective) we talked about in details in the last part is the method to be used by the authority to adjust the law. The Ministry also mentions in its statement that this definition of terrorism is based on a specific definition stipulated in article 1 of 58 law; ""Terrorism" means the use of force or threats to use it or any other unlawful means constituting a crime legally punishable by law resorted to by a perpetrator for the execution of an individual or collective criminal plan with the aim of disrupting public order or threatening the Kingdom's safety and security or damaging national unity or security of the international community if this would result in harming persons, terrorizing and intimidating them and endangering their lives, freedoms or security or causing damage to the environment, public health, national economy or public utilities, facilities or properties or seizing them and obstructing the performance of their business activities, preventing or obstructing the government authorities, places of worship or academic institutions from carrying out their activities". Thus, punishments under this law will be totally different from the provisions issued under the protests and riots law. The provisions of this law may be death penalty and life imprisonment.

After the Ministry of Interior's threat, its statement about using the terrorism act, its establishment of the fourth criminal court and the meeting between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the head of the parliament concerning changing what they called "the laws that need to be reviewed", it was necessary to make all of this seem as being launched by the "people's will" resembled in the legislative authority will in the national council. This is the role entrusted to "the emergency meeting of the national council" on July 28.

The emergency meeting result was issuing of 22 recommendations; the most important were: "decrees with laws to confront terrorism and take urgent procedures to maintain the security and stability of the country". It also called to revoke the citizenship from those engaged in terrorist acts and the inciters, in addition to impose severe penalties on all types of terrorist and violent crimes and drying up the sources of terrorism (!), prevent sit-ins and protests in the capital, Manama and taking the required measures to maintain peace and national security. The meeting also called for taking legal measures against some political societies inciting violence and terrorism, said the ministry.

In turn, the PM made a non-stop movement through a series of intensified visits, gatherings and meetings with the official and civil authorities in order to pin the "terrorists" name to all the protestors, inciting the public against them and justify the severe punishments that will be issued (in response to the recommendations of the national council that represents the Bahrainis)!

On 2 August, the PM visited the chamber of commerce addressing the directors there, "feel worried for your commerce and protect it by standing shoulder to shoulder by the government to implement the "National Council's" recommendations". "There are some people who aim at destabilizing the stability and harming the economy, which won't affect the government, through violence and terrorism acts", he added. He, moreover, stated that, "what is going on in Bahrain is not reform and life demands, it is a foreign target accomplished, unfortunately, on the hands of local citizens to shake our stability through violence and terrorism, nonetheless, we will not be dragged to clashes and confrontations; however, we will make the punishments more severe and implement the law as wished by the Bahrainis".

The PM also visited the National Unity Assembly Headquarters on 6 August and with the same worrying tone he said, "As you felt worried for kidnapping your homeland, feel anxious to halt the terrorism by solidarity with the government in its measures to fight terrorism and (make the punishment more severe) to protect the society from terrorism and its inciters".

We notice that what the PM is calling for is represented in advocating the coming "penalty harshening" which constituted the aim of all of his visits and meetings at that time. Not only will the PM use expressions including more than "penalty harshening", but he will also talk about "rooting up"; which seemed obvious in the authority discourse.

On 16 August, the PM paid a visit to the special security forces in Safra and affirmed that "the government will not allow the existence of a group that lacks the sense of responsibility and political experience at the expense of the security and national sovereignty. We have learnt enough from the previous lessons and the first one to be implemented is "rooting up" every stability obstacle".

During his visit on 17 August to the members of community councils in Hamad Town, a number of current and former deputies and the town's figures, the PM said that, "In Bahrain, we mostly suffer from people of sick mentalities who wear the mask of reform to execute foreign agendas". "When any of them faces a dead end, he resorts to terrorism to achieve his evil goals to break the community up without taking into consideration the history of his country and the nature of its people which history entitles their historic and heroic stances in refuting conspiracies", he continued. 

The king, the most distant from achieving his people's needs and demands, has never been distant from calling the protestors as "terrorists" or calling to "making the penalties against them harsher" and "rooting them up". The Bahraini King was visited in his palace by the PM, the crown prince and the Ministry of Interior. The King affirmed his full support, "there is no compromise with those inciting terrorism, seeking to split the lines and working on fighting the citizens based on the law and Bahrainis will reject terrorism and through the recommendations issued by the national council".

This was considered an absolute approach adopted by the authority to terrorize the protestors (i.e. charging them with terrorism) and to give the Ministry of Interior the green light to root up the opponents and protestors. The PM confidently stressed on the same day when he welcomed officials, parliamentarians and protestors in Gudaibiya Palace on the rooting up step, "Bahrain will soon turn a page from its history to start another".

On 21 August, the PM affirmed during a high-level security and civil meeting: "the importance of making the punishments more severe against those who incite committing terrorist crime and review their citizenship eligibility. The meeting summed up the existence of the intention to withdraw the citizenship from a number of protestors, "anyone who harms and damages his country through violence and terrorism is not worth the honour to belong to this county".

On 22 August, the PM met the British ambassador stressing that, "the government will unhesitantly proceed to tighten the screws on terrorism; its perpetrators and inciters". 

In the next part, what is the Bahraini Terrorism Act? How legal is it? Why was it described by the UN International Commission of Jurists as a wildfire that endangers everything around?



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