Bahrain’s Day of Rage on 14 February 2011 kickstarted one of the largest popular uprisings in the country’s history. Bahraini youth took to social media and called on people “to take to the streets” in protest of the endemic corruption, discrimination and injustice.
Many of the 55 peaceful demonstrations on the day were met with violence from police and soldiers, leaving more than 30 protesters injured and one dead.
Six years on, the Bahraini government has fostered an atmosphere of fear and repression, through the detention and torture of opposition leaders and supporters, designed to stifle all dissent.
Here are 10 articles and reports explaining where Bahrain is today and how it got here.
“Two Bahrainis appear to be at imminent risk of execution despite the authorities’ failure to properly investigate their allegations of torture, Human Rights Watch said today. Both Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa have disavowed confessions that they allege were the result of torture and that were used as evidence in a trial that violated international due process standards.”
– Human Rights Watch, 23 January 2017
“Bahrain continuously stifles free speech and silences critics. It also has the highest prison population per capita in the Middle East, including 3,500 prisoners of conscience.”
– Index on Censorship, 23 January 2017
The IP Spy Files explore how Bahrain’s government silences anonymous online dissent by targeting activists with ispy links on social media networks and subsequently arresting them.
“On 15 March 2011 Bahrain’s king brought in a three-month state of emergency, which included the through establishing of military courts known as National Safety Courts. The aim of the decree was to quell a series of demonstrations that began following a deadly night raid on 17 February 2011 against protesters at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, when four people were killed and around 300 injured.”
– Index on Censorship, 17 August 2016
“2015 saw a year-on-year increase of the systemic use of arbitrary detention of those who speak out against the Bahraini regime. Index calls on the Bahraini authorities to end arbitrary arrests and immediately release all prisoners of conscience.”
– Index on Censorship, 2 June 2016
“Bahrain, in particular, has intensified the use of stripping citizenship from those who dissent or speak out in protest as a form of punishment. Since 2012 – when the country’s minister of the interior made 31 political activists stateless, many of whom were living in exile – 260 citizens have fallen victim, 208 in 2015 alone. Eleven juveniles, at least two of which have received life sentences, and 30 students are known to be among them.”
– Index on Censorship, 28 April 2016
“Contrary to the popular narrative on Bahrain, sectarianism was not the dominant motivating factor behind the 2011 uprising or the protest movements which preceded it.”
– Middle East Institute, 19 January 2016
“As a family, we’ve decided that it would be important for us to write about the hardships we have personally endured on an individual and family level as a direct consequence of the punishment handed down by the government, which fears the pure and peaceful expression of speech.”
– Index on Censorship, 25 October 2015.
“Bahrain’s prison authorities continue to humiliate, torture and mistreat inmates at Jau Prison […] [P]sychological and physical torture, prevention of medical care, and massive overcrowding remain a systemic failure of Bahrain’s prison system.”
– BIRD, 26 June 2015
“Following the fall of authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, hundreds of thousands of Bahraini protesters took to the streets of Manama, the capital city, on 14 February, 2011, to peacefully call for democratic reform. Officials were quick to crack down on protests, and the access of the international media was limited almost immediately after the start of the protests. Unlike other citizens demonstrating across the Arab World in 2011, the protests in Bahrain have received very little coverage, particularly considering the disproportionate number of people jailed and killed in the tiny country of 1.2 million people. ”
– Index on Censorship, 15 January 2012