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Families of slain Bahrainis slam burial of loved ones without consent

28 May 2017 22:36

 

The families of five Bahraini activists recently killed by the country’s security forces have slammed as a “crime” the burial of their loved ones without being allowed to bid farewell to them.

The families on Saturday called on the Al Khalifah regime to return the bodies of the activists killed during a security attack last week, but authorities buried them without any permission.

A Bahraini Interior Ministry official said the five were buried on Friday after having contacted the families to attend funeral services, only to change their minds later, the Arabic-language al-Wasat newspaper reported on Sunday.

The bereaved families said in a statement on Sunday that they had received a call on Friday to send two male members to a local police station.

However, they refused to go because they knew that the summoning of male relatives meant a burial ceremony was planned. They called for the returning of the bodies instead for proper funeral services.

“The martyrs’ families announce that depriving them of burying their sons in accordance with their wish can be construed as a crime which will be added to the first crime of liquidating them in the field,” the families said.

On May 23, Bahraini forces raided the village of Diraz, which has been under a military siege for almost a year, and stormed the home of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of Bahrain’s Shia majority.

Regime forces killed at least five demonstrators, wounded dozens and arrested over 280 people during the crackdown.

The raid, which came a few days after US President Donald Trump said Washington sought to improve ties with Manama, stoked tensions in the tiny Persian Gulf state where the US Fifth Fleet is based.

Bahrain was rocked by mass protests in 2011, but the fresh wave of anti-regime protests broke out on May 21, when a Bahraini court convicted Sheikh Qassim of illegal collection of funds and money laundering. The cleric was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay $265,266 in fines.

The Diraz raid has drawn angry reactions from prominent human rights groups, with Amnesty International calling for an independent investigation into Manama’s use of “excessive force.”

Human Rights Watch has also condemned the brutal violence by the Bahraini regime forces as a crackdown on freedom of expression.

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