Thursday, February 23, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tomorrow...19 February 2011

Tomorrow is the first day of the second semseter of the acadamic year 2011/2012 in the University of Bahrain (UOB)...

Tomorrow, many students resume their studies at UOB. Students who were detained, tortured, expelled and currently undergoing trials all come back with their heads held high...

Tomorrow, we choose to go to UOB not only to attend but to show our true potential, not to just study but to excel...

Tomorrow, we welcome back and greet (with a big smile and bigger heart) those who paid the price, those who spent time in detention so that the UOB adminstration feels good about itself and those who were expelled so that the loyalists of students feel happy...

Tomorrow, we prove that UOB detained and expelled many good students, we prove that they deserve to be here, we prove that the 5 still imprisoned also deserve to here...

Tomorrow, we smile at those who wanted us excelled, imprisoned and sentenced...We smile knowing they are burning inside, we smile proving we are stronger, we smile because we are right....

Tomorrow, for the detained and laid off acadamics and employees of UOB, we go back to study and make them proud...

Tomorrow, for the 5 of us who are still in prison wishing they could come back to study, we go back and do our best and make them proud...

Tomorrow, we re-own what is rightfully ours: Education, no regime conspiracies can take that away from us...

Tomorrow, we go to prove that this is only the begining...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Jawad AlMahari, University Student, Sentenced to 15 years

Name: Jawad Jassim Mohammed Al Mahari
Age: 24 years old
Date of Arrest: 29th March 2011
Jawad is a student at the College of Law at the University of Bahrain with excellent academic record. He was summoned for investigation by the university’s administration on 29th March 2011; however he was arrested at dawn that same day in a home raid by security forces. Jawad complained of being beaten from the beginning of his arrest until his arrival at the ASRY detention center. He was kicked and beaten with a plastic hose and heavy electric cables. He was subjected to physical harm where they would put out cigarettes on his body, spit in his mouth and forced him to stand for long periods of time. He remained blindfolded and handcuffed for 12 days where he was interrogated and subjected to beatings, torture and verbal abuse. Jawad was taken to the Military Court without notifying his family or a lawyer. He was not allowed to meet with his family/lawyer until his second trial (3 months after his arrest), and he complained of being beaten at the court by security forces.

His story (below) was written by his brother (Muntadhar) who not only was arrested the same night, but also subjected to the same events/conditions

The Investigation in the University
Jawad received a call at 11 am from the University of Bahrain’s vice president and dean of students affairs (Osama AlJowdar) asking him to come to campus for investigation regarding the incidents of 13th March 2011.
The date was set to be the next day (29th March 2011), he was arrested at the dawn of that day.

The Arrest
A group of masked men broke into his house at almost 1:30 am on 29th March 2011 and asked if he was Jawad then asked him to bring his identity card along.
They took him out of the house but another group went upstairs to arrest his younger brother, Muntadhar, who is also a student at the University of Bahrain.
Huge numbers of Police vehicles were outside of his house and surrounding it.
Note: Police mercenaries broke several doors and threatened the residents of the house by aiming guns to their heads.
Jawad’s hands were cuffed very tight which led to inflation in his left hand, he was hit on the head before he was taken into the police bus and he was insulted with many swear words on the way to the police station.

In ASRY Prison

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Shawqi Radhi, University Student, Sentenced to 15 years

Name: Shawqi Radhi Abdul Rasool
Age: 22
Date of Arrest: April 26th, 2011

Shawqi is a dedicated student at the College of Business Administration with a GPA of 3.4 out of 4. He was arrested at dawn in a home raid by security forces on 26.4.2011, and like Yousif was summoned for investigation by the university regarding the events of March 13. Shawqi complained of being tortured in detention, as when he appeared in court he was unable to stand due to the intensive beating. He was taken to the hospital several times after going on hunger strike in protest of his continued detention and ill-treatment. Shawqi is known for his distinguished reputation as he engaged in tutoring students at the university as well as having several social activities and volunteer work outside university.

Before the arrest:-
A defamatory online campaign carried out by Pro-Governments started in the forum "Kingdom of Bahrain Forums" after the events of the University of Bahrain on 13th March 2011, the goal of this campaign was to get him expelled and arrested.

Some of the defamatory topics:
- The truth about the students of University of Bahrain ... Shame on you, vandals

- URGENT: Shawqi has been expelled from the university

We can see in these topics how Shawqi replied to them with respect, but God printed on their hearts.

Despite this defamatory campaign and his certainty that he would be arrested at any time, he wasn’t afraid, and wrote these words:

Remember me when I leave...
Either prisoner or dead...
All this is little for my country...
I’ll give my soul...
I'll let my blood flow...
Remember me, beloveds, if you see me detained...
11th April 2011

And despite how much this defamatory campaign had hurt him, his morals and manners only made him write this on his Twitter:
“God forgive anyone who intends to harm me.”
This was the last tweet before his arrest, tweeted on 25th April 2011
The Arrest:-

Jassim AlHulaibi, University Student, Sentenced to 15 years

Name: Jassim Mohammed Jassim Al Hulaibi
Age: 19 years old
Date of Arrest: March 27th, 2011
Student of teachers college, scholarship of the Ministry of Education

Jassim is a first year student in Bahrain Teachers' College (University of Bahrain). He was arrested in a pre-dawn raid on his house by security forces on 27th March 2011
Although his family searched for him in police stations, the officers denied their son's existence. His family was in fear about where he was being held for more than a month. They only received a call from the Criminal Investigation Department requesting them to bring him clothes without allowing his family to see him.
He was presented to the Military Court for the first time without notifying his family or his lawyer. Even after his family appointed a lawyer for him, Jassim wasn't allowed to see his lawyer before the second hearing. His family was only allowed to see him for ten minutes after the hearing, which took place two months after the date of his arrest. Neither his lawyer nor his family members were informed of the charges against him until the third hearing, where he was accused of taking part in the University of Bahrain incident where the Pro-Government thugs attacked the campus on 13th March 2011.
Jassim was not at the university on 13th March 2011. He was in the hospital receiving medical care for a foot injury. His family presented a medical certificate to the Court in this regard as a proof of his absence that day but the Court ignored it. His family was notified that he was expelled from the University of Bahrain in May (while he was still held in detention). Jassim complained of back pain during detention due to torturing and mistreatment.
Following is a letter from Jassim's father which clarifies how he was detained and what he went through before and after the arrest…

Yousif Ahmed, University Student, Sentenced to 15 years

Name: Yousif Ahmed Khaleefa Abbas
Age: 20-year-old
Date of Detention: April 26th, 2011 at the dawn.
Yousif is a student at the College of Business Administration (University of Bahrain) who achieved superior academic performance, with a soaring GPA of 3.6 out of 4. He is known for his volunteer work and student activities both inside and outside the university. He was arrested in a pre-dawn house raid at his home on 26th April 2011. Prior to the arrest, Yousif was summoned for investigation by the University of Bahrain’s administration regarding the events of 13th March 2011 and nothing was proven against him during investigation. University’s Vice President (Al Bastaki) even assured him that this was a standard protocol and he was for sure innocent. During his time in detention, his family was not allowed to see him following his arrest until the day of the trial and only for a few minutes in the courtroom. Yousif complained of being subjected to torture and ill-treatment including beatings, spitting in his mouth, as well as sexual harassment.
Details of the Arrest:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Jassim AlMukhodher, University Student, Sentenced to 15 years

Name: Jassim Mohammed Abdulla Mahdi Al Mukhoder
Age: 20 years
Date of Arrest: April 26th, 2011
Student of Bahrain's Teachers College, has a scholarship of Bahrain's Ministry of Education

Jassim is a student at the Bahrain Teachers' College (University of Bahrain). He was arrested in a home raid at dawn on 26th April 2011 after being summoned, like some students, for internal university investigation regarding the UOB thugs attack on 13th March 2011. His family was not notified of his whereabouts or why he was being held, until the second hearing of the trial where they were able to see him for the first time. Jassim has always been known for his distinguished social voluntary work, especially in his village.

Details of the Arrest:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Al Jazeera International's Interview with a Detainee's Mother

Yousef Ahmed Khalifa: Sentenced to 15 years in prison

Students went to university on the morning of March 13 with the news that protesters who tried to block roads in the financial harbour, near to Pearl roundabout, had come under attack. Some of the students organised a march on campus in solidarity with the protesters.

Hundreds of students attended, including 20-year-old banking student Yousef.

That day, police were eerily absent from streets around the country. Instead, what witnesses say, were "plainclothed thugs out to create havoc".

One of Yousef's friends said that dozens of "thugs" entered the campus, and they wondered how they had passed security. Immediately, the thugs began attacking cars as well as the students taking part in the march - and others.

Friday, February 3, 2012

University of Bahrain: Where is the Education?

On March 13th, 2011, students of the University of Bahrain thought it was just another week they had to get through to reach the weekend. Little did they know it was a day, none of them will forget.
A month into the Pro-Democracy movement in Bahrain, students were advised to resume the roles in gaining education as the new semester begins. Student unions end their strike and head to the campuses for a new start.
During the 8:00 am class, news spread about a military crackdown on the Pearl Square, the gathering place of the Pro-Democracy protests. In solidarity, many students left to join the protesters, the remainder of the students gathered in the main foyer of the campus in a peaceful sit-in condemning the military act.
Peaceful protests took place in University of Bahrain on different occasions and the campus security and university administration always join. This time it was different. Shortly into the sit in, the gates of the university opened allowing armed regime loyalists to come in and attack the students (who were mostly girls).
March 13th was a day marking the battle between the students and their caretakers, between the armed and the unarmed, between humanity and inhumanity.
The question everyone asked was: Where is the security? Where is the President of the University? Where are the police?
Let’s see…
v  The President of the University of Bahrain, Mr. Ebrahim Janahi, made sure he personally went and welcomed the armed loyalists at the main gates. Gave them his blessings and watched from his office window as the fight broke.
v  Campus security took their rule very seriously; they protected the armed guests who came from outside the walls of university. When asked by students why they weren’t protecting them, they answered: “the orders came from above”.
v  Finally the riot police arrived, however, they were shooting at the students. News of army vehicles lining outside the gates spreads.
The university was closed after the black Sunday, many students were injured, many students remained traumatised after the unexpected attacks, and many students still had hope.
With the declaration of Martial Law, the series of arrests began and the university students weren’t safe of it. The Bahrain Centre of Human Rights reported in June the arrest of 78 University of Bahrain students, majority of which in house raids. Political involvement was not the base of the arrests as many students had no political activities, the arrests mainly targeted students from a single sect which is associated with the majority of the opposition. The detained students were subjected to sever torture and forced to sign false confessions, accusing them with being involved in the March 13th incident where many students were injured (80 – 100) and many buildings were vandalised.
After the completion of arrests phase, the University of Bahrain began expelling students who are thought to be involved in the March 13th incident. Whether they were there on the day or not, like the arrests, the expulsion only targeted students from a single sect. Around 600 students were expelled in 4 days, ironically including 47 of the 50 who are on the Dean’s list of honour.
To think that arrests and expulsions of university students would be unheard of and unusual for a higher education facility is only normal, what isn’t normal was the introduction of a mandatory loyalty pledge to be signed by students as they resumed studies (three months after the incident of March 13th). Students were not allowed in the campus unless they signed the pledge, even if they were only visiting the administration building. The pledge stated that the students at all times will be loyal to the monarchy of the Kingdom of Bahrain and will never be involved in any activities organised by the opposition (even if authorised by the government) whether on or off campus. The pledge also stated that the students now acknowledge that the cost of running the courses is 120% higher than what they actually pay and they should thank the Government of Bahrain for subsidising higher education.
The army had a small base on campus. Their responsibility was to make sure no care entered or exited the university unless searched. Every bag, folder, wallet, phone, laptop and makeup case was searched prior to entering the buildings. Such checkpoints delayed classes by three hours every morning and as a result the timing of lectures changed, the attitudes of the students changed and the university life changed.
The University of Bahrain now being an unhealthy place for education made many professors and lecturers resign in objection of the way students were treated. Many students also could not bear to go there every day and planned a mass withdrawal from the semester. Around 50% of the total students’ registered applied for single semester withdrawal, which is nearing 8000 students, in solidarity of their detained and expelled colleagues. The University of Bahrain’s management took revenge by forbidding those students from registering again, a move that was referred to by the loyalists as “cleansing the university for good”.
Fighting with the little attention they had, the students of the University of Bahrain organised a series of events demanding the freedom of their colleagues. When the detained students announced their hunger strike, the students outside joined them in a 15 days Hunger Strike. The strike spread beyond students to include their friends and families and parents. The Hunger Strike was publicised in the social media, especially on Twitter, students would post updates about their strike, how they felt and why were they doing it. It was picked by many international journalised. Pressured by international media, 70 students were released on bail now awaiting their trials from home and most of the expelled students were allowed to return to the University of Bahrain. 
Will University of Bahrain ever be what it used to be? I don’t think so…
Today, six students are serving 15 years in prison after being sentenced by the Military Court. Today, 40 students are still expelled. Today, more than 200 students are being tried and forbidden from withdrawal. Today, female students are kidnapped from campus by the loyalists (with the help of campus security) and beaten then left on the street. Today, students are still being arrested by the University’s checkpoints for holding pens and mirrors. Today, the University of Bahrain lost the ranking it had worked to achieve for many years. Today, the University of Bahrain is no longer a place for education.