Maryam al-Khawaja took the stage at the Oslo Freedom Forum last Tuesday and stunned the audience with her experiences of government violence in the Kingdom of Bahrain. She described the killing of student protestors, the torture of democracy advocates, and how human rights defenders are "disappeared." Maryam also detailed how troops from a neighboring dictatorship, Saudi Arabia, rushed into Bahrain to prop up the crown prince's regime.
Ali Abdulemam, a renowned Bahraini blogger, was also invited to the Oslo Freedom Forum. Ali was imprisoned by his government in September 2010 for "spreading false information." After being released on February 23, he enthusiastically accepted his speaking invitation and plans were made for his travel. And then he disappeared. No one has seen or heard from him since March 18.
Beyond disappearing bloggers and rights activists, Bahrain also tries to disappear criticism. The government has been aided by a coterie of "reputation management" experts, including professionals from the Washington, D.C., offices of Qorvis Communications and the Potomac Square Group, in addition to Bell Pottinger out of their offices in London and Bahrain....read more