Retrial in Bahrain
30 April 2012 § Leave a comment
A follow-up on yesterday’s post: the Bahraini Court of Cassation has ordered a retrial for Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and 20 others, who were convicted in a military court. Unlike the first go around which took place in a military court, this trial will be conducted in a civilian court.
While on the surface this seems like a positive step, the court itself is not an independent body within the Bahraini political system. It just so happens to be headed by a member of the ruling family, Sheikh Khalifah bin Rashid Al Khalifah. So this is nothing more than yet another attempt to convince Khawaja to stop his hunger strike and to diffuse tensions in the society by giving the illusion of a “changed” and “merciful” leadership.
The problem is this is not the first retrial to occur in Bahrain since the beginning of the uprising. The doctors and nurses who were convicted of attempting to overthrow the government for merely treating wounded protesters also received a retrial back in October 2011. Six months later, there has yet to be a verdict. Khawaja’s fate and the fate of the 20 other prisoners will be no different.
The regime has cracked down so much on protesters that it hopes this tiny concession will somehow convince them to drop their demands. Yet when they are arresting and torturing young children and women, it’s clear to anyone who’s paying attention this is not enough. This move is clear for what it is, and if Maryam al-Khawaja’s reaction is any indication, the regime isn’t going to get out of this mess so easily.