Recommendation 1722 (c)

To implement an extensive program of public order training for the public security forces, the NSA and the BDF, including their private security companies, in accordance with UN best practices. To ensure future compliance with the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, the security forces should be trained in the human rights dimensions of detention and interrogation, and in particular the obligation to refuse to participate in any actions involving torture and other prohibited ill-treatment.

Status

Training

While the Bahrain Defense Force has allegedly incorporated new material into its training curriculum, it is unclear if current soldiers will be retrained. Similarly, status of police training is unclear. The government says that police training is happening at the Royal Academy of Police, and that "the first sessions have already begun." The Royal Academy of Police, on its Twitter account, recently mentioned a human rights training program:

The program seems to have concluded on 16 February:

A few more details are available here from the Ministry of Interior's Police Media Center. It is unclear if this is program is the same one mentioned by the government in its claim of implementation of this recommendation.

Firing tear gas in residential areas and buildings

Meanwhile, police continue to use weapons such as tear gas in an inappropriate manner. Recent abuses in this regard are too numerous to catalog here. One example is the indiscriminate firing of large amounts of tear gas in residential areas, even when there are no protests. At least 23 people are alleged to have died from tear gas inhalation since the start of the uprising, and 15 of these deaths occurred after the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. Tear gas exposure has also allegedly caused several spontaneous abortions. See dramatic video of police shooting tear gas into a village in Sitra on 16 February 2012:

In addition to the video above, there are several similarly dramatic recent videos illustrating this practice in areas around Bahrain: 17 March in Demistan, 16 March in Diraz, 16 March in Sehla, 16 March in Bilad Alqadeem, 16 March in Karranah, 2 March in Sehla, 29 February in Ma'ameer, 24 February in Demistan, 14 February in Karranah, and 27 January in Bani Jamra. Additionally, police seem to continue to deliberately fire tear gas indoors, as shown in the video below from 15 March. The videos shows a policeman firing something into a window at around 1:50. What appears to be tear gas can be seen exiting from the window, and occupants of the building are heard coughing and wheezing as they run out seconds later.

Investigators with the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry observed police deliberately targeting private homes with tear gas last year (paragraph 1095). In other cases, whether deliberate or accidental, tear gas seems to frequently be found inside private homes. This video from 29 February shows a tear gas canister inside a home, as well as a broken window through which the canister apparently entered. Occupants of the house can be heard coughing. Independent newspaper Al Wasat reports another such case from 15 March, for which this video is available. Besides posing a suffocation danger, tear gas shot into houses can also be a fire hazard, as shown in this video from 3 March. Independent newspaper Al Wasat also reports another such case from 15 March.

Firing tear gas at protesters' heads

Police also continue to shoot tear gas and other weapons in a manner that causes grievous injury. On 2 March, a protester was pronounced clinically dead after police allegedly shot him in the head with a tear gas canister, and subsequently kicked and beat his injury. There is video footage that claims to show the circumstances of the shooting and subsequent beating, as well as video of him arriving in the hospital. He subsequently died on 10 March 2012. He is the second person to allegedly die from a direct hit from a tear gas canister since the government accepted the Commission's report on 23 November 2011, and the fourth since 14 February 2011.

On 15 March, several protesters were apparently hit in the head with various weapons. The video below from Sitra shows someone stitching up a large wound on a protester's head, allegedly the result of a tear gas canister. The protester appears to be receiving treatment in a makeshift clinic or private home, as opposed to a medical center.

Below, pictures from 15 March show two other protesters with significant head injuries. One protester, from Bilad Alqadeem, was allegedly shot with a tear gas canister. He was taken to the hospital where he apparently underwent an operation. The other protester was from Bani Jamra, and was hit in the head with an unspecified weapon.


On 21 March (Duraz) and 22 March (Karranah), a total of two protesters were allegedly shot in the head with tear gas canisters. There is video from 21 March showing treatment of the first protester's head wound. There are also pictures from 21 March and 22 March showing the head injuries.


Throwing molotov cocktails

Police also seem to be continuing to throw stones and molotov cocktails at protesters, as shown in the video below posted on 15 March 2012. Other post-BICI footage of police throwing molotovs can be seen in this channel.

The government has promised an investigation into this incident:

Police assisting looters

The video below was recorded on the evening of Tuesday, April 10 by closed-circuit surveillance cameras inside a supermarket in the neigbourhood of Nuwaidrat. The video shows a mob enter, vandalize, and loot the store, which belongs to the "24 Hour Market" chain. Several minutes into the video, uniformed police enter the market and motion to looters to leave before filming the destruction with their own cameras.

Police do not attempt to stop the perpetrators or make any arrests. Furthermore, officers are also seen taking part in the looting and vandalism themselves: one breaks a shop window (5:15), and another walks out of the market with a bottle of water (4:50). Towards the end of the episode, an officer indicates the location of one of the store.s surveillance camera to a looter (6:11), who smashes it as the video ends.

The "24 Hour Market" chain, owned by Jawad business group, has become a favorite target of groups opposed to the Bahrain protests, due to a rumor that the group provided free food to demonstrators at the Pearl Roundabout last year. The CEO categorically denied the rumor last May. Nevertheless, there have been 54 attacks on Jawad-owned stores between 14 March 2011 and 2 April 2012, according to the group, with more than half of the attacks taking place this year.

Physical abuse and torture

For details about continuing physical abuse and torture by police, see recommendation 1722b.

Government Claim

(source: www.govactions.bh on 3/3/2012)

Pursuant to the Minister of Interior's order on 22 December 2011, a new training programme on appropriate conduct by police officers is currently being implemented, and the first sessions have already begun at the Police Academy. This was put together with the advice of international policing experts, John Yates and John Timoney.

The NSA commenced a comprehensive programme of training for its personnel on 22 January 2012. The courses are being run over revolving periods of six months, and will include classes on basic human rights, appropriate professional conduct and how to interact with members of the public (although this is unlikely to ever happen now that the NSA has been stripped of its law enforcement powers).

The BDF has similarly incorporated a Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials into its training programme, as well as core modules on human rights.

Recommendation 1722 (c)
Public order training for public security forces, NSA, and BDF
Status: Inaction
Government claim: Implemented

Summary:

  • No Details Details about the training, and which members of the police, BDF, and NSA will be retrained are sketchy
  • Inaction Police continue to use their weapons such as tear gas improperly in a way that causes serious injury and loss of life
  • Inaction Police continue to abuse protesters, arrestees, and detainees