Target: Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, Interior Minister of Bahrain
Goal: Demand an impartial investigation into the deaths of peaceful protestors
Numerous protestors in the Middle East nation of Bahrain have recently lost their lives at the hands of security forces. These victims include a 14-year-old boy, Sayed Mahmood. His body still remains in the city mortuary because his family refuses to sign a death certificate that neglects to mention the gunshot wounds that killed him. Those responsible should be held accountable for the unlawful use of force against these protestors and allow the family some closure.
Security forces allegedly shot Mahmood while trying to disperse a large funeral procession in the village of Khalijya in late May, according to Human Rights Watch. In addition to the original hospital death certificate there are multiple eyewitness accounts, images of the wounds and an independent forensic pathologist’s opinion to back up the assertion that Mahmood was killed by security forces. The forensic pathologist stated that the boy appeared to have been hit with bird shot fired by someone facing him, less than six meters away. Bird shot typically not lethal, but can be when fired at close range. International human rights regulations state that bird shot should not be used to disperse crowds.
Members of Bahrain’s security forces are rarely prosecuted for using lethal force against prisoners and protestors. Even when security force members are convicted, sentences are often very light. Security forces in Bahrain would be less likely to use lethal force if there were real consequences. Call for a swift and impartial investigation into the deaths of protestors at the hands of Bahraini security forces..
Dear Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa,
Having signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Bahrain has committed to protect and respect the right to life of all of its citizens. The government has not fulfilled this duty, and instead has essentially condoned the use of lethal force against peaceful protestors. Bahraini security forces recently shot and killed a 14-year-old-boy in the street and as of mid June there has been no action to bring those responsible to justice. Your government must ensure that the abusive use of firearms against innocent citizens be halted immediately.
I ask that you also open impartial investigations into the recent deaths of protestors. Doing so would signal to the international community that your country takes its human rights obligations seriously. Your government has failed its people by doing so little to protect them from this oppressive violence. I ask that you work tirelessly to reassure the citizens of Bahrain that they have nothing to fear from their government. This cannot be done without prosecuting members of security forces who kill innocent civilians.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Al Jazeera English via Wikipedia Commons