Bahrain Fines Newspapers for “False Reporting” in Ongoing Crackdown

Bahrain security forces continue to harm and repress the opposition with explicit US support

The government of Bahrain continued its harsh crackdown on citizens’ rights to free speech and freedom of assembly by fining the editor of Bahrain’s main opposition newspaper and three staff members for supposedly publishing “false reports.”

The  Al Wasat newspaper journalists were found guilty of disseminating misleading news and were fined about $2,650 each. The newspaper allegedly misreported Bahrain security forces’ crackdown on protesters as harsher than they actually were.

Editor-in-chief Mansoor al-Jamri admitted to Bahraini authorities that he mistakenly published false information, blaming plotters in Saudi Arabia who he claimed had deliberately fed his newspaper inaccurate stories. This admission should be viewed with some suspicion, however, as previous reports of detainee torture, abuse, and forced confessions have recently come out of Bahrain.

The government also claimed Tuesday that it was investigating the death of a protester, identified as Ahmed Jaber. Opposition and human rights groups say he suffered fatal injuries after he was shot in the chest with a pellet gun by security forces while participating in an anti-government demonstration.

This is the latest reported death since late August when a 14 year old boy was killed when Bahraini security forces shot him in the head with a tear gas canister. Over 30 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded since late February, when security forces opened fire on peaceful demonstrators and began to enforce martial law.

Bahrain recently agreed to a retrial for the medical professionals were had been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for treating as patients protesters who had been injured by security forces.

Despite the ongoing crackdown, the Obama administration has repeatedly reaffirmed US support for the regime.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.