Whether it’s actual dissent or just perceived dissent appears to matter less and less in Bahrain. A new report from Amnesty International documents an increasingly brutal crackdown on political opponents, religious minorities, and anyone publicly demonstrating against the government.
The report centers on the escalating violence of the past year of crackdowns, though of course Bahrain has been desperately stifling dissent since the Arab Spring, when the nation’s Shi’ite population began demanding equal rights. Nowadays, being Shi’ite and demanding equal rights is enough to get you branded a terrorist, and even lose your citizenship outright in some cases.
Bahrain isn’t too happy with the report, expressing “regret” that it was published. They made unspecified references to “inaccuracies” within it, but offered no instance of any specific incident Amnesty detailed which wasn’t true.
The report details the usual torture and open-ended detention, along with military crackdowns including the driving of armored vehicles into crowds of demonstrators as a way of violently dispersing them. Detainees who came out alive reported their families were threatened, and Bahrain warned them “no one can protest you.”