Bahrain has unjustifiably come under a lot of flak from the international media following a judgement by one of its courts which awarded the death penalty to four criminals and life terms to three last week.
Let us first find out who these seven murderes are. The opposition in Bahrain has claimed that the seven were merely ‘protesters’ who were fighting for their rights together with others. But given the course of action they chose to adopt in the name of protests under the prodding of some of their hardline leaders [as it came out in their confessions], that definition cannot be attributed to them.
They were not ‘protesters’ by any stretch. They were the perpetrators of heinous crimes as could be seen in an aerial footage released by the government and at best can be called murderers and criminals. Remember, at the height of the Ulster troubles, Mrs Margaret Thatcher refused to give the killers among the Irish fighters the status of political activists. For her they were terrorists and were treated accordingly.
The Bahrainis given the death sentence were involved in various roles in running over as they drove about in their heavy vehicles two walking policemen on duty, taking away their arms and ammunition, smashing the policemen with large stones as they lay near death, again running their vehicles over them and then kicking and trampling upon their bodies. Who would like to define them as ‘protesters’?
Bahrain is not the only country in the world to have the death penalty on its statute books. And it has been awarded so sparingly by its considerate courts that in the last 30 years only two persons have been given this penalty, the last one as far back as in 1996, as opposed to the US where it is far more common for far less gruesome crimes.
More to the point, in the face of videographic evidence, finding themselves at a loss to justify the crime of the seven, their defenders have had the audacity to completely deny the murders happened! Al Jazeera of Qatar, always on the lookout for the sensational in any bit of news, even quoted one person called Moussa thus: “It’s not true that they killed them. The government made it up just like a movie.” If it’s a movie, the set must be miles long since it is an aerial footage of an open area surrounded by buildings.
It has also been claimed that the court proceedings were held “behind closed doors.” This again is not true but even if, for argument’s sake, it is, how does it matter once Arab and European human rights organizations and the lawyers of the seven were allowed to be present? Moreover, it was not a kangaroo court which the language of some of the news agencies made it out to be. The ruling can be appealed. And even after that, the final court of redressal remains the King.
The point is, why do human rights organizations blindly, always, and without any application of mind, tend to side with the punished, overlooking their misdeeds. If the gesture is meant to save the life and skin of a person, they must also take into account the life lost and the lives of those standing behind him ruined. And why must news agencies ignore out of hand videographic evidence and confessions of the accused? Is it because that takes away the spice out of a story?
If the so-called protesters want to kill policemen in the line of duty they ought to be prepared for the consequences of their acts. And if a country like Germany urges Bahrain to rescind the death sentences, one would like to know what evidence there is that they have gone through the merits of the case?
Let appeals for mercy not be made just to score points. After all, what have these so-called rights organizations done for those incarcerated in the Guantanamo camps without trial for years and without hope of any.