Young Journalist Killed in Demonstration in Bahrain


A young journalist was killed while filming the crackdown of security forces on a demonstration in the village of Salmabad, southwest of the capital of Bahrain, Manama.

Reports say Ahmed Ismael Hassan al-Samadi, 22 was shot in the thigh and reportedly targeted for having a video camera, by armed men who were accompanying security forces.

The Interior Ministry confirmed Mr. AlSamadi’s death, who regularly filmed and took photographs during demonstrations, a few hours after his arrival to the hospital.

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with promoting and defending the freedom of the press today called for a comprehensive probe into the killing of Ahmed Ismael Hassan al-Samadi.

At least 100,000 people participated in one of the largest antigovernment protests along Budaiya highway on 9 March.

“The basic human right of freedom of expression and the freedom of journalists and citizen journalists to cover events are essential for any society that wants to uphold the principles of democracy and rule of law.” – Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova

Ms. Bokova welcome reports that the authorities’ intend to launch an inquiry into this serious event.

Last month, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), voiced concern over the alleged excessive use of force against protesters.

Renewed clashes in Bahrain between security forces and demonstrators broke out in February, only a year after widespread civil protests first emerged in the country – similar to those seen in the wider Arab Spring movement that led to the toppling of regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen and has led to deadly fighting and humanitarian suffering in Syria.

Street violence in Bahrain seems to be getting out of hand despite restraint by security forces and sectarian tension stoked by Shias has been simmering. Nearly 100 riot police personnel have been injured in the January this alone in clashes in troubled areas.

According to the Freedom House report, more than 1,600 people were arrested by the Bahraini regime. Freedom House says the protestors were peaceful, and included political protesters, medical professionals, journalists, human rights defenders and innocent bystanders.

Freedom House issued five recommendations for U.S. policy.

  • Speak out, speak loud
  • Make the $53 million arms package to the Bahrain Defense Force conditional
  • Be consistent in support for human rights and democratic reform
  • The Obama administration should make internet freedom a priority
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