Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Light at the end of the tunnel..

Ahmed is still held by the authorities for a crime they know he has not committed, while the real criminals are still at large, thanks to an injust and slow court system.

Ahmed's family is still suffering. His children are growing up, his parents are aging and all those who know and love him are aching. Ahmed's pain is the story of justice in Bahrain - even at this age of freedom and democracy.

The struggle we and all the decent people out there have put up to free Ahmed has been a very slow and painful process, one which may see light and unveil the criminal activities of the very people charged with upholding law in Bahrain.

To say that there are no longer political prisoners in Bahrain is a lie -- and Ahmed's imprisonment is testimony to the lies of a regime bent on breaking human rights conventions every step of the way.

Do you really want to know why Ahmed has been denied justice for so long? It was because his family didn't go to the powers that be and beg for forgiveness. Blinded by the lies that Bahrain has ushered in a new chapter of democracy and transperancy, Ahmed's family asked for justice.

If Ahmed has done wrong, punish him. If Ahmed has not done wrong, then punish the authorities who have broken human rights conventions and expose them. There was no arrest warrant. Ahmed was kidnapped by the authorities. He was not given access to a lawyer. He was denied his rights and confessions were extracted from him by force and under threat.

That was a hard bargain, and this is a bent government which cannot be challenged, let alone questioned by nobodys.

The price for asking questions - legitimate questions - is this: imprisonment and humiliation. They want you to acknowledge that your existence lies in their hands. That they are the givers and takers of life, that they are the Almighty, All Controlling. And this is not to be. People with dignity don't stoop that low - even if a dear one is to be held ransom by the authorities forever.

Ahmed's struggle is continuing. Ahmed's suffering may or may not be exposed to the world though. There is news in Bahrain that the tyrant authorities will allow human rights groups to visit prisons and speak to prisoners about their imprisonment conditions. As much as I am pleased with this development, I know and you know very well and the truth will never come out. Instead of visiting the Jaw prison only, human rights groups should fight to visit Bahrain's very own version of Guanatanmo - the CID headquarters in Adliya. That horror house is Farooq Al Maawda's private playground - where prisoners held under custody are routinely punished - just like during the days of the State Security Law.

I don't want to brag .. but it was Ahmed's outcry for justice and his hunger strike that prompted human rights activitists to call for a visit to prisons. And look at how long it took for the corrupt authorities to budge. Do they think that by delaying the prison visits for a year or two or three or even 10 will make people forget the atrocities being committed by the tormentors every day in a country government by law - if only such laws exist on paper?

These feelings of injustice grow in people like cancer.. and when it spreads throughout the body, it is too late to treat. People in Bahrain still live in fear. And fear is not a dignified way to live in what authorities claim is a democratic era.

But lay assured, their corruption will one day be exposed. Afterall, there should be light at the end of the tunnel.