Similar to human rights abuses in the UAE, abuses in Bahrain have drastically deteriorated since 2010. People are being kidnapped and tortured just on the basis of their beliefs, which is no doubt appalling. The majority of the Bahraini population is comprised of Shia Muslims, while the ruling family Al Khalifa is a Sunni family who is supported by the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The Al Khalifa family arrived from Qatar back in the eighteenth century and since then has established a system of government that is much like a monarchy.
All of the government institutes are dominated by the Sunni community including the police force which is comprised of Sunnis from Pakistan and Syria. Like every other country, the system the Government proposes is instilled in the society through different institutions, in this case, the Bahraini police. However, the Bahraini police force has surpassed any levels of arbitrary abuse of power.
In 2011, the Bahrain independent commission of Inquiry deduced the fact that the Bahraini police were responsible for the deaths of numerous Bahraini citizens during the Arab uprising. This uprising was sparked by the imprisonment of Sheikh Ali Salman who was a symbol of hope for the marginalized Shia community. During this period, the Human Rights Watch corresponded with fourteen males, which included seven minors or children who were detained by the Bahraini police force on the basis of participating in public protests. These individuals gave the Human Rights Watch a glimpse into the circumstances they were detained in, which was horrifying. Not only were these beaten vigorously but were also taking back to holding cells where they were kept in inhuman circumstances. While being detained these people were tortured and were treated like terrorists, but all they did was voice their opinions which is an inherent right.
With time, the abhorring abuse by the Bahraini police kept increasing as these police officers found more ways to target the marginalized Shiite community, these officers’ humiliated and assaulted young children just because they had a different set of beliefs. The most recent abuse by the Bahraini police that was documented by the Human Rights Watch was during the uprising in the Jaw prison. The police used illegal or disproportionate force to quell the uprising, and after it had subsided, prisoners were tortured on a whole new level. The prisoners were subjected to psychological and physical abuse, by the police force that didn’t even provide the injured prisoners with medical treatment. These prisoners were forced to live with their wounds including broken bones for a very long time.
Again, like all other documented abuse of Bahraini police, this was ignored by Government bodies and other institutes who turned a deaf ear to the proposal of police reform. But slowly and gradually after the release of the BICI report and through the training provided by the UK British forces, the magnitude of police brutality has decreased. The conditions in holding cells and prison cells have improved, but at the same time, there are still cases of the Bahraini police force abusing power against the Shiite community. The irony behind this stigma is at the end of the day, both Shia’s and Sunnis are Muslims, but just cause of a few contrary beliefs they are subjected to sectarianism and torture.