Today at his appellate court trial in Bahrain, hospital administrator Younis Ashoori could have been freed from arbitrary detention. The trumped up charges against him could have been overturned, proving to Bahrain’s citizens and the world that the Bahraini government would not dare to uphold a three-year conviction handed down last June by military court. Sadly, this was not the case.
In the last thirteen months, at least 8000 Syrian civilians have died in a brutal government crackdown according to the UN. Medical professionals who dare to treat the injured have also found themselves in the line of fire.
For the past seven weeks a well-known human rights activist in Bahrain has led a hunger strike protesting his imprisonment and torture at the hands of his captors. The forced feeding he has likely been subjected to is torture and must end immediately.
In a statement issued on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the Obama administration will designate Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), offering Syrians currently living in the US a chance to stay in the country while the Assad regime continues its brutal suppression of the pro-democracy movement.
The Syrian government escorted a team of UN technical staff into the country this week. Although this ostensible show of glasnost may look encouraging, restricting UN agencies’ access will result in an unreliable assessment of Syria’s humanitarian needs.