Manama: The Bahraini government has defended its record in addressing the US report on human rights as lawmakers vented their anger.
“The foreign ministry issued a prompt statement indicating that the report lacked credibility,” Abdul Aziz Al Fadhel, the minister for parliament, said. “The foreign minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa also received the US ambassador to Bahrain and discussed the matter with him. Shaikh Khalid is currently visiting the US and he met yesterday Secretary of State John Kerry and conveyed the reality on the ground in Bahrain,” he told the lawmakers at the weekly session on Tuesday.
In its reply, the foreign ministry said that “the report lacks objectivity and impartiality, and has overlooked Bahrain’s progress in protecting and promoting human rights.”
“The report did not shed light on the most significant steps taken by the kingdom towards consolidating human rights achievements. It also undermined the independence of the judicial system and overlooked facts and figures mentioned by the unit tasked with the implementation of the recommendations set by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI),” the ministry said.
MPs took turn to blast the report issued on April 19, charging that it was one sided and biased.
The MPs from different political orientations said that the report was politically motivated and was not objective and reflected a biased view against Bahrain.
Some MPs said that the parliament would not lapse into silence following the publication of the report, stressing that it was part of a blackmailing scheme targeting Bahrain’s interests, security and stability.
The US report claimed that human rights problems in Bahrain were related to the “arrest and detention of protesters on vague charges” and to the “lack of due process in trials of political and human rights activists, medical personnel, teachers, and students, with some resulting in harsh sentences”.
It however added that “some protesters engaged in lethal acts of violence against security forces, including the use of improvised explosive devices, Molotov cocktails, and other improvised weapons”.
As they expressed their anger, the lawmakers singled out US Ambassador to Bahrain Thomas C. Krajeski for the current US “negative attitudes”.
Calls to the foreign ministry to “take action” against Krajeski have become more vociferous in the parliament amid accusations that he is siding with the opposition and supporting their stances while ignoring the other components of the political landscape.
The diplomat, who arrived in Bahrain on October 30, 2011 four days after he was sworn as US ambassador, has been under harsh criticism even before landing in the country.
Detractors claimed he played a “negative role” in Iraq where he served as a political adviser on Ambassador L. Paul Bremer’s staff at The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad in 2003 and as the senior adviser to the ambassador on northern Iraq affairs in 2008 and 2009.
Islamist societies led an onslaught in the media and in speeches against his record in Iraq, claiming that he would replicate it in Bahrain and that he would be a threat to the country’s unity and social stability.
Despite the unusual criticism, Krajeski, who has received the US President’s Distinguished Service Award in 2007 for his service in Iraq and Yemen, has not publicly responded to the accusations and has used the rare interviews he gave to the local media to explain the US policy in the region.