Teenager killed as clashes mar Bahrain celebrations

January 1, 2012

The death of a teenager from Sitra, a town south of the capital Manama, has clouded the end of the year in Bahrain where the chasms between the two religious communities are widening and the divergences between media reports are perplexing.

Syed Hashem Saeed Eisa, 15, died late on Saturday, but Bahrain heard two different versions about how it happened.

According to Al Wefaq, the largest opposition society, the teenager was killed by the police who shot him at close range in Sitra. The society posted his ID and pictures and comments by people condemning “the attack on peaceful demonstrators.”

However, the General Director of the Central Governorate, where Sitra is located, said Syed Hashem was among a group of rioters attacking the police.

Molotov cocktails

“The deceased had sustained severe burns on various parts of his body and an injury to his neck,” he said.

“Tear gas does not cause the type of burns that were observed on the body of the deceased. The Ministry of Interior has requested the Public Prosecution to investigate the case,” he said.

According to the official, “initial investigations revealed that the deceased was among those involved in the attack on security forces with molotov cocktails earlier in the day.”

Sitra and several villages were on Saturday afternoon the scenes of clashes between rioters and police.

According to the police, “groups of vandals were involved in rioting, vandalism, the blocking of roads and the hurling of stones.”

“These groups also attacked the Sitra Police Station from various sides and tried to burn the building by using molotov cocktails. Police used tear gas to disperse them.”

Steps not enough

More clashes are expected as the body of Syed Hashem is laid to rest.

Hopes that the publication of a report on November 23 by an international fact-finding commission about the incidents that hit Bahrain in February and March and their consequences would calm the situation are ominously fading in the absence of major initiatives.

The government accepted the searing report and several ministries have started implementing the report’s recommendations. However, some opposition groups claim that the steps are not enough and that more significant measures should be adopted.

The new year, celebrated by some and shunned by others, does not augur well following the publication of a resignation letter by the head of the National Commission, set up by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa, to oversee the implementation of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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