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4 - Torture, Arrests and Other Personal Integrity Violations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 July 2020

Marc Owen Jones
Affiliation:
Hamad bin Khalifa University
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Summary

Chapter four details the evolution of, and the repressive capacity and methods of Bahrain's security services. In particular it focuses on the police, for which most historical and current data is available. Ranging from the personalist explanations of repression, such as why Charles Belgrave himself engaged in beating detainees, to the institutionalisation of deviance, chapter three looks at how personal integrity violations in Bahrain are intrinsically tied up with the country’s institutional and political structures. It also explores how Al Khalifa conservatism underlined by Saudi fear of Iranian expansionism has informed a militant and coercive policy of repression. In particular, the chapter notes that while the British established the police and continued to play an important role concerning training and technical assistance, a shift in power occurred leading up to and following 1971. Following Independence, the increasing Al Khalifa and Saudi control, coupled with diminishing British influence on policy, led to a more systemically repressive coercive apparatus; one in which the British influence became hidden behind the legal distancing of ‘Independence’. As well as detailing the emergence of the police force, this chapter argues how tactics such as mass arrests and torture have emerged, not simply because of the criminalisation of the Shiʿa threat, but due to the embedded discrimination and sectarianism that pervades the security forces and the ruling regime.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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