On March 20, 2011 Naser Al-Raas (I’ve seen it spelled Rass and his twitter says Ress, I stick with Raas because it is the spelling that gets the most hits when it gets googled) disappeared from the airport in Bahrain when he was departing to go back to Kuwait where he works. It popped up a little on my radar when it happened. Everything was still chaos at that time and when I would go google it, nothing appeared in new results. I thought he was released with other people and it just didn’t show up because it wasn’t high profile. It turns out I was wrong.
I won’t rehash the story because it is written in other places. Here is the best overview. I highly recommend this site: bahrainfreedom.org
This piece seems to lay it all out well. Read in full here: http://bahrainfreedom.org/NEWS/NewsContent/tabid/69/ArticleId/922/Canadian-jailed-for-protesting-in-Bahrain.aspx
Naser al-Raas remembers the cramped office, the beatings, and the small gun pointed at his head. He remembers the cables used to tie his hands behind a chair and the blindfold fastened around his face.
He remembers the ambush at Bahrain International Airport on March 20, just as he was preparing to present his Canadian passport to customs and fly to Kuwait, where he was born.
He remembers three mock executions held under the desert sun. And he remembers the dingy cell in the notorious Al Qala prison, where he said he spent more than a month in solitary confinement, beaten and electrocuted daily, the screams of other tortured prisoners echoing through the halls.
Now on Wednesday, nearly six months after he was inexplicably released from that cell, authorities are set to enter his in-laws’ home in Bahrain — where he is staying with his Bahraini fiancée Zainab — and steer him to prison, for a five-year term for participating in antiregime demonstrations that swept the country beginning in February. At least 30 people have been reported killed in the crackdown.
This is Naser Al-Raas telling his story to Frankie Dolan. It is about 2 hours long, but it is absolutely riveting. His story, in his own words. It is the same story we hear over and over and it is heartbreaking.
Here are other links of interest:
Free Naser blogspot: http://freenaser.blogspot.com
Some of the press on it:
The BICI report is here http://files.bici.org.bh/BICIreportEN.pdfThe Bahrain government had an inquiry into the events of February and March. That was the BICI report. What Naser says happened to him is confirmed by the findings of the report. His case is not unusual. His story is not outlandish. And yet we are doing nothing and the farcical trials continue.
Adding Liberal statement here (on the ball, eh?) Liberal Statement on Canadian Naser al-Raas Being Held in Bahrain
And this article.. by far the best one I have seen for Naser: Injustice in Bahrain
Ottawa was slow to take up Mr. al-Raas’s case. The Canadian embassy in Saudi Arabia is providing conscientious “consular support,” but until earlier this week, the minister responsible, Diane Ablonczy, had only exercised “quiet diplomacy” on his case. When Mr. al-Raas’s family reported him missing to Canadian officials last spring, the Bahraini government replied that he was merely classified as “missing” – even as he was being held and allegedly tortured in Manama. Mr. al-Raas himself has written two letters to the minister, and received no response.”
Updated again: Naser’s conviction was upheld, can’t find anything in our media yet. There’s just these: Alawasat (arabic) http://www.alwasatnews.com/3426/news/read/623879/1.html