Bahrain: death of 16-year-old protestor must be investigated

The death of a teenage protester in Bahrain last night must be independently investigated and the findings made public, Amnesty International has said today.

Ahmed al-Jaber al-Qatan, 16, was shot while participating in an anti-government protest near the capital Manama after anti-riot police used shotguns and sound bombs to disperse protestors.

Al-Qatan, from the village of al-Shakhora near Manama, was hit by shotgun pellets during the protest in the nearby village of Abu-Saeiba’. He was taken to the International Hospital, a private hospital in al-Badi’e, west of Manama, where he died soon afterwards. The Bahraini authorities reportedly said an investigation has been initiated into the death, following a report by the Public Prosecution’s forensic experts that Ahmed al-Jaber al-Qatan had been shot dead.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:

"The tragic death of Ahmed al-Jaber al-Qatan must be independently investigated and those responsible must be brought to justice.

"If it is found that security forces have opened fire on peaceful protesters when they were not in a life-threatening situation - that would be yet again another unacceptable case of excessive use of force”.

This latest death brings the number of casualties in anti-government protests to at least 35. It comes two days after Bahrain’s Public Prosecutor ordered a re-trial before a civilian court of 20 doctors and other health workers sentenced for treating injured activists during pro-reform protests.

At least 500 people have been detained in Bahrain since pro-reform protests began in February and four have died in custody in suspicious circumstances. More than 2,500 people have been dismissed or suspended from work.
 

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