November 14, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was right to criticize the “mass arrests and brute force” used by Bahraini security forces toward protesters [“Clinton defends U.S. stance on Syria, Bahrain,” news story, Nov. 8]. But in her full comments before the National Democratic Institute in Washington, she was quick to repeat the Bahraini government’s assurance that it will hold accountable “those who cross lines in responding to civil unrest.”

So far, no one in the Bahraini government has been prosecuted for the many shooting deaths of protesters, and no one is being held accountable for countless allegations of torture. While an investigation is underway, the real question is whether there will be accountability for those who pulled the trigger — and for those who may have given the orders to do so.

Bahraini critics of the monarchy are still living in fear; it is inaccurate to suggest otherwise. Now the U.S. government wants to sell Bahrain $53 million in additional weapons and military equipment, including more armored vehicles. This after the Bahraini government used tanks to surround a hospital and arrested doctors and nurses who had been treating victims of its crackdown.

Sanjeev Bery, Washington

The writer is Middle East and North Africa advocacy director at Amnesty International USA.