For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Brenda Bowser-Soder, Human Rights First
202-370-3323 |

Bahrain Arms Sale to Proceed Despite Ongoing Abuses

WASHINGTON - Human Rights First says today’s news that the U.S. government plans to proceed with a large, multi-million dollar arms sale to Bahrain despite the regime’s ongoing crackdown on human rights exposes the U.S. Government’s lack of political will to exert pressure on the dictatorship.

“This sale is completely out of step with the United States’ stated commitment to reform in Bahrain,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley, who recently returned from the Kingdom and authored a new report released this week, Bahrain’s Reforms: No Backdown on Crackdown.

The arms sale – the full details of which have yet to be made public, but which supersedes a $53 million announced last year – is now to proceed despite the lack of human rights reform in Bahrain. The previous $53 million sale was halted last October when members of Congress expressed concern about rewarding the dictatorship with weapons. At that time, the State Department assured Congress that it would take into account progress of human rights reforms in Bahrain before proceeding with the sale. Dooley’s new report reveals how attacks on human rights activists are continuing and the regime’s commitment to reform is superficial at best.

“The U.S. can be in no doubt about the reality of the repression in Bahrain,” said Dooley. “Prominent human rights defenders are being harassed and jailed. Trials of medics convicted for treating injured protestors continue after tortured confessions. The police are still beating and tear gassing people. Where is the progress that warrants the reward of arms? This new sale will only damage U.S. credibility among those working for democracy in Bahrain and across the Middle East.”

To speak with Dooley about today’s sale, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at or 202-370-3323.


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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

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