Last summer a number of opposition groups, which are officially illegal in Bahrain, jointly called for a boycott of upcoming elections in the tiny Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain, a staunch US military ally. Among a number of claims, the groups cited a pattern of vote rigging, corruption, “the absence of international and local monitoring" and the “legalization of dictatorship.”
Eager to maintain an aura of democracy for the outside world, the Bahraini government responded with a harsh crackdown on opposition groups. Some two dozen human rights activists, opposition members, dissident clerics and critical bloggers were arrested almost immediately and charged (among many things) with “forming an authorized group which incites to overthrow the government.”
The 23 defendants have been brutally tortured, for months on end, ever since
Meanwhile, a snowballing legal drama involving a veritable revolution of lawyers has been unfolding. The detainees' legal team quit in protest over their client's treatment, then the government appointed new lawyers to represent them, then they quit, and on and on.
Bahraini human rights activists are calling on supporters all over the world to put pressure on the government of Bahrain to release the detainees and launch an immediate investigation into allegations that they have been tortured and sexually abused by national security officials.