LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Advocate reform in Bahrain

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S. Rob Sobhani’s May 20 opinion piece (“Standing steadfast with Bahrain”) rightly notes that Bahrain needs stability, but his call for the United States to shore up the current Bahraini dictatorship is off base.

Mr. Sobhani’s piece fails to mention that the Bahraini Cabinet recently pledged to stop U.S. Ambassador Thomas Krajeski from “interfering in domestic affairs” and canceled (for the second year in a row) a planned visit by the U.N. special rapporteur on torture. Bahrain also is intensifying its crackdown on those calling for human rights reform, and it continues to jail many political prisoners, including the six men it recently incarcerated for criticizing the king on Twitter.

The United States should insist that senior Bahraini government officials be held accountable for torture and other human rights violations. That’s what Bahrainis need. The best way to ensure the kingdom’s stability isn’t by shoring up its increasingly volatile regime, but by advocating widespread fundamental reform.


Director, Human Rights Defenders Program

Human Rights First

Washington, D.C.

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