WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States renewed military assistance to Bahrain despite that country’s human rights violations in order to maintain security in the region, human rights attorney Abbe Jolles told Sputnik.
“The United States is clearly opposed to human rights violations cited in the [2015 annual State Department Human Rights] report and they will continue to press the [Bahrain] government, but not at the expense of security in the region,” Jolles said on Tuesday.
Jolles is a Washington, DC-based international human rights lawyer who has represented Bahraini prisoners, including Bahrain’s Forum for Human Rights President Nabil Rajab.
However, the State Department acknowledged the human rights situation in Bahrain was still “inadequate.” It added that the small Gulf nation has committed serious human rights abuses, including torture, and is persecuting political and human rights activists.
Bahrain is a US ally in the Persian Gulf region and is the home port for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
The United States imposed a ban on security assistance after Bahrain’s al-Khalifa regime cracked down on peaceful protesters demanding reforms in 2011, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds.
Protesters have demanded a parliamentary system independent of Bahrain’s royal family.