A Shia Muslim Chemistry teacher is being hailed as a hero today in Pakistan for his efforts to protect his students during a deadly terrorist attack. Syed Hamid Hussain, an assistant professor of chemistry at the Bacha Khan University of Charsadda, attacked three Taliban gunmen as they approached his classroom and made it possible for his students to escape. According to student accounts, Hussain first ordered his students to stay inside the classroom and as the Taliban gunmen approached the department he jumped out of the classroom and shot at them before being killed. The students used this opportunity to escape the school. At least 21 people would be killed in this school near the city of Peshawar. Peshawar is the site of another deadly terrorist attack at a military school that killed over 100 children.
Since the beginning of the year, Bahrain has sentenced numerous political dissidents to staggering jail sentences and this week was no different. News has emerged from the island kingdom on January 17th that since the beginning of the year, 82 Bahrainis from the village of Bilad Al-Qadeem were sentenced to a total of 911 years in prison. This includes 45 prisoners who are serving more than five years each. Notable Shia opposition clerics are among those sentenced such as Sheikh Ali Salman, Sheikh Abdul Jalil Al-Moqdad, Sheikh Mohammed Habib Al-Miqdad and Sheikh Mizra Al- Mahroos.
Later in the week on January 20th, news emerged that the High Criminal Court of Manama sentenced 17 year old Ahmad al-Arab to an additional 10 years in prison on charges of protesting the regime and alleged terror acts, raising his total sentence to 130 years in prison. Furthermore the court has ruled that Ahmad Al-Arab will be stripped of his citizenship upon release, when his is 147 years old. Charges of protesting the regime and terror acts are charges regularly handed down to political dissidents in an attempt to intimidate protestors who voice their discontent with the ruling government.
On the same day, the High Criminal Court of Bahrain sentenced 23 people to 10 years in prison each over their alleged involvement in an attack on security forces and unlawful assembly in the village of Bani Jamra. According to Bahraini media, the accused detonated explosives that were intended to kill members of the security forces.
Shia Rights Watch strongly condemns the systematic oppression of Shia Muslims in the country. The encroachment upon the free speech and assembly of Bahraini citizens through unlawful detainment displays character that is out of line with the standards of the international community. The time has come for the release of all political prisoners and an independent review of government and police practices against Shia Muslims.