What to Expect after the Slapping Incident?
On 23 December 2012, a policeman slapped the citizen Haider Abdulrasool
while carrying his son in Aali. A video clip of this spread quickly
on You Tube as well as on Arab and foreign TV channels. It was also
strongly condemned by local and international media as well as human
rights organizations which saw the incident as undermining human
dignity and ethically unjustifiable.
It is evident that such behaviour is unacceptable and presents
a negative picture of the security institution in Bahrain. The incident
was a blow to all Bahraini citizens, officials and human dignity.
This incident pushed the Government to take action and immediately
arrest the policeman who was referred to the military court. This
is according to the Ministry of Interior which stressed that such
behaviour is not acceptable from a policeman and that it is investigating
The Minister of Interior, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa,
stated that the video clip which was broadcasted online and shows
violations taking place by a security man is a case which relates
to dignity and humanity. It also damages the reputation of other
sincere security men and does not reflect the Ministry’s strategy.
He also added that the incident portrayed security men negatively
and ordered the establishment of a committee headed by the Chief
of Public Security in order to limit and address th? violations.
The Chief of Public Security, Tariq al-Hassan, stated that everyone
agrees that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and cannot be
justified especially from a policeman. This is against the law and
condemned by all groups.
The victim stated to the press that he recognised the man who
slapped him but that there was another man who insulted and assaulted
him but is not shown in the clip. He added that he met the Governor
of the Central Province, Mubarak al-Fadl who assured him that he
would get justice. On another level, the lawyer, Mirvet Janahi,
stated that the video is clear and confirms that Haider did nothing
provocative and that he is a very peaceful individual; witnesses
are not needed to prove this.
It should be noted that security officials adopted the police
Code of Conduct as instructed by Bassiouni’s report. Several workshops
have taken place to train the police force, improve their performance
and introduce them to human rights. The incident has proved that
such violations do occur and should be dealt with swiftly. Legal
procedures should also be taken in order to deter others from committing
such violations and prevent a schism between the police and citizens.
The procedures that were taken by the Ministry of Interior against
the policeman were swift which is positive. This is important as
such violations have a negative effect on both the police force
and the general security situation- especially as such clips provoke
strong emotional reactions from the public.
Adhering to the Code of Conduct is very important for Bahrain’s
reputation at a time where Government apparatus is trying hard to
improve their image and take tangible steps to reform the situation.
It is obvious that such behaviour can easily be manipulated during
political conflicts and can deepen disunity in the country. We have
seen that this incident was used politically by both the Loyalists
and the Opposition. It is important to avoid the occurrence of such
violations and implement the law vigorousl? so that such cases do
not become an additional factor in the political and social division.