In Bahrain, a 22-year-old activist died Sunday after taking part in protests against the execution of two men despite calls from human rights groups and the United Nations to halt their killings. The young man’s cause of death is unknown, though activists say there were clashes with police during Saturday’s protests. Local authorities have said he died of natural causes.
The two executed men were convicted in a mass trial on terror charges last year, but human rights advocates say confessions were obtained through torture. Speaking to Al Jazeera, a Bahraini activist linked the timing of the executions to the recent announcement by the U.S. government that it was reinstating the federal death penalty. Maryam Alkhawaja said, “Gulf states always feel they need a green light to commit the violence they commit. If the U.S. is going to start federal executions again, the Bahrain government feels it has the green light to do the same.”
Meanwhile, in Britain, an activist who staged a protest against the executions Friday night on the roof of the Bahraini Embassy in London reportedly had to be rescued by British police after he was seized by embassy staff. The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, which organized the action, says that embassy staffers tried to throw the demonstrator off the roof and that he could be heard screaming after being apprehended. British authorities say they were not able to verify that account.