Apologists for the Bahraini regime claim it is offensive to compare the moderate, pro-western king, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, to the Assads or Gaddafis of this world. They point out that the death toll in Syria is far, far higher than in Bahrain. True, says Khawaja, “[but] one of the things you have to do is look at things per capita. Bahrain’s population is 600,000 and you are looking at 100 people dead. If Bahrain had the same population as, say, Egypt, that’s [equivalent to] more than 11,000 people dead in just a year and a half.” Meanwhile, thousands of Bahrainis languish behind bars on trumped-up, politically motivated charges, including around 90 children under the age of 18. Torture, in the words of the government’s own official inquiry, is “systemic” – detainees have been beaten on their backs and the soles of their feet; deprived of sleep; subjected to sexual assaults, including the insertion of hosepipes and rifle barrels into the anus; forced to urinate on themselves and, in one reported case, eat their own faeces.

more from Mehdi Hasan at The New Statesman here.