Updated 18th February 2012 (scroll to bottom for list)
Tear gas has reportedly been a contributing factor in the deaths of 24 people in Bahrain since February 14th 2011.
On Al Jazeera’s the Stream last week, media attache for the Information Affairs Authority Fahad AlBinali said that ‘tear gassing is out of care and respect for freedom of expression’. He also added that these deaths were claims ‘exaggerated on social media’.
I don’t know if he’s seen these two recent videos that show indiscriminate and excessive firing of tear gas, something that is tantamount to collective punishment.
Original Post – Jan 27th 2012
Amnesty International have finally called for an investigation into the misuse of tear gas in Bahrain. Although it reports the figure of those who have died as a result of tear gas as ‘more than a dozen‘, the figure could actually be about 20. That means out of the 59 extra judicial civilian deaths that have occurred since February 14th 2011 about 1 in 3 have been reportedly been because of tear gas. While there are many who people who doubt the validity of these claims, there is certainly enough evidence to warrant a proper investigation. Indeed, an independent investigation would not only provide a clearer answer as to the circumstances surrounding these deaths, but also give ammunition to those arguing for better regulation of the under-regulated crowd control weapons industry. On a local level, it would provide a definite figure that would prevent the proliferation of accusations and rumours relating to the integrity of such claims. The purpose of this blog is to just provide an updated list of those reported to have died from tear gas in some form or other. Again, bear in mind that not all of these cases are clear cut, and I suggest you look at this excellent wikipedia entry. It documents in detail all the extra judicial deaths that have occurred since February 14th 2011. Most of it has been compiled by @billmarczak ‘s and is extremely thorough.
I have documented extensively the dangers of tear gas in several blogs. I recommend you read this one to get a good insight into how the non-lethal/less lethal aspect of tear gas is a misnomer. For others posts on tear gas in Bahrain go here and here.
List of deaths in which tear gas is reported to have been a contributing factor