Torture of dissidents in Bahrain enabled by Nokia Siemens, charges Bloomberg report

In Bloomberg Magazine, a damning report that links surveillance and torture of dissidents in Bahrain with Siemens AG and Nokia Siemens Networks. The report focuses on the interrogation and brutal abuse of Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar:

First, Bahraini jailers armed with stiff rubber hoses beat the 39-year-old school administrator and human rights activist in a windowless room two stories below ground in the Persian Gulf kingdom’s National Security Apparatus building. Then, they dragged him upstairs for questioning by a uniformed officer armed with another kind of weapon: transcripts of his text messages and details from personal mobile phone conversations, he says.

If he refused to sufficiently explain his communications, he was sent back for more beatings, says Al Khanjar, who was detained from August 2010 to February.

“It was amazing,” he says of the messages they obtained. “How did they know about these?”

The answer: Computers loaded with Western-made surveillance software generated the transcripts wielded in the interrogations described by Al Khanjar and scores of other detainees whose similar treatment was tracked by rights activists, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its October issue.

The spy gear in Bahrain was sold by Siemens AG (SIE), and maintained by Nokia Siemens Networks and NSN’s divested unit, Trovicor GmbH, according to two people whose positions at the companies gave them direct knowledge of the installations. Both requested anonymity because they have signed nondisclosure agreements. The sale and maintenance contracts were also confirmed by Ben Roome, a Nokia Siemens spokesman based in Farnborough, England.

Read: Torture in Bahrain Aided by Nokia Siemens - Bloomberg.

NSN has a statement out responding to the Bloomberg report.

The article alleges that a monitoring center was supplied by a Siemens business that subsequently became part of Nokia Siemens Networks when it was formed in 2007. Nokia Siemens Networks subsequently divested this monitoring center business in March 2009 and no longer provides this technology to any country.

Nokia Siemens Networks is aware of allegations that monitoring centers, used around the world by virtually every government for legitimate law enforcement purposes, have been abused in some countries.

Nokia Siemens Networks has stated clearly that such abuse, if it has occurred, is wrong and is contrary to its Code of Conduct and accepted international norms. The company condemns such misuse.

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