DC law firm defends Bahrain on human rights crackdown

Justin Elliot reports:

The Bahraini government’s brutal crackdown on a Shiite protest movement has shifted from the public scenes of police attacking protesters in the streets to the detention and prosecution of opposition figures and doctors.

And now the Bahraini regime has inked a contract with a high-priced Washington law firm to help fight a labor complaint filed by the AFL-CIO about an under-reported aspect of the crackdown: the firing of hundreds of workers and union leaders for participating in strikes and other pro-democracy actions. Sorini, Samet & Associates will be paid at a rate as high as $550 per hour, plus expenses, to help Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs lobby against the April complaint submitted by the AFL-CIO under the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement.

The firm will help Bahrain craft a response to the allegations of human rights violations, support the regime’s “engagement of U.S. administration officials and members of Congress,” and help reach out to “think tanks and scholars … and the media,” according to a foreign agents registration filing from late last month.

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