By Mick Krever, CNN
Thor Halvorssen started with an idea: “We need to get him out.”
The target: Bahraini activist Ali Abdulemam, who for years had been in and out of government detention for his reform-agitating website.
Halvorssen, founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum, realized that the only way to get Abdulemam out alive would be to smuggle him.
“It wasn’t so much as having one plan, as it was having a plan that would have many, many options built in,” Halvorssen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.
He and his team consulted a member of the Danish Special Forces, he said.
Their original plan bears a striking resemblance to the Oscar-lauded political thriller Argo: Send an entourage of celebrity entertainers to Bahrain, get Abdulemam into the mix, and sneak him out on a private jet.
The Amanpour program recently covered the ongoing stalemate in Bahrain between the constitutional monarchy government and protesters (click here to watch the complete program). We repeatedly invited Bahraini government officials onto the program, with little success so far. We did receive an email statement from the Bahraini ambassador to the United States, Houda Ezra Nonoo:
The Kingdom of Bahrain has enacted many significant initiatives and reforms in the year since the BICI report was issued. These measures are aimed at improving government accountability; establishing independent offices to safeguard human rights and investigate and prosecute cases of alleged police mistreatment; the reinstatement of workers; the implementation of new training programs for police and security officials; improving transparency in law enforcement and the courts and prioritizing social and economic reconciliation, among others.
This progress was initiated in response to the recommendations in the BICI report and as a result of the government’s determination to continue ongoing reforms that began over 10 years.
These many reforms were undertaken by the Government of Bahrain despite the opposition’s refusal to discuss, collaborate, participate or contribute to the resolutions of the most important issues of our time.
The opposition is not interested in a dialog. They have refused to participate in discussions about reforms despite repeated invitations. Members of Parliament who disagreed with the government have resigned rather than worked for change.
The nightly demonstrations in the street have become violent affairs, more like riots than peaceful protests. There has been unnecessary loss of life and property because of this violence. This violence has adversely affected lives of security forces and citizens, public and private property, as well as the progress of reform and reconciliation.
Ongoing reforms by the Government of Bahrain stem out of our commitment to consolidate the rule of law and reinforce human rights.