STATEMENTS

Pakistanis join Saudi quagmire in Yemen, Rajab given 5 years for tweets

The Saudi-led war on Yemen is bringing the aggressors to their knees. Yesterday at least 12 UAE troops were killed in an attack by the Yemeni forces. This is in addition to the political backlash resulting from the changing objectives of the war on Yemen. The Saudis and Emiratis are now seen by most Yemenis as occupiers while the government of Abd Rabbo Mansoor Hadi is becoming irrelevant. The Saudis are showing signs of fatigue. Despite the support from several other countries, they have now asked Pakistan to send troops to replenish their forces which are suffering huge losses. The prospect of a Pakistani deployment to Saudi Arabia has been under discussion for some time between Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the primary mover behind the Yemeni campaign in March 2015, who met with General Bajwa in Riyadh earlier this month. The Army’s announcement has spurred a domestic political crisis, with the opposition accusing the government of defying the parliament-sanctioned neutrality declaration. Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has been threatened with “contempt of parliament” proceedings, after refusing to clarify the contours of the new deployment. Pakistan’s powerful military has historically steered the country’s foreign and security policy, especially with Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile preparations by activists to disrupt MBS’s visit to London in March are gathering pace.

Four Bahraini young men were summarily executed and their bodies dumped at sea. Sayed Qassim Darwish, 23, Maitham Ali Ibrahim, 22, Sayed Mahmoud Kadhem, 22 and Hassan Ali Abbas Al Bahrani, 25 had left Bahrain in a small boat two weeks ago, but the bodies of three of them were found recently at Iranian shores. Their boat was found in the vicinity with bullet holes on its sides. The cause of the death has not been established. They are believed to have been caught by Bahrain’s coastguards who summarily executed them before escorting them to the international waters. One year earlier, three young native Bahrainis were killed in their boat; Redha Al Ghasra, Mahmoud Yahya and Mustafa Yousuf. There is an outcry in the country at the spate of killings and bloody violence perpertrated by the Alkhalifa tribal rule.

The 7th anniversary of the 14th February Revolution has been marked with countrywide protests, strikes and demonstrations. In one day alone there were 66 protests and more than 150 human rights violations by the regime.Lights were switched off in most places and shops were closed. At least seven protests were attacked with shotguns, chemical and tear gases. Nine people sustained shotgun wounds at Abu Saaiba, Sitra, AlMusalla and AlDaih. The Revolution has been re-invigorated as the fortunes of Alkhalifa and the occupation forces of the Saudi and Emirati armies began to dwindle. Exiled Bahrainis have also marked the occasion with protests, press conferences and seminars in London, Berlin, Brussels and Washington.

Today, the most prominent human rights activist in the Middle East has been sentenced to five years jail. Nabeel Rajab is accused of three “crimes”: rejecting the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen, criticizing the Saudis for their crimes and exposing Alkhalifa crimes at the notorious Jau prison. The decision by the dictator to persecute Mr Rajab brings the total sentence to seven years. The human rights world has been united in calling for Mr Rajab’s acquittal but the regime has not heeded these calls. Bahrain’s tyrant has been emboldened by the US-UK support of his dictatorial rule. At least 25 UK MPs have openly asked Boris Johnson to demand Nabeel’s release. In the past few weeks 16 million people signed petitions calling for Mr Rajab’s release in 177 cities and 45 countries.

The family of one of the first martyrs of the 14thFebruary Revolution has appealed to the world to take steps to protect his family from liquidation for refusing to forgive his killers. Yesterday the father of Abdul Redha Bu Hamid said that he feared for the lives of his family members after two of his sons had been abducted by masked members of Alkhalifa Death Squads. Last week his son, Ali, was detained. The other son, Hassan was snatched yesterday. Fathers of other martyrs are in hiding or exile.

An international media watchdog group says the Arab Gulf state of Bahrain has revoked the citizenship of seven journalists and social media activists since a wave of anti-government protests broke out seven years ago. Last week Reporters Without Borders said, on the anniversary of the 2011 uprising, that Bahraini authorities have used this form of penalty with the aim of pressuring media outlets to essentially “toe the government line.” More than 550 people have been stripped of their citizenship since 2012, according to rights groups. Bahrain’s government has tried dozens of activists on the island with 15 journalists and citizen-journalists currently imprisoned in Bahrain. Authorities have also shuttered the independent Al Wasat newspaper. RSF ranks Bahrain 164 out of 180 countries on its World Press Freedom Index.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

21st February 2018 (info@vob.orgwww.vob.org)

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