STATEMENTS

Corbyn renews calls for Saudi arms embargo as Alkhalifa punish Bahrainis

On Monday 16th April UK’s Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn stunned many Members of Parliament when he asked the Theresa May whether she would stop arms supplies to Saudi Arabia. He was pressing her to accept that any future involvement in wars should be done only after consulting the parliament.  He had objected to the attack on Syria last Saturday by USA, UK and France. “We clearly need a War Powers Act in this country to transform a now broken convention into a legal obligation.” He said. Mr Corbyn added: “Her predecessor came to this House to seek authority for military action in Libya and in Syria in 2015, and the House had a vote over Iraq in 2003. Then Mr Corbyn asked: “Will the Prime Minister commit today to ending support to the Saudi bombing campaign and arms sales to Saudi Arabia?”

Human rights campaigners in UK have begun an attempt to overturn a high court judgment that allows the British government to continue to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) brought the case against Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, seeking permission to appeal against a decision last July that granting licences for the export of arms from the UK to Saudi Arabia was not unlawful. CAAT has warned that British weapons could be used to kill or injure Yemeni civilians. Since the bombing of the war-torn country began in March 2015, the UK has licensed £4.6bn of arms to the Saudi regime, including £2.7bn of ML10 licences for aircraft, helicopters and drones, and £1.9bn of ML4 licences for grenades, bombs and missiles. Last month, Unicef reported that thousands of children had been killed during the conflict. The protesters claim that the decision to grant the licences breached UK arms export policy, which states that the licences cannot be granted if there is a “clear risk” the arms might be used in a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

The behaviour of the Yemen occupiers has raised serious concerns among human rights bodies. Yesterday, Human Rights Watch issued a statement titled: “Yemen: Detained African Migrants Tortured, Raped”. It said: Yemeni government officials have tortured, raped, and executed migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in a detention center in the southern port city of Aden. Former detainees told Human Rights Watch that guards beat them with steel bars and sticks, whipped them, kicked and punched them, threatened to kill or deport them, sexually assaulted them, and fatally shot at least two men. Male guards forced women to take off their abayas (full-length robes) and headscarves. They took migrants’ money, personal belongings, and documents provided by the United Nations refugee agency. “Guards at the migrant detention center in Aden have brutally beaten men, raped women and boys, and sent hundreds out to sea in overloaded boats,” said Bill Frelick, refugee rights director at Human Rights Watch. “The crisis in Yemen provides zero justification for this cruelty and brutality”.

Meanwhile in Bahrain, human rights violation have continued unabated. On 17th April Alkhalifa courts passed harsh prison sentences on several native Bahrainis calling for democratic transformation. Sayed Majeed Al Mahfood, 16, from Al Na’aim District was given three years in addition to two years passed earlier. Seven others from the same area were given prison terms between 3 and seven years. From AlDaih Town three natives were given seven years: Abdalla AlMutawwa’, Hussain Jassim and Ammar AlSadadi. The homes of four Bahrainis executed at sea in February have been raided by regime’s forces. The families of Maitham Ali Ibrahim, Sayed Mahmood Adel, Hassan AlBahrani and Sayed Qassim Khalil were subjected to horrific treatment, searched, intimidated and interrogated about their loved ones who attempted to flee Alkhalifa repression. The regime acknowledged that its coastguards had sprayed their boat with bullets. The bodies of the four victims were subsequently found by Iranian coastguards.

The health of Nabeel Rajab has deteriorated over the past few days, but the torture apparatus insists on denying him medical treatment. He has been suffering from various ailments including back and stomach pain. He is a prominent human rights activist, jailed for expressing an opinion against the continued Saudi-led aggression on Yemen in which Alkhalifa mercenaries are participating.

Numerous reports from Bahrain’s prisons have confirmed that young political inmates are being subjected to sexual harassment. Several have told their families of their ordeals as the regime continued its attempts to break the will of the native Bahrainis who are calling for fundamental political change and democratic transformation. Two days ago several inmates were beaten up by Alkhalifa torturers. Sadiq Al Ghasra, Mohammad Al Ghasra and Sadiq AlAsfoor were subjected to horrific ordeal of torture for urging the prisoners to stage a hunger strike in protest at the deteriorating prison conditions. They were transferred to solitary confinement as their wounds continued to bleed.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

18th April 2018 (info@vob.orgwww.vob.org
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