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Saudi regime shaken by palace attack, NGOs call to stop executing Bahrainis

Fear is growing in the Western echelons of power about the ability of the present political order in Saudi Arabia to survive, following the events that happened recently in Riyadh. On Saturday evening(21st April) a drone was spotted by the security forces hovering above the king’s palace at AlKhuzami district of Riyadh raising fear of an imminent attack. It was shot down. Soon afterwards, sounds of fire exchanges were heard by many as police cars rushed to the area and closed the nearby roads. It was reported that king Salman had been flown out of his palace to a remote military base “for his own safety”. Nothing has been clarified about what had happened that night. The House of Saud has been in turmoil since crown prince Mohammad bin Salman imposed himself as the de factor ruler of the kingdom.

Meanwhile an international outcry against the Saudi attack on a marriage ceremony in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, has caused severe embarrassment in London and Washington. The targeted attack on Sunday 22ndApril killed sixty people including women and children and injured more than a hundred. It was a deliberate agrression in revenge for the Yemeni missiles aimed at the Riyadh and other cities. This is a war crime that has rattled the international community which has remained silent despite countless similar attacks.

The annual report of published by the US State Department has dealt severe blow to Alkhalifa regime for its gross violations of human rights. It said that the most significant human rights issues included reports of arbitrary or unlawful killings by security forces; torture of detainees and prisoners; harsh and potentially life-threatening conditions of detention; arbitrary arrest and detention; political prisoners; unlawful interference with privacy; restrictions on freedom of expression, including by the press and via the internet; restriction of academic and cultural events; restrictions on the rights of association and assembly; allegations of restrictions on freedom of movement, including arbitrary citizenship revocation; and limits on Shia political participation. The government occasionally prosecuted low-level security force members accused of human rights abuses, following investigations by quasi-governmental institutions. Nonetheless, due to the frequently slow and ineffective nature of investigations, impunity remained a problem. The ruling family issued a statement expressing “regret over the false information contained in the US Department of State’s 2017 report on human rights in the Kingdom”.

Pressure is mounting on Bahrain’s dictator to stop his orders to execute Bahrainis. Both Reprieve, the anti-death campaigning NGO and Amnesty International have called on the dictator to cancel his order of execution. Reprieve issued a petition for this effect. Under the heading “Bahrain: don’t execute victims of torture” it said: Maher Abbas al-Khabbaz was beaten, whipped and electrocuted before he was forced at gunpoint to make a false confession to killing a police officer in 2013. His execution is now imminent, awaiting only a signed death warrant from Bahrain’s King. Last week, Bahrain’s Attorney General recommended that two other men facing imminent execution have their cases retried after Reprieve and other organisations exposed their mistreatment. Will you join us in calling on the Bahraini government to do the same for Maher and other victims of torture facing execution, and ensure that all retrials meet minimum fair trial standards. On 19th April Amnesty International asked people to“write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language: Urging the Bahraini authorities to commute all death sentences and establish an official moratorium on executions; Urging them to order the full retrial of both men, in proceedings that fully comply with international fair trial standards and exclude the use of evidence obtained under torture, and without resort to the death penalty; Urging them to promptly, adequately and effectively investigate their allegations of torture and other ill-treatment.”

On Monday 23rd April Alkhalifa court adjourned the case of Nabeel Rajab until 8th May to consider his appeal against an earlier conviction. Mr Rajab had been condemned to five years for peacefully expressing his opinion and criticising the war on Yemen waged by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Alkhalifa of Bahrain. There is enormous pressure on the ruling family to cancel this conviction and release Mr Rajab.

In continuation of the persecution of the families of martyrs, a regime court has revoked the nationality of six members of the family of Ali AlMo’min who was among the first to be killed by Alkhalifa in February 2011. On 19th April Alkhalifa-appointed “judge” Ali Khalifa Al Dhahrani sentenced four to life imprisonment: Qassim Abdulla Ali AlMo’min, Yasser Ahmad Abdulla AlMo’min, Ali Jaffar Abdulla AlMo’min and Hussain Ahmad Abdulla AlMo’min. Mustafa Ahmad Abdulla Al Mo’min was given five years and Ammar Ahmad Abdulla AlMo’min three years. He also ruled that Bahraini citizenship of the six natives be revoked

Bahrain Freedom Movement

25th April 2018 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

 

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