STATEMENTS

Outrage at Saudi-Alkhalifa support of Israel, 115 Bahrainis made stateless

The US State Department is taking new steps toward a massive, multibillion-dollar sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This includes tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions from Raytheon, the same company that was involved in producing the weapons used in last month’s strike. Reuters reported in November that Saudi Arabia had agreed to buy $7 billion in precision-guided weapons from U.S.-based companies Raytheon and Boeing. Raytheon was “courting lawmakers and the State Department to allow it to sell 60,000 precision-guided munitions to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” according to the New York Times. The sale is likely to face stiff opposition in the Senate, where members have grown increasingly frustrated with the U.S. role in the devastating conflict in Yemen. Last June, the Senate almost rejected a similar sale of precision-guided weapons, but ultimately approved it by a narrow margin.

Anger is boiling in the Arab world against the evil alliance comprising Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and “Israel” who had paid America hundreds of billions to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement. The decision to withdraw had emboldened the Israelis first to attack Syria and then massacre more than 70 Palestinians. Alkhalifa foreign minister added salt to the injury when he openly supported Israeli crimes.

In one of the most outrageous crimes in recent history in the Gulf, Alkhalifa court in Bahrain revoked the citizenship of 115 native Bahrainis and gave 53 of them life sentences on trumpeted charges. This case pertains to Bahrain’s allegation in 2015 that “they had set up the Zulfiqar Brigades to destabilize the kingdom”. Regime’s mouthpieces said 138 people had been falsely accused of “being behind a number of explosions, possession of explosives and training in the use of weapons and explosives and the attempted murder of police officers”. Fifty-three defendants were sentenced to life terms and 62 others to between three and 15 years in prison, they said.  “This outrageously harsh sentence is setting a new level of injustice in Bahrain. Rendering people stateless in a mass trial is a clear violation of international law. This is the worst verdict on the record”, said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, an activist with London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD).The latest ruling brought to 717 the number of Bahrainis stripped of their citizenship since 2012, he said in a statement, adding that there had been 213 cases this year alone. The sentences reflect a regime in serious political trouble and deep psychological trauma.

In one of the most severe blows to Bahrain’s tyrant came yesterday from Peter Ford, who was British Ambassador to Bahrain 1999-2002. He announced his resignation from his position as adviser to the royal Charity Organisation of Bahrain, in protest at Alkhalifa’s new-found support for Israel. Peter Ford told 21st Century Wire: “This is the latest step in the downward path Bahrain has been taking recently, distancing itself from its previous staunch support for Palestinian and Arab rights. The exchange of fire was started by Israel and not Iran, in a transparent design to provoke an Iranian reaction following President Trump’s decision to end the Iran nuclear deal. I find the Bahraini position even harder to understand coming at the same time as the transfer of the US Embassy to the holy city of Jerusalem, which will clearly give Israel encouragement to be belligerent and must be condemned.”

A new report by Reprieve and Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) exposing, for the first time, the full involvement of UK-funded and trained institutions in torture and the death penalty in Bahrain was launched yesterday. It said that the UK’s Foreign Office had spent over £5 million since 2012 on a programme of security and justice assistance to Bahrain. In that time, executions have resumed, the number of men on death row has tripled, and peaceful protesters have been abducted, tortured into false confessions and sentenced to death in sham trials. British complicity in this repression includes training guards at a prison where inmates are regularly tortured, training an ombudsman who repeatedly misled foreign governments about whether complaints about torture had been made, and training an inspector of prisons who ignored credible allegations of torture. Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve said: “A Global Britain should be proudly promoting human rights and the rule of law, not undermining them in secret. Despite having direct evidence that British-funded training may have contributed to torture and the death penalty in Bahrain, ministers are continuing their funding to that country’s oppressive Government. The only way for the public to be confident their money is not leading to abuses abroad is for the Government to publish a full and transparent account of projects we are funding, and the human rights risk assessments for each.”

Bahrain’s dictator has also been angered and frustrated by the negative exposure and protests against his attendance at the Royal Windsor Horse Show last weekend. On Saturday 12th May, activists from several NGOs gathered near the entrance of the Show chanting anti-regime slogans and calling on the British government to stop supporting the regime. Two of them managed to enter the show but were stopped by plain-clothed security officers. A bus and a van with slogans against his visit also roamed London streets.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

16th May 2018 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

 

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