STATEMENTS

Calls to support Canada against Saudi threats, Bahraini detainees attacked

There is widespread disenchantment at the failure of Western governments to stand up even to their own allies when they are aggrieved by Saudi Arabia On 14th September Agence France Press (AFP) broadcast a report on this issue saying: Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic brawl with Canada has exposed what Western officials call “new red lines” in their engagement with the oil-rich kingdom, deterring nations from publicly criticising its human rights record. A furious Saudi Arabia last month expelled Canada’s ambassador and froze all new trade after Ottawa denounced a crackdown on activists in the Gulf state, in an increasingly combative approach to international censure. Canada has refused to give ground, vowing to always stand up for human rights globally, even as diplomats say high-level negotiations are ongoing between the two countries to resolve differences. But Canada appears to be standing alone. AFP quoted an anonymous Western official saying: “We are trying to understand: Can we still do critical tweets from foreign ministries in our capitals? What’s going to get you PNG’d?” the official added, referring to the expelled Canadian envoy being declared persona non grata by Saudi government.

Last week a Saudi human rights activist who had sought refuge in the UK said that he had been attacked in a London street by men shouting slogans in support of the Saudi regime. Ghanem al-Dosari, who is known for satirical YouTube videos ridiculing the Saudi royals, had been for coffee with a friend near Harrods and posted a Snapchat to his followers that revealed his location. His friend Alan Bender, a Canadian businessman, said the pair accused Mr al-Dosari of being a “slave of Qatar” which is embroiled in a political crisis with the Saudi government and threatened to “teach him a lesson”.

The conditions inside the notorious Alkhalifa prisons are becoming increasingly intolerable. Skin diseases, especially scabies, cancers and other infectious diseases are widespread. In Block 4 of Jau Prison many inmates have developed scabies. In Block 2 at least 14 inmates have been isolated after the spread of the disease. When the prisoners expressed anger and frustration a senior official named as Bader Al Ruwaiei led vicious attacks and torture on them. A mercenary foreign torturer threatened native Bahraini prisoner Ali Sangoor saying: I will behead you. He was also attacked in his cell by another torturer; Amin Abdul Rabb. On 12th September Al Ruwaiei and five other torturers attacked Sayed Mohammad Salman, 27, from Duraz Town after he had been transferred to solitary confinement. He is being held at Block 4 of the prison. Another inmate, Abdulla Al Ujaimi, from Karranah Town, was also attacked and seriously injured by the notorious torturer. Another torturer is Jaber Saif Eddin who took part in the torture sessions. Human Rights activists have urged UK’s Prison Inspection Team which is training these torturers to immediately inspect the cameras in those torture chambers and bring torturers to justice. It is unacceptable that the UK’s name is smeared because of the support given to an unworthy criminal regime. Native Bahraini prisoners are taking desperate measures to stop these crimes including hunger strikes. Ali Hajji has now completed four weeks on hunger strike. On 15thSeptember, another inmate, Mohammad Mirza started a second round of hunger strike to protest the denial of medical care that he urgently needed. After his first round of hunger strike he was promised medical care but the torturers have reneged on their promise.

As the regime’s policy of ethnic and religious cleansing takes root, the religious rituals of the majority native population have been targeted in vicious ways. In the past few days, several scholars, lecturers, orators and lamentors were summoned by the regime’s torturers, threatened with jail and told to accept the ISIS-oriented religious culture that has been adopted by Alkhalifa regime. Among those summoned are: Sayed MohyiEddin Al Mash’al, Sheikh Munir Al Ma’tooq and Sheikh Bashar Al Aali. Three other lecturers were remanded in custody for 15 days for delivering religious lectures related to Imam Hussain, a revered Shia Muslim figure and grandson of Prophet Mohammad. Sayed Majid Al Sahlawi, Sheikh Yassin Al Jamri and Sheikh Hani Al Banna were summoned, interrogated and detained. One of the most popular orators, Mahdi Sahwan has also been summoned and banned from leading the Hussaini religious processions.

This trend of physical attacks on native Bahraini has led to vilence on women political prisoners. Yesterday, Mrs Hajer Mansoor, Madina Ali and Najah Yousuf were attacked at Isa Town Prison. A team of torturers led by Mariam Al Bardouli waged the aggression on those women who suffer serious ailments. Mrs Hajer Mansoor was seen crying at her cell as her sugar in the blood dropped to dangerous levels. She was immediately rushed to hospital. The women were lamenting the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and the ill-treatment of women by Umayyad dynasty in 680 AD. Madina Ali had addressed the ongoing session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, read on her behalf by an officer with the Americans for Human Rights and Democracy in Bahrain (ADHRB).

Bahrain Freedom Movement

19th September 2018 (info@vob.org, www. Vob.org)

 

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