STATEMENTS

Pressure mounts on Saudis; Life sentence on AlWefaq’s leader

As the pressure on the Saudi government to confess the extent of their crime in Jamal Khashoggi’s murder continues, new revelations have shocked the world. Turkish sources said that the dismembered remains of the victim had been dissolved in acid. Meanwhile international writers have reacted in their own way. Actress Meryl Streep and author JK Rowling have signed a letter to UN over death of Jamal Khashoggi. More than 100 writers, actors and activists have signed the open letter urging the UN to launch an independent investigation into his gruesome murder. The murder of Khashoggi had alerted the world to the ongoing Saudi-led aggression on \Yemen. Despite calls for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire both US and UK have refused to stop arms supplies to the Saudis and Emiratis.

A Saudi writer has been killed under torture. Turki bin Abdul Aziz Al Jasser died few days after his arrest last March. He was pinpointed as the author of critical tweets by Saudi agents within Twitter’s regional office in Dubai. They have access to the servers that contain the personal information of the users.

Bahrain’s dictator has ordered the imposition of a life sentence on Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of AlWefaq Society. This is one of the most outrageous of his decisions. Sheikh Salman had previously been acquitted of the trumpeted charges leveled against him by the regime’s prosecutor last year. He has already served four years for criticizing the regime and calling for reforms.

While the US State Department expressed outrage UK’s foreign office minister, Alistair Burt, said: I am very concerned about the life sentence handed down by the Appeals Court of Bahrain today to Sheikh Ali Salman, in addition to the sentence he is currently serving.  The lukewarm reaction by the FCO has disappointed many people who thought it would call for the immediate acquittal of Sheikh Ali Salman, as the case against him is simply not true. He is accused of links with and spying for Qatar, following a failed mediation initiative by Qatar’s foreign minister in 2011 to solve the political crisis. Alkhalfa were aware of the initiative and part of it. It took them six years to make up the charges. Qatar’s Government has protested Alkhalifa attempt to involve it in their internal crisis.

Amnesty International has labelled the sentence “travesty of justice” and said: Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. “The Bahraini authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Sheikh Ali Salman and quash his politically motivated conviction and sentence”. It further added: “The international community’s silence on the continued crackdown on dissent must also come to an end. Instead of ignoring criticism of Bahrain’s human rights record, the country’s political allies must use their influence to push for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain”.

Fears are growing for the safety of an opposition figure who may be handed to Bahrain’s torture regime by the German authorities.  Three years ago Sheikh Ahmad Nawwar had applied for political asylum as he would face jail, torture and possibly execution if he returned to the country. Last month the Dutch authorities handed Ali Al Shuwaikh to the Alkhalifa torturers after rejecting his asylum application. Upon his return he was detained, tortured and disappeared. Nothing has been heard about him since..

On 4th November regime’s brutal forces raided the house of a sick man, snatched him and took him to unknown destination.  Jaffar Baddao was roughly treated upon his arrest despite his serious heart disease. Three years ago he underwent surgery to change his valve and is on regular medication and three weekly visits to hospitals. Another raid took place on 31st October. Mrs Rabab Hassan, her husband, Hassan and son, Hussain were snatched by armed masked men belonging to regime’s Death Squads. Last week at least 11 Bahrainis were given long jail sentences and had their nationality revoked.

There has been an outcry at the confirmation of a three years prison sentence imposed by Bahrain’s dictator on a woman activist. Najah Yousuf was given the sentence because she had criticised holding the Formula1 (locally known as Blood Formula) in Bahrain. Last week, a Bahraini court revoked the citizenships of 11 people charged with terrorism, according to local media reports. The government has been revoking the citizenship of its people for several years as part of a state policy to crack down on alleged terrorists. In May, a Bahraini court revoked the citizenship of 115 people during a mass terrorism trial, the highest number to lose their nationality at one time in the country.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

6th November 2018 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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