Saudi Arabia’s dwindling political luck will haunt Donald Trump and could signal the end of his career. Democrats on the U.S. House intelligence panel will investigate U.S. President Donald Trump’s response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as part of a “deep dive” next year into U.S.-Saudi Arabia ties, the committee’s incoming head said in a report published on 23rd November. The committee will investigate the U.S. intelligence assessment of Khashoggi’s death as well as the war in Yemen, the stability of the Saudi royal family and the kingdom’s treatment of critics and the press, among other topics, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff told the Washington Post. Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, is in line to become committee chairman in January when his party takes control of the U.S. House of Representatives following gains in this month’s congressional elections. That will allow Democrats to exercise oversight of Trump and his administration, giving them investigative power, including the ability to issue subpoenas and hold hearings.
“Certainly we will be delving further into the murder of Khashoggi,” Schiff told the Post. “We will certainly want to examine what the intelligence community knows about the murder.”
On Tuesday 19th November Amnesty International accused Saudi Arabia of abusing several activists, including some female human rights defenders detained since May. The May arrests followed an earlier crackdown on clerics, intellectuals, and activists last year in an apparent bid to silence potential opponents of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The torture allegations come with Saudi Arabia facing an international outcry over the killing last month of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.
Concerns are rising for Saudi activist, Israa Al Ghamgham after she failed to appear at the second session of her trial for freely expressing her views. In another development the father of a martyr has been detained by the Saudi authorities. Abdulla Al Qurairis was arrested last week for his human rights campaigning. His son Ali was killed by security forces in 201l. His other son, Murtaja was arrested in 2014 when he was 13. He is probably the youngest political prisoner in the world. His third son, Redha is serving a 12 year sentence.
Bahrain’s dictator has been dealt a serious blow as the people ignored his threats and boycotted his pseudo-elections held on 24th November. Less than 20 percent voted as international bodies condemned them. In the third week of November at least ten native Bahrainis were detained by Alkhalifa torture apparatus. This was a prelude to the “elections” which were boycotted by the people. The Between 17 and 23rd November six towns were attacked, 14 houses raided and several summons were issued to appear at the torture centres. On 17th November Hussain Nassser from Nuwaidrat was detained, tortured and transferred to hospital. Other detainees were Zakariya Ahmad AlSheikh from Sitra, Ahmad Ali Jaber and his wife from Janabiya and Sayed Abdulla Sayed Jaffar Alawi from Sitra. On 22ndNovember two were detained from Abu Saiaba: Musa Ahmad from and Ahmad Abdul Rasool and two from Daih Town: Abdulla Abdul Ghani and Hassan Mushaima. On 23rd November two brothers from Karzakkan were held: Ahmad and Mohammad Juma.
The extent of the abuse being inflicted on women political prisoners is beginning to filter out from behind the Alkhalifa iron curtain. An Early Day Motion circulating in the British Parliament titled: Reprisals of female political prisoners and victims of torture and sexual abuse in Bahrain. It says: That this House: condemns the Bahraini authorities’ torture, sexual assault, ill-treatment and unfair trials of women targeted for politically-motivated charges; deplores the assault of Hajer Mansoor, Medina Ali and Najah Yusuf in September 2018, led by the head of Bahrain’s Isa Town Women’s Detention Centre, Major Mariam Albardoli; highlights that the incident occurred soon after the cases of the three women were raised by this Parliament and the UN; … voices discontent for their repeated denial of religious participation; condemns the increasing restrictions on emphasises the UN Secretary-General’s concerns for the ongoing trend of harassment and intimidation of Bahrain’s civil society who cooperate with the UN; condemns the Bahraini oversight bodies that have received UK-funded training for their systematic cover-up of abuses occurring in Isa Town Prison; urges the Government to sanction those responsible, including Major Albardoli; and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.
Last week Amnesty International issued a statement condemning Alkhalifa regime. It called on Bahrain to reverse course and allow free expression of political dissent, including fundamental critiques of existing institutions, and to fully respect the right of its citizens to association and peaceful assembly. Given the largely uninterrupted regression in these areas over the past two years, Amnesty urges Bahrain’s international partners and allies to hold Bahrain to the standards of the international human rights treaties it is party to.
Bahrain Freedom Movement