STATEMENTS

Saudis humiliated by Yemen, Khashoggi; Bahrainis sentenced to death

Despite the outrage at the Saudi-Emirati-Alkhalifa aggression on Yemen following the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi the Americans have watered down the international calls to stop the war. Nonetheless, the momentum to punish the most senior Saudi figures responsible for giving the order to kill Mr Khashoggi has not been totally lost. The US Senate is flexing its atrophied muscles by voting to advance a resolution to end military support for the Saudi-led US-backed war in Yemen. This marks the first time in US history that the Senate has resurrected the War Powers Resolution Act (1973), to end the monstrous illegal war in Yemen. This is also a rebuke of President Trump’s handling of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Jim Mattis soiled their reputations by urging the senators to vote against the resolution.
The exodus from the Saudi-led aggressor armies had already begun. In September the Malaysians withdrew their contingent as Pakistan announced they would not fight other people’s wars. On 3rdDecember Malaysia’s Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong said the Cabinet did not approve Ops Yemen 2 that saw the Malaysian Armed Forces being deployed to Saudi Arabia to assist its military operations in Yemen. He said   “Actually, Malaysia was not involved in combat activities but was merely there to give logistics support to the Arab military. “However, in terms of SOP (standard operating procedure), I was informed that the then Defence Ministry did not get the Cabinet’s decision to deploy these troops. “There was no Cabinet decision to approve the troop movements for Ops Yemen 2,” Liew said in Parliament on Monday (Dec 3).
The Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) widely believed to have ordered the liquidation of Mr Khashoggi, has been widely rebuffed by international leaders as well as the public. At the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires many leaders avoided face to face meetings with MBS who made a speedy exit at the end of the summit. He was received with hostile crowds wherever he went. In Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia many detested his presence. Petitions and statements were issued calling for those visits to stop.
On 30th November three native Bahraini sisters were arrested for anti-regime activism. This criminal arrest is seen as revenge for the failure of the regime’s pseudo-elections ten days ago. The three are from Duraz: Fatima Ali Abdulla and her two sisters, Iman and Aamaal.  They were subsequently transferred to Isa Town Women prison to serve three years sentence for giving refuge to young activists who went into hiding fearing for their lives. Another woman, Zainab Makki from Karzakkan was given one year jail sentence and revocation of nationality. Her crime was to adopt anti-regime position. Many men were also rounded up and transferred to regime’s torture chambers. They include Sheikh Fadhel Al Zaki from Maqaba who was detained on Thursday 29th November from his hometown, Abu Saiba. Demonstrators poured into the streets of Duraz to protest the persecution of the Muslim scholars like Ayatullah Sheikh Isa Qassim and others.
A famous Bahraini footballer is in the hands of the Thai authorities after he had landed at Bangkok airport last week. They are threatening to hand him to Alkhalifa torture regime. Hakim Al Oraibi had been sentenced to ten years for criticising Salman Alkhalifa, the head of the Asian Football League for mismanagement and misconduct. He had been granted political asylum in Australia and was on a visit to Thailand when he was arrested. Many human rights bodies and activists have criticised the Thai action which is believed to be motivated by financial inducement from Saudi Arabia. Human Rights Watch confirmed that Mr Oraibi had been tortured at the peak of the Revolution which started in 2011. He was a member of the National Football team in Bahrain and a player with an Australian teams.
Thursday 29th November will be remembered as one of the bleakest days for justice. Mass trials were held for scores of innocent men and women. Miscourage of justice occurred at a frightening pace. In one of those unfair trials, two native Bahrainis were given death sentences, one given life, ten years to the fourth and seven to the fifth. Zuhair Ibrahim Jassim Abbas, 37, was sentenced to death despite abundant evidence against his involvement in any violence. He is the owner of a restaurant in Sitra. In another trial, twenty people including one woman were given harsh sentences of 15, 10, 7 and five years. Only two were given six months. They were accused of belonging to a “banned group”. Fourteen had their citizenship arbitrarily revoked. Another court passed verdicts of life imprisonment on a native Bahraini, 10 years to the second and three to the third. They were also asked to pay large sums which they could not meet. They were accused of organising protests at Buri Town. These sentences were based on false “confessions” extracted under torture. In a third case a court sentenced five people to various terms. The first was given life and BD500, the second and third to death and BD500. The fourth was given ten years, the fifth seven years. All five had their nationality revoked.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
5th December 2018 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)
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