STATEMENTS

Saudis murder seven natives, Thailand must free Bahraini athlete

On Monday 8th January seven natives of Qatif in the Eastern Province of Arabia were murdered by Saudi forces. It was cold-blooded pre-meditated killing by a regime whose crimes have largely been overlooked by the outside world despite its cruelty and what the dismemberment of Jamal Khaggohi had shown. An online video broadcast by Reuters shows a military vehicle firing in the residential area of Umm Al Hamam district of Qatif. The victims are: Mohammad Hussain AlShabib, Abdul Muhsin Taher AlAswad, Ammar Nasser Abu Abdulla, Ali Hassan Abu Abdulla, Abdul Muhsin Abu Abdulla, Yahay Zakariya Al Ammar and Adel Jaffar Thaifa. Qatif, in an oil-producing province and the home of the large native Shi’ite population has suffered discrimination and marginalisation. Since 2011 when its people joined the Arab Spring many of its inhabitants have been targeted for execution or assassination. Three years ago a senior religious figure, Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr was executed by the regime. His body has never been handed to his family for burial.

On 4th January the UN Human Rights Council said that it could not verify the fairness of a Saudi trial of the killers of Jamal Khashoggi and said that the trial is not enough in any case. The Council insists on an independent international inquiry into the murder last October of Mr Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. His body was dismembered and all indications point to the order of the killing coming from the crown prince personally. The Turks have always asked for the trial to be held in Istanbul where the crime had been committed. The Saudis know that such a trial will expose the real killers among the most senior figures of the House of Saud.

On 4th January the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani called for the release of Nabeel Rajab. She said: We call on the Government of Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and to ensure that all Bahrainis are able to exercise their rights to freedom of opinion and expression without fear of arbitrary detention.

Native Bahraini actor, Fawzi Ahmad has been given 15 years jail sentence for taking a stand in support of the highest religious authority in the country, Ayatullah Sheikh Isa Qassim. Despite this horrible treatment the prisoners have resorted to other means of protest. This week Sayed Hussain Al Tublani joined two other inmates; Naji Fateel and Ali Hajji in their hunger strike which has lasted more than 50 days. They are calling for proper medical care. This negligence has led to several deaths including: Mohammad Sahwan, Mohammad Mushaima and Jaffar Al Durazi. Two seriously ill prisoners, Sayed Kadhem and Ali Qambar were released to die outside the prison.

On Monday 8th January, members of Alkhalifa Death Squads attacked the Building No 3 at the notorious Jaw prison, beating the inmates, dispersing their belongings and attacking their religious symbols including books. Many prisoners were injured in this unprovoked criminal attack. The prison authorities have also targeted the families of detainees, curtailed their visits and confined them to the first line of relatives. They first erected the glass barrier to stop the intimacy between the prisoner and his relatives, then reduced the time of the visit and now they decided to prevent the relatives from the second level from those visits. In recent months prisoners have protested and staged hunger strikes to demand proper medical care that the regime has denied them.

The Thai authorities are facing renewed calls to release Bahraini athlete Hakeem Al Oraibi who is languishing in one of its jails since he arrived at Bangkok Airport at the end of November to spend his honey moon with his wife. The calls are intensifying following the case of a Saudi young girl, Rahaf Alkanun. She was arrested at Bangkok airport after fleeing her family in Saudi Arabia and renouncing her religion. Her case was resolved within two days, while Hakim’s case has not attracted such attention. The football world is asking Salman Alkhalifa, president of Asian Football Association to choose between his tribal loyalty and the ethics of international soccer. He has hitherto failed to support the call by FIFA and other bodies to release native Bahraini athlete, Hakeem AlOraibi. He is awaiting the decision by the Thai authorities whether to release or hand him to Alkhalifa torturers.Australia’s football federation executives have finally met with al-Khalifa, more than 40 days after Hakeem al-Araibi was detained. The meeting is understood to have occurred at the AFC Asian Cup football championships in the United Arab Emirates, with FFA chair Chris Nikou expressing Australia’s desire to have al-Araibi freed and returned. “FFA requests the governments of Australia, Thailand and Bahrain to continue their efforts to enable the release of Mr Hakeem al-Araibi and to ensure his safe return to Australia in accordance with internationally recognised human rights conventions.”

Bahrain Freedom Movement

9th January 2019 (info@vob.orgwww.vob.org)

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