STATEMENTS

International action needed to tame Saudi, Alkhalifa torture regimes

International action needed to tame Saudi, Alkhalifa torture regimes

On 13th January Alia al-Hathloul, sister of the jailed Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, published an article in the New York Times about her sister. The letter appears to be an open letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who was visiting Saudi Arabia, urging him to take up the case of her sister. She said: “I am struck by what is not included in Mr. Pompeo’s itinerary: the brave women activists of Saudi Arabia, who are being held in the kingdom’s prisons for seeking rights and dignity. Mr. Pompeo’s apathy is personal for me because one of the women detained, Loujain al-Hathloul, is my sister. She has worked relentlessly to earn Saudi women the right to drive.” After giving brief background information about her sister’s case Alia said: “I am torn about writing about Loujain, scared that speaking about her ordeal might harm her. But these long months and absence of hope have only increased my desperation to see the travel bans on my parents, who are in Saudi Arabia, revoked and to see my brave sister freed.”

Yesterday, the court case of Saudi woman activist, Israa Al Ghamgham,29, was adjourned without giving a date. She is being tried for taking part in anti-regime protests in 2011. The prosecution has asked for her execution for challenging the regime. International pressures on the Saudis have mounted in the hope that Al Ghamgham would not be executed. There has been unease among human rights activists after reports detailing ill-treatment of Saudi women prisoners had circulated. The newly-detained activists have been subjected to horrific treatment. Dr Ruqayya Al Muhareb has been subjected to horrific treatment. The prosecutors have also called for her beheading. Another prominent figure is Sheikh Ayedh Al Qarni who was admitted to hospital after his health had deteriorated due to psychological and physical pressures. Dr Ali Amri who has languished in Saudi jails for more than 18 months, is said to have been subjected to ill-treatment including beating, electric shocks and cigarette burns. He is accused of belonging to a “secret organization” and criticizing the regime. Last September the prosecutors had asked for his execution. Sheikh Hassan Farhan Al Maliki, another prominent scholar who has languished in jail since September 2017, is also threatened with beheading and crucifixion.

As the New Year began Alkhalifa regime has escalated its attacks on native Bahrainis with mass arrests of young men and women. Two women have been detained by Alkhalifa notorious torturers. Yesterday, Zainab Makki Marhoon was snatched from Alkhalifa court to the torture chambers to spend one year sentence that she had received in August. Her nationality and that of her husband had also been revoked, Hadeer Abdulla Hassan Abadi was detained on Monday 14th January. On 15th January two brothers were seized in a home raid in Duraz. Mahmood and Hussain Al Durazi were snatched from their beds and taken to the torture chambers. From Sanad Town Mohammad Jaffar Shamloh, 18 was detained from his home. Murtada Hussain Awal, 17 was arrested after he had been summoned by the torturers. From Arad Town home raids in the early hours of yesterday were conducted and Hussain Ali Al Ujaimi was detained. The arrests in the past week include: Hussain Al Markhi on Sunday, Saleh Abbas Mushaima from Daih yesterday, Jaffar Saeed Ahmad Al Jazeeri on Friday, Sayed Ahmad Sayed Moosa (deatined at the causeway), Hassan Aqeel Zain Al Deen (from Dair Town), Ali Al Qassab and Abdulla Shamsan

The United Nations has directly challenged the UK’s Foreign Office over the jailing by Bahrain of the family of a prominent British-based activist. The UN formally rebuked Bahrain, accusing it of detaining them as a reprisal for Mr Alwadaei’s opposition work. The targeting of Mr Alwadaei’s relatives follows closely his human rights activities in Britain. In September, after Mr Alwadaei briefed MPs on the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain, his mother-in-law, Hajer Hassan, 50, was taken from her prison cell and beaten. She had not been permitted to see her family since. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that the three were “deprived of their liberty, interrogated and prosecuted for their family ties with Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei and that these were acts of reprisal” It accused Bahrain of “torture, ill-treatment and threats against family members in order to extract confessions,” saying that their cases fit a pattern of abuses in Bahrain that “may constitute crimes against humanity”. The group concluded: “No fair trial is possible under such an atmosphere of fear.”

The human rights world is in shock as Bahraini athlete, Hakeem Al Oraibi remains in a Thai jail. He has now spent 52 days behind bars despite pleas to release him. Speaking at the Asian Cup finals in the UAE, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association John Didulica said the time had come to bring the issue to a head. “I think we have a stunning conflict at the apex of the Asian Football Confederation which sees the president of the federation, Sheikh Salman, also being an influential Bahraini — and we have a Bahraini international footballer jailed in Thailand,” he told the ABC. “To add an additional sting to that, Hakeem spoke out about Sheikh Salman’s previous tilt at the FIFA presidency in 2015, drawing on his experience in having been a tortured”.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

17th January 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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