The European Commission has added Saudi Arabia, Panama and four U.S. territories to a blacklist of nations it considers a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering, the EU executive said on 20thFebruary. Britain that is worried about its economic relations with Saudi Arabia has criticised the move. The United States has also disapproved. The Saudi government said it regretted the decision in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency, adding: “Saudi Arabia’s commitment to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism is a strategic priority”. In another snub to the Saudis, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives on 20th February approved a resolution that would end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the war in Yemen, as many lawmakers sought to push President Donald Trump to toughen his policy towards the kingdom. It was the first time the House of Representatives has ever supported a war powers resolution, but the 248-177 vote – almost entirely along party lines – would not be enough, however, to overcome Trump’s promise to issue what would likely be his first veto.
On 25th February U.S. senators said a Trump administration briefing had not changed opinions on the need to push back at Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its conduct in the war in Yemen, and predicted a Senate vote on whether to end U.S. involvement in Yemen as soon as next week. Officials from the U.S. State and Defence Departments met with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee behind closed doors on Monday to discuss the situation in Yemen, amid a months-long outcry in Congress about Saudi Arabia.“I don’t think they won any hearts and minds,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy told reporters as he left the briefing.
Following Germany’s decision to halt its exports to Saudi Arabia, UK’s foreign minister has written to Germany’s foreign minister expressing concern about the effect of that decision on both the British and European defense industry. “I am very concerned about the impact of the German government’s decision on the British and European defense industry and the consequences for Europe’s ability to fulfil its NATO commitments,” Jeremy Hunt wrote in a letter, Der Spiegel reported. Hunt said British defense firms would not be able to fulfil several contracts with Saudi Arabia such as the Eurofighter model called Typhoon or the Tornado fighter jet, both of which are made with parts affected by the stop in deliveries to Saudi.
The Danish Foreign Minister, Andres Samwilson has called for the release of Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja who has spent eight years behind bars for calling for democratic transformation in Bahrain. He was speaking at the opening of the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Danish minister also condemned the Saudi executions. Several other officials criticised Saudi human rights records in the session.
On 20th February Amnesty International issued a statement about one of the jailed Saudi women. Nassima al-Sada, has been placed in solitary confinement since early February 2019, in al-Mabahith Prison in Dammam. Nassima has been detained since July 2018 without charge or trial. Nassima’s detention was part of a recent wave of arrests that targeted Saudi human rights activists. Since May 2018, at least 15 human rights activists, including several women human rights defenders have been detained without charge. Amnesty International calls on the Saudi authorities to release Nassima al-Sada and all other human rights activists immediately and unconditionally.
Bahrain’s dictator has instructed his courts to confirm the death sentences on seven native Bahrainis for opposing his dictatorship. The seven: Hussain Marhoon, Ahmad Zain Al Din, Hussain Dawood, Zuahair Ibrahim, Mohammad Fadel, Mohammad Tawq and Mohammad Radhi also had their nationality revoked. These young men have now exhausted all avenues to have their sentences quashed. There are 23 native Bahrainis sentenced to death by Khalifi occupiers. Khalifi courts have also passed life sentences and revocation of citizenship on three citizens from Al Ekr Town. Two others were given ten years jail sentence. These courts also passed a five year jail sentence and revocation of citizenship against Fadel Jaffar Rabi’ from Daih Town.
In revenge for its humiliating defeat in the case of native Bahraini athlete, Hakeem AlOraibi, the Khalifi regime has intensified its repression against native women activists. Yesterday the dictator ordered his court of Cassation to confirm the three years jail term he had ordered earlier on the Hajer Mansoor Hassan, Sayed Nizar Alwadaei and Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor, all relatives of outspoken critic Sayed Ahmad Al Wadaei. The court also confirmed the ten years sentence on Sheikh Hassan Isa, a senior cleric who had helped the families of martyrs. Any charitable act to those families is criminalised by Khalifi occupiers.
Bahrain Freedom Movement