STATEMENTS

Saudi prisoners suffer ill-treatment, F1 race a human fiasco

Human Rights Watch has intensified its pressure for a US Congress to act on Yemen. Andrea Prasow, the deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watchasks: What can Congress do? She answers:  At a minimum, the United States should impose travel bans and asset freezes on those responsible for war crimes in Yemen. If the administration won’t do that, Congress should pass legislation requiring it. Sanctions should not be limited to the coalition.” She added: “Members of Congress have decried the abuses in Yemen. They need to show all parties that the United States no longer will tolerate atrocities in Yemen.

In an attempt to silence the family of Jamal Khashoggi the Saudi regime has paid his children millions of pounds to buy off their silence. The blood money is reported to have included homes to his four children valued at more than $4 million each. This is in addition to monthly payments of $10,000 to each of them. Only the eldest son, Salah is in the Saudi city of Jedda; the rest are in USA. This lavish treatment is seen as “blood money” to put an end to one of the most bizarre political killings in modern history. Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered six months ago by a 15-man squad at the Saudi  Consulate in Istanbul. They were dispatched from Saudi Arabia on orders of crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS).

Political prisoners in Saudi Arabia are said to be suffering from malnutrition, cuts, bruises and burns, according to leaked medical reports that are understood to have been prepared for the country’s ruler, King Salman. According to the Guardian (31st March) the reports seem to provide the first documented evidence from within the heart of the royal court that political prisoners are facing severe physical abuse, despite the government’s denials that men and women in custody are being tortured. The Guardian has been told the medical reports will be given to King Salman along with recommendations that are said to include a potential pardon for all the prisoners, or at least early release for those with serious health problems. The men believed to have been examined include Adel Ahmad Banaemah, Mohammed Saud Al Bisher, Fahad Abdullaziz Al-Sunaidi, Zuhair Kutbi, Abdullaziz Fawzan al-Fawzan and Yasser Abdullah al-Ayyaf. The women include Samar Mohammad Badawi, Hatoon Ajwad al-Fassi and Abeer Adbdullatif Al Namankany.

The Khalifi regime has been widely criticised for ignoring the plight of the Palestinians and Bahrainis while inviting scores of Israelis to the country. Under the disguise of attending a conference on Entrepreneurship Congress scheduled for mid-April, scores of Israelis have been invited by the regime, offered accommodation at one of the most expensive hotels and welcomed as statesmen. To add salt to the injury the Khalifi clan has repeatedly justified the attacks on Palestinians in Gaza arguing that it is “Israel’s right to defend itself”. In reaction to the presence of the Zionist group many patriot officials from different countries boycotted the conference. Kuwait has been at the forefront of those who refused to attend despite enormous pressures from the Saudis and the Americans. Several Saudi academics and activists also joined the boycott. Bahraini patriots condemned the regime for this outrageous act.

On 1st April the Khalifi security forces detained 30 native Bahrainis. The Khalifa-appointed judge, Ibrahim Al Zayed reacted angrily when his argument was defeated by the lawyer of the group, He left the court and ordered the arrest of the 30 native Bahrainis who had been released on bail one year ago pending the trial. The only offence they had committed was the gathering at the house of Ayatullah Sheikh Isa Qassim three years ago. The house was subsequently stormed and at least five people were martyred. Hassan Mushaima who is suffering from cancer remains without medicine for his ailments. His son, Ali, was forced to protest outside the Bahraini Embassy this week demanding proper treatment and necessary medicines to his father.

The reputation of the Formula 1 car racing management has been severely compromised after they failed to consider the appalling human rights situation in Bahrain, taking due diligence when deciding where to race or heed the calls by torture victims to take up their cases with Khalifi dictator. Major human rights bodies like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and prominent athletes had called on the F1 management to show some humanitarian concerns about native victims of the regime which they are helping to prop up. The most prominent torture victim is female activist Najah Yousuf who said last week: “Every moment I spend in prison in Bahrain stains the reputation of F1.” She was arrested and tortured for expressing her disapproval of holding the F1 race in Bahrain while the regime continued its repression. Many sportsmen sympathised with Bahraini people. But David Beckham has disappointed the victims by his indifference when he attended the race and thanked the torturers for their “hospitality”.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

3rd April 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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