STATEMENTS

NYT highlights Saudi violations, Macron urged to challenge Hamad

As the criminal execution by Saudi authorities of 37 took hold on world’s stage the New York Times published an editorial on 25th April titled: What Price Profit in Saudi Arabia? The article presented several examples of serious human rights violations, starting with the brutal murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Kashoggi, the detention and torture of women activists and the brutal beheading of 37 Saudi men, including one crucifixion. The paper ended with this: “None of these human-rights violations have put a dent in the strong support Prince Mohammed enjoys from President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr. Kushner in particular has been ardently cultivating the prince’s friendship to win support for a long-promised Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Last week, Mr. Trump cast only his second veto against a bipartisan resolution that would have forced an end to American military involvement with Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war, which has contributed to appalling civilian suffering.”

As the human rights crisis in Bahrain deepens the French president has been urged to push the Khalifi dictator,  Hamad alKhalifa, who is on a visit to France to stop his regime’s serious human rights violations.  Aya Majzoub, Lebanon and Bahrain Researcher at Human Rights Watch wrote an article titled: “France Should Press Bahrain King on Rights Issues: Bahrain King’s Visit Ideal Opportunity to Urge Release of Nabeel Rajab, Prisoners”. The article said: “King Hamad al-Khalifa can, with the stroke of a pen, quash the charges against Rajab and other political prisoners and order their immediate release. Earlier this month, the king issued an order reinstating the citizenship of 551 individuals who had been unfairly stripped of their nationality through court orders… Macron should hold the line on Bahrain’s abuses and ask the king to once again use his powers to correct the injustice perpetrated by the judiciary and release Nabeel Rajab”.

Two Bahraini human rights bodies have also called on Mr Macron to put pressure on the Khalifi dictator to release prisoners and reach a political solution with the people. In a rare move that triggered a diplomatic crisis between France and Bahrain in June 2018, the French ambassador to Manama, Cecile Longe, boldly called out Bahrain on its abuse in a tweet last June. She expressed concern about the “treatment of human rights defenders and political opponents in the country,” and specifically criticized the upholding of Nabeel Rajab’s five-year sentence by the Manama Appeals Court. The Court of Cassation – Bahrain’s court of last resort – upheld his conviction in December. Reporters Without Borders said: “France is being visited by the king of #Bahrain, where the photographer Hassan Mohammed Qambar was given more than 100 years in prison for allegedly belonging to a terrorist group and the citizen-journalist Nabeel Rajab got a five-year sentence for critical tweets.” To pre-empt serious criticism and embarrassing encounter between the host and the guest, the Khalifi dictator has signed 12 agreements and memoranda of understanding with French companies and institutions worth $2 billion (1.55 billion pounds),

The human rights violations in Bahrain has seen no respite.  In the last week of April (22nd-30th April) at least 19 native Bahrainis were detained by regime’s torture forces. Last week several natives were detained and taken to the torture dungeons. Among them: Sayed Ali Sayed Mustafa and three of his brothers: Sayed Ahmad, Sayed Majed and Sayed Murtada, Sayed Jaafar Sayed Saleh, Sayed Ali Sayed Adnan, Ali Salman Dawood, Ali Mulla Jawad Almirza, Jasem Abbas, Jaafar Ali Yusuf, Hussain Al Mahharai, Ali Abdul Hussain Al Ekri, Sayed Mahmood Saeed, Ali Yaqoob, Qassim Fardan, Abdul Amir Jaffar AlTaif, Sayed Wadee’ Al Wada’ei and Reda Aqeel Al Madani. Bahraini citizen Ali Fathi was detained on Tuesday 23rd April at dawn, in a raid by regime’s thugs on his home. Meanwhile Khalifi court has endorsed a six month imprisonment sentence on Ammar Hamdan, the brother of two martyrs (killed by Alkhalifa), Mustafa and Mohamad Hamdan.

The situation inside the Khalifi jails has also deteriorated. Skin diseases have spread to several jails while victims are denied proper medical and hygiene care. Many inmates have taken extreme measures to get proper medical care. Ali Hajji spent more than two months on hunger strike in order to get some medication. Yesterday human rights activist Ebtisam Al Sayegh said that two inmates are suffering immensely as a result of denial of medical care. Ilias Al Mulla, a young native riddled with cancer is in extreme agony as Khalifi prison officials continue to deny him necessary medication. Mohammad Al Singace who suffers from disc ailment in his back due to torture needs special attention for his seating and sleeping, but he gets none. Mrs AlSayegh, herself, has been punished for her human rights work. Last week she was denied entry to Saudi Arabia, a move that was most certainly initiated by the Khalifi regime.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

1st May 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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