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UK urged to stop arming Saudis, MPs challenge Khalifi death sentences

The new Parliamentary citizens committee on arms sales (CCAS), is meeting in Westminster today to take evidence from Yemeni human rights campaigners speaking from the capital Sana’a as well as a former UK brigadier to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, who has previously claimed the UK is breaking its own rules by selling arms for use in Yemen. The meeting comes as MPs from the all-party parliamentary group on Yemen wrote to the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, imploring him “to use every available tool to put pressure on our allies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia to bring about an end to the conflict. The UK has a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia and this must be used”.

The Saudi regime has intensified its persecution of the Shia Muslim population of the Eastern Province. After the beheading and crucifixion of 32 innocent lives last mongh and the extra-judicial killing of eight others earlier this month, the Saudi authorities have now closed down the last mosque of this community in the city of Al Khobar. As the people were preparing to conduct their prayers on the Lailat Al Qadr (the night of power) their mosque was closed without warning. This is yet another form of persecution.  Zuhair Al BuSaleh, one of the main sponsors of the mosque had been jailed for six months and flogged

The announcement that Bahrain’s dictator had “agreed” to hold an American-imposed, Saudi-financed workshop titled “prosperity for peace” has caused widespread furor amongst the people. Protests were held in various towns and villages as most world’s leaders objected to the seminar. Mr Trump had initiated the controversy two years ago when he announced his “deal of the century” that would end the dream of a Palestinian state and leave Israel as the strongest entity in the region. His son-in-Law, Jarid Kushner, has championed the Israeli cause and spearheaded the proposed workshop. The Palestinian president, Mahmood Abbas has already declared his boycott as other groups declared their position of rejection and urged other governments to boycott the proposed workshop. No one else is enthusiastic about the workshop except its sponsors and planners. Both Russia and China have declared their boycott. Bahrainis have pledged never to allow their country to be used as a launching pad to anti-Palestine conspiracies. The most senior religious and political leader, Ayatullah Sheikh Isa Qassim has also given a clear pledge to resist these satanic moves aimed at weakening the resolve of the people of the region.

Prison officials have continued to harass Nabeel Rajab after the collapse of the dictator’s plans to release some prisoners under “alternative forms of punishment”. His contacts with other political prisoners have been curtailed, as well as family visits and medical care. Mr Rajab suffers from various ailments due to ill-treatment at all levels. Native Bahraini Ayyoub Adel has informed his family of his extreme pains as the regime continued to deny him proper medical care. Despite repeated requests for treatment, Mr Adel’s health has deteriorated as his ailments became chronic. His persistent pains deprive him of sleep or comfort. Another young native Bahraini, Fadel Abbas suffers the same predicament, with persistent pains in his teeth that the Khalifi authorities have chosen to ignore.

On 27th May Khalifi court upheld five year jail sentence on woman activist, Zakiya Al Barbouri, based on “confessions” extracted under torture. . The 30-year old native Bahraini woman is a chemical engineer who had been abducted in May 2018 and subjected to forced disappearance for three weeks. There are at least ten women activists behind bars.

Protests have continued during the holy month or Ramadan calling for regime change. On the second anniversary of the criminal attack on Ayatullah Sheikh Isa Qassim’s home on 23rd May 2017 there were demonstrations and rallies at Al Musalla, Saar, Abu Saiba, Shakhoura, Nuwaidrat and Druaz. Five people were martyred as regime’s forces attacked the peaceful congregation outside the house. Almost 300 people were arrested and about 180 were given sentences of up to ten years in jail.

On 23rd May 16 MPs signed a letter to UK’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt calling for his intervention to save the lives of two young Bahrainis condemned to death by the khalifi dictators: They said: “We are writing to express our gravest concerns to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regarding the decision of Bahrain’s highest court to uphold the death sentences of Mr Ali AlArab and Mr Ahmed AlMalali on 6 May 2019, amid credible allegations of torture and due process violations. Their sentences will now pass to the king for final ratification, placing these men at risk of imminent execution.” They ended their letter urging him to intervene: “The United Kingdom has long opposed capital sentences in all circumstances and countries and we urge you to demonstrate this historic commitment by making immediate representations to the King of Bahrain urging him to quash the unlawful sentences against Mr AlArab and Mr AlMalali, order a retrial, and investigate the torture allegations before it is too late.”

Bahrain Freedom Movement

29th May 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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