Saudi women must be released, three martyrs in Bahrain

As the court case of the Dubai’s ruler, Mohammad bin Rashid and his wife, Haya in London gets underway calls are being made to protect women in the GCC countries from their subjugation, imprisonment and torture at the hands of the male-dominated tribal hereditary dictatorships. The system of guardianship in Saudi Arabia, in particular, is under fire as it reduces women to sub-humans with no right to travel alone. The Saudi women have now become the focus of attention with some international human rights bodies. More than ten of them remain behind bars for their social and political activities. The Saudi regime is under pressure to release them. Yesterday ENGLISH PEN highlighted the plight of Samar Badawi, wife of blogger Ra’if Badawi who has spent more than five years behind bars for his critical views. It tweeted: It’s been one year since human rights activist Samar Badawi was arrested in Saudi Arabia for her peaceful activism. Free Samar Badawi. Three weeks ago Amnesty International produced a video footage about another Saudi woman in incarceration. It called for the release of Naseema Al Sadah who has spent more than a year in jail, half of which in solitary confinement.

The past week has been a bad one for Bahrain. In an outrageous criminal move, two native young Bahraini youths were executed in the early hours of Saturday 27th July. Ahmad Al Malali, 24 and Ali Al Arab, 23 were put to death after dictator Hamad al-Khalifa had signed the death order. They had been extensively tortured and forced to sign false confessions that they had killed a policeman in 2017. The execution came after two days of frantic efforts by the international community to spare their lives. Agnes Callamard, the UN expert on Extra-judicial killing had called on Bahrain to stop their crime: “The authorities in Bahrain must immediately halt any plans to execute these men, annul the death sentences against them and ensure they are retried in accordance with international law and standards,” said the Special Rapporteur. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reprieve had called for the executions to be stopped. Many parliamentarians and MEPs voiced their opposition to the murder of Bahrainis by most vicious regime. But the families of the two were summoned for last meeting with their beloved ones few hours before the khalifa committed their heinous crime.

The native people of Bahrain reacted angrily. For the past five days protests throughout the country continued. The scene was re-set for major public rejection of the hereditary dictatorship. Few hours after the executions, another native young Bahraini was killed by regime’s forces. Mohammad Ibrahim Al Miqdad, 22 was hit by members of Death Squads with a tear gas canister from a short distance. He was found unconscious in the road and died in hospital shortly afterwards. The protests have continued as anger against the dictator continued. Chants against him include: Down with Hamad, Hamad must be executed, the people want regime change. The scenes were reminiscent of the early years of the Revolution that had erupted on 14th February 2011. Shotguns, chemical and tear gases were used extensively. There were many injuries and arrests of peaceful protesters.

On another front, the Bahraini community in London has been placed in a state of utter fear for their lives after a native Bahraini had been subjected to Khashoggi-style treatment at the Bahrain Embassy in Belgrave Square, Central London. On Friday night (26th July) Moosa Abd Ali Mohammad, 36 was set upon by four members of the khalifi Death Squads who started torturing him at the embassy building. He had climbed to the roof of the embassy to call on the UK government to stop the planned executions of two native Bahraini youths. His cries alerted the police on the ground who shouted to the killers: stop, stop before rushing to rescue him. In an unprecedented move they stormed the Embassy, breaking the two front doors and rushing to the roof. They rescued Mr Mohammad who was bleeding from several parts of his body. His shoulder was bruised and swollen and was unable to walk. The police refused to take him to hospital. There are calls on the FCO to come clean, summon the kahlifi ambassador and present the real story to the media. Video footage in the possession of the Bahraini protesters show the police clearly breaking the embassy doors and rescuing Mr Mohammad. If they waited few more minutes he would have been cut to pieces. Wooden pieces were used to beat Mr Mohammad who was also kicked and was about to be thrown from the roof when the police reached the roof. While the police have been reluctant to present the full story of what had happened or arrest the Death Squad.

On 25th July Mrs Jalila Al Salman, a Bahraini teacher who had been jailed and tortured, was granted the Mary H Futrell Award at a ceremony in Bangkok. The organisers of the event said: We are delighted to present the Mary H Futrell Award to Jalila al Salman! Jalila has stood up for educators rights and freedom of speech constantly during her career, facing arrest multiple times in Bahrain. Congratulations, Jalila! On receiving the award Jalila said: I am still unemployed and they refuse to reinstate me but the Bahrain Teachers Association is still standing and working for our teachers. Without your support it would have been much more difficult. She received a standing ovation on Thursday 25 July on the sideline of Education International world congress.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

31st July 2019 (

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