STATEMENTS

Saudi torture victims speak out as Bahrainis mark Independence Day

The family of Saudi political prisoner, Lujain Al Hadloul has confirmed that she had refused to accept a conditional release from her incarceration at a Saudi jail. She was told not to speak about her torture ordeal as a price for her release but she did not accept. They went further to demand that she denies being tortured. This is an outrageous condition. It simply means protecting the policy of impunity of torturers. This is the same in Bahrain where torture victims are threatened with further arrest and torture if they spoke about the crimes of their jailers. There are international pressures on Saudi and khalifi dictators to release women prisoners and engage in a political process, but these dictators who have been defeated by their own people and by the people of Yemen, want to present a defiant face for their defeat.

Another Saudi activist, Essa Al Nukhaifi has been in detention since December 2016 for tweeting on public issues. He had called for the founding of a virtual people’s parliament and ending the large payments paid to Saudi princes from the public purse. Last week he told his story from behind bars that went viral on Twitter. Another prisoner of conscience has also spoken out about her ordeal. A human rights activist, Na’eema Al Matrood said she had been given six years prison sentence followed by six years of travel ban. The reason? She had taken part in protests, recording human rights violations and calling for political reforms. Her health deteriorated sharply in prison due to lack of medical care especially for her sickle cell disease.

On Friday 9th August Ahmed Abdullah Abdulrahman Shaa’yi died at Tarfiyyah political prison at Al Qaseem in Central Arabia, in mysterious circumstances. He has been in political incarceration for over 18 months without charge or trial. Several other political prisoners had died in Saudi jails in the past two years.

Bahrainis are today marking the 48th anniversary of the independence of their country following the British withdrawal on 14th August 1971. People took part in marches and meetings inside and outside Bahrain to mark the occasion that the regime refuses to acknowledge. Yesterday there was a seminar and press briefing by Bahrainis and their supporters at UNITE The Union headquarters in London.

On 6 August 2019, members of the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) arrested former Bahraini parliamentarian Osama Jaber Muhana al-Tamimi at his home. The CID announced that he had been arrested for fraud. Excessive force was used during the arrest and Mr Tamimi was severely beaten to the extent that he had a stroke. He is now fighting for his life at the military hospital. Since 2012 notorious khalifi regime has subjected Osama al-Tamimi to false accusations in the government-linked press. In recent months, he has been summoned several times for questioning. Amnesty International has adopted Mr Tamimi’s case and urged people to write to the Bahrain’s dictators to demand his immediate and unconditional release.

A young native political prisoner has been subjected to horrific torture at the hands of khalifi thugs. Mohammad Ibrahim Yahya has recently placed in solitary confinement for fifteen days, beaten daily and his belongings confiscated. The beating was directed at his neck and head which had suffered injuries in the past. Political prisoner, Hassan Al Ghasra has said that he will enter an open hunger strike to press his demand for proper medical care and to be removed from repeated solitary confinement.  Bahraini journalist, Hussain Khalaf, who is a refugee in UK has tweeted about his jailed brother, Mahdi giving gruesome details of his torture ordeal. He said Mahdi had been tortured with electric shocks for 24 days. He was then beaten mercilessly for many more days. After treating him, a doctor at the military hospital said to him: It is a miracle that you are still alive. The tweet mentioned the name of the main torturer of Mahdi Khalaf.

International calls have been made for the immediate arrest and trial of the khalifi rapists who had assaulted several native Bahraini women prisoners. Five women prisoners have been released following intensive pressures from human rights bodies. Among those released is Najah Yousuf who was detained for tweeting in 2017 against holding the Formula 1 race in Bahrain. She was subjected to extreme forms of torture including sexual assault. The court judgement against Yusuf said she had written “NO to Formula One races on occupied Bahraini land” and that the F1 race was “nothing more than a way for the [ruling] al-Khalifa family to whitewash their criminal record and gross human rights violations”. She also called for “Freedom for the Formula detainees” march to raise awareness of the protestors jailed for criticising the race, which was cancelled after demonstrations in the country in 2011. There are six more native Bahraini women languishing at khalifi torture chambers: Hajer Mansoor, Madina Ali, Zakiya Al Barbouri, Iman Ali and her two sisters; Aamaal and Fatima. They have spent most of their jail terms but are still being ill-treated on daily basis.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

14th August 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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