STATEMENTS

Imminent defeat of Saudi war on Yemen, Bahraini prisoners on hunger strike

The war on Yemen is turning ugly for the Saudis. The attack on AlShayba oilfield on the borders with the United Arab Emirates by10 Yemeni drones few days ago has shaken the kingdom to the core. Furthermore it opened an old wound in the relations with UAE, its partner in the criminal aggression on Yemen. Many believe the end of the war is imminent with humiliating defeat to the Saudi-Emirati-khalifi aggressors.

Yesterday, 20th August more than 75 organisations called for the mandate of Group of Eminent Experts (formed in 2017 by the UN Human Rights Council) to be renewed and emphasized the violations against human rights defenders. The open letter said: We, the undersigned more than 75 international, regional and Yemeni CSOs, call for the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to extend and broaden the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE), including a thorough investigation into specific violations against human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers, and the closure of civic space. The mandate of the GEE, which was created in September 2017 and extended for one year in September 2018, is up for renewal at the 42nd session of the UN HRC in September 2019. The GEE’s mandate is to “monitor and report on the situation on Human Rights in Yemen” through “a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights…. committed by all parties to the conflict since September 2014.

On Monday 19th August more than 600 native Bahraini political prisoners started hunger strike in protest at the deteriorating conditions in Khalifi torture chambers. Prisoners of conscience at the two most notorious jails, the Dry Dock and Jaw, took this unprecedented step to force the torturers to listen to their demands. They are protesting the lack of proper medical care, the imposition of glass barriers between the prisoners and their families during the irregular visits, the confiscation and destruction of their personal belongings and the continuation of torture including beating even after they have been sentenced. Senior torturers have warned the prisoners of more torture and punishment if they did not stop their hunger strike. Most likely the family visits will be stopped to ensure no news of this punishment is leaked out. A recently-released prisoner said that he had to share a small room measuring four by four metres with 11 others. They were kept for 23 hours each day inside this dungeon and share the meager toilet facilities. The demands of the prisoners include: merging isolated prisoners with the rest, allowing them to hold religious rituals freely and establish mass prayers,  the abolition of the glass barrier between them and their visitors and increase the outdoors time

Last week a Bahraini citizen from Dair Town disappeared while in Saudi Arabia. Abbas Ali Abbas Al Dairi was on his way to Kuwait when he disappeared in Saudi Arabia. His Kuwaiti mother is seeking treatment outside Bahrain. The Saudis are urged to clarify what had happened to him.

Scholars at Risk (an international network of higher education institutions and individuals working to protect scholars and promote academic freedom) has highlighted the plight of Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace and urged people to call for his release. It said: Dr. AbdulJalilAlSingace is a scholar of mechanical engineering and #HumanRights activist who was sentenced to life in prison in #Bahrain and has been denied access to appropriate medical care despite ongoing medical complications. Sign to #FreeAlSingace:

Former Bahraini MP Osama al-Tamimi who had received written summons to appear at al-Hoora Police station on 18 August appeared at the torture centre but was hurried to hospital when his medical condition worsened. When his home was raided by khalifi police last week, his children who were home alone were terrified and shocked. He was taken to a medical clinic. The police officers had threatened to raid the house in case of non-compliance. As he remains bed-stricken at the hospital his daughter has appealed to the dictator to allow her father to seek treatment abroad. Today she said his kidney had stopped functioning.

On 16th August14 members of the European Parliament sent a letter to the Khalifi ambassador to Belgium, Bahia al-Jishi, expressing deep concern and condemnation of the execution of Bahraini activists in late July following unfair trials and “confessions” obtained by coercion. The members expressed their unequivocal condemnation of these atrocities, especially after several UN human rights experts had called on the government of Bahrain to stop them, stressing that the victims had been tortured and had not received fair trials. The deputies urged the Government of Bahrain to re-freeze the death penalty and to ensure that victims of human rights violations receive rehabilitation in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution of 18 December 2017.  The letter pointed out that this issue will be discussed by the European Parliament in the absence of a convincing response to what is contained therein.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

21st August 2019 (vob.org, www.vob.org)

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