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Yemenis will defeat unholy alliance, Bahraini hunger strikers punished

Western powers, especially the US and UK are extremely worried that their investment in the Yemen war may have been lost. The discord between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become apparent. UAE took a step away from Riyadh by announcing its drawdown of troops in Yemen, and then it took a step towards Iran by sending a coast guard delegation to Tehran who signed a memorandum on border security with the Iranians. Ever since, the rift between Saudi Arabia and the UAE has grown and is playing out in the Yemeni city of Aden. The UAE took this step because Tehran seems to have made it clear to the leadership in Abu Dhabi that the UAE will be the first victim of a US-Iran war in the Gulf. The battle between forces aligned with the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the Saudi-led coalition which backs Mansour Hadi – signals the emergence of a new conflict in Yemen. But this time, the dispute is between two allies. The clashes began after the killing of Munir Al Yafi, a commander of the support forces — backed by the UAE — who died in a missile attack on August 1 during a graduation ceremony for newly recruited troops.

Human Rights Watch said the Saudis have killed many Yemeni fishermen. On 21st August it released a statement that said: Saudi-led coalition naval forces have carried out at least five deadly attacks on Yemeni fishing boats since 2018. Coalition warships and helicopters have been involved in attacks that killed at least 47 Yemeni fishermen, including seven children, and the detention of more than 100 others, some of whom were tortured in custody in Saudi Arabia. The coalition attacks on fishermen and fishing boats appear to be deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian objects in violation of the laws of war. Coalition officials who ordered or carried out the attacks or tortured detainees are most likely responsible for war crimes.

As the hunger strike by Bahraini prisoners of conscience continues for a third week fears are being expressed for the welfare and safety of many of them. Many have collapsed as the khalifi vicious officials started taking punitive actions against those brave people who have all along aspired to live in dignity and humanity. The strike was prompted by the imposition of inhumane policies by the dictator and his torturers on those detainees. They were denied proper medical care, family visits reduced to one a month for as little as half an hour with glass separating the prisoner from his children or other loved ones, removal of books or any other educational facilities, religious books withdrawn including copies of the holy Quran and supplication and daily exercise period outside prison walls reduced. Instead of heeding the calls for improving prison conditions, torturers have separated the strikers from other prisoners; some strikers were placed in solitary confinement as further punishment. Families, human rights activists and international NGOs have called on the dictator to stop harassing prisoners. Calls have also been made to allow the special rapporteurs on torture and other ill-treatment to be allowed into the country. Several Bahraini human rights bodies have signed an open letter to the khalifi dictators to release political prisoners, stop the practice of torture, end the culture of impunity and heed the calls by the striking prisoners to improve the conditions of prisons.

Among the hunger strikers are Mohammad Fakhrawi, Hussain Al Sahlawi and Abbas MalAllah. Last week they suffered irregular heartbeats and were bleeding from the bowl. They were denied access to medical care and their conditions continue to deteriorate. Another detainee, Sayed Hussain Sayed Salman has also developed serious bleeding and slipped into coma but was not treated. Ahmad Mirza was taken from his cell two weeks ago but has not been returned. His cell mates are extremely worried about him. Another victim is Ali Al Laith who was transferred to solidarity confinement.

Renowned journalist Mazen Mahdi was arrested, interrogated and threatened not to give details of his ordeal before he was released. He is a Bahraini reporter for the German News Agency DPA and has been detained and interrogated several times since 2011. In 1997 Ute Meinel, a German journalist working for the same news agency was given 24 hours to leave Bahrain because of her coverage of the khalifi crimes against Bahrainis.

Hani Mohammad Al Najjar, 25 was arrested outside his workplace in Ras Rumman. He is a young Bahraini native of special needs, suffering a chronic illness that causes weak muscles and immobility of upper and lower limbs. There are serious fears for his life as he is unlikely to get proper medical care while incarcerated.

On 25th August Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action about Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace who has been denied medical treatment for his various ailments. The organization called for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr Al Singace, providing him with unhindered medical care, transferring him to hospital without shackles and stopping harassment of human rights activists.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

28th August 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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