STATEMENTS

Intensification of Saudi executions and persecution of Bahrainis

A report by the Gulf Centre for Democracy and Human Rights has highlighted the mass executions by Saudi authorities last April. Thirty seven people were killed on trumpeted charges and that at least 20 are awaiting the capital punishment. Three of these were arrested when they were minors. The report also presented horrific accounts of the ill-treatment and abuse inflicted on women prisoners including torture, sexual harassment and forced disappearance. Several of them were subjected to solitary confinement especially Naseema Al Sadah.

The sister of a prominent Saudi women’s rights campaigner who has been tortured in prison has vented her frustration for not receiving any information about her trial or release date from authorities. Loujain al-Hathloul, who had campaigned to win Saudi women the right to drive and was arrested several times for breaking the recently overturned driving ban, was arrested in May 2018 alongside 10 other women’s rights activists in the kingdom. Lina al-Hathloul, her young sister who lives in Brussels, has said coping with the uncertainty around her case is emotional rollercoaster” for both Loujain and her family. Some of the women had appeared in court earlier this year to face charges linked to their human rights work and contacts with foreign journalists and diplomats but it has been months since the trial had been convened.

Several prisoners from the Eastern province are facing cruel trials with the prosecutors calling for their execution and long-term jail sentences. Among them are: Hassan Abdul Adeem Al Tuhaifa, Hassam Mohammad Al Tuhaifa, Mohammad Tayseer Al Nimr, Majed Al Qallaf, Hassan Al Qallaf, Hussain Al Qallaf, Muhsin Al Bahrani, Nasser Al Zanadi and Mohammad Al Ismail. The Saudi security forces have also arrested a young man from Qatif in the Eastern Province. Musa Al Mughassil was taken to unknown destination for no obvious reasons. He is brother of detained Haji Ahmad Al Mughassil and the poet Fadel Al Mughassel

In an irresponsible move, Saudi Arabia, Emirates and the khalifis of Bahrain decided to withdraw their teams from the Gulf Cup 24 tournament to be held in Qatar. The move came at a time when this unholy alliance is facing defeats at almost every level. The aim is to score points against their neighbor after they have lost credibility at almost all fronts of their conflicts with others.

In Bahrain several political prisoners have continued their hunger strike to demand their rights for proper medical care, unhindered family visits and allowing religious and educational books into the cells. Among them are human rights activists Naji Ali and Ali Hajji. They have now completed four weeks of hunger.

The father of political prisoner, Usama Al Saghir has called for a simple blanket to protect him against the cold. Usama carries a total of 60 year prison sentences for opposing khalifi hereditary dictatorship. His body is riddled with shotgun wounds.

As the native Bahraini women detainees remain behind bars news have confirmed that Hajer Mansoor continues to suffer abuses, threats and bullying from khalifi officers. On 16th September she was escorted by an officer from Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) to the Military Hospital who abused her verbally and pyschologically. The officer kept screaming at Hajer, attempted to slap her and threatened to prolong her imprisonment. This treatment has continued since last July. She is in jail with her son in revenge for the activities of her son-in-law Sayed Ahmed Al Wadaei, a political refugee in UK.A native Bahraini religious scholar has been arrested. Sheikh Abdul Nabi Al Nashaba was detained because of his uncompromising stands with regards to the khalifi dictatorship.

One of the most prominent human rights activist has complained of severe curtailment of his rights as a prisoner especially the banning of books. Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja, who was detained in March 2011 has called this “intellectual anorexia”, saying that by depriving prisoners of books during incarceration they’re slowly taking away their humanity and ability to interact and connect with other people. This comes along with shortened phone calls and family visits and fewer family visits. He said that in the past two years he has only been allowed two issues of an American magazine. Two years ago the prison administration took away the small prison library they had access to and confiscated all their writings including their memoirs. He was at pain to say that he is not allowed to read or write.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

25th September 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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