STATEMENTS

Saudis agreed Trump’s demands in 35 seconds; Australian apology toHakeem

Deep indignation has swept Saudi Arabia in recent days at the way the regime has conducted itself in its relations with the US and how President Trump has made them a laughing stock. On 21st October Trump tweeted: “You read where we’re sending some troops to Saudi Arabia. That’s true. Because we want to help Saudi Arabia. They have been a very good ally. They’ve agreed to pay for the cost of those troops. They’ve agreed to pay fully for the cost of everything we’re doing over there. . . . Saudi Arabia is paying for 100 percent of the cost, including the cost of our soldiers. And that negotiation took a very short time — like, maybe, about 35 seconds.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), recounting to reporters a conversation at the White House with Trump, Oct. 17, said: President Trump has a soft spot for Saudi Arabia. It’s where he took his first overseas trip as president. He also worked hard to rehabilitate on the world stage its de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after the CIA concluded he had ordered the 2018 assassination of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

On 2nd October two more death penalties were passed by a Saudi court in Riyadh. Mohammad Al Labad and Mohammad Al Faraj, both from Awwamiya town in the Eastern Province were given the capital punishment for taking part in anti-regime protests several years ago. Yesterday the same court adjourned the trial of two other men from Qatif, Eastern Province until 19th January 2020. Mohammad Al Shakhouri and As’ad Al Sayed Ali were tortured severely to extract false confessions which were used to charge them.

Saudi jails are now full of people calling for their natural rights. Few days ago Fawzan Al Harbi addressed the outside world saying that he has been behind bars since 2014, sentenced to ten years in prison followed by ten years of travel ban. He was charged with forming unlicensed association called Hasm, caling for freedom of speech, disobeying the oppressive rulers and distorting the image of the state.

Two more innocent people have been detained by the Saudis: the poet Hmood bin Gasi al-Subaie and  the designer Gunsol Subai The detention came on the grounds of a recent poem by Hmood in which he criticized the practices of Turki Aal al-Sheikh, head of General Authority for Entertainment.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) boss has personally apologised to footballer Hakeem al-Araibi over his detention in a Thai prison for 77 days. Commissioner Reece Kershaw, who assumed the AFP’s top job earlier this month, told Senate Estimates bureaucratic mistakes led to the permanent Australian resident (of Bahraini origin) being locked up. Commissioner Kershaw said he felt the need to write directly to the footballer to say sorry, having reviewed the case after he took over the leadership of the AFP. “I have delivered a letter to Mr al-Araibi to extend AFP’s apology for his unfortunate detention in Thailand,” Commissioner Kershaw said.”And to reassure Mr al-Araibi that the AFP is continuing to review and improve processes in consultation with other relevant agencies to ensure we respond appropriately to these matters in the future. “As an accountable organisation to the community, I felt it was right to do,” he said.

For a week now, Hussain Ali Moosa has been on hunger strike at the notorious Jau prison. He is calling for the removal of the barriers that separate the inmates from their relatives during family visits, increasing the duration of these visits and arranging special visits for the married couples. Human Rights activist, Ali Hajji who has now spent 53 days on hunger strike has, again, repeated similar demands and insisted on continuing his strike until they are met. The mother of Hussain Ali Mahdi Jassim, 23, has expressed serious fears for his life after he had been transferred to the military hospital. Hussain  has a death sentence on his head on trumped up charges. He has been behind bars since April 2016. He has now spent ten days on hunger strike.

A seminar was held at the British Parliament on Thursday 17th October on the situation of human rights in Bahrain. Several activists addressed the seminar to highlight the serious situation in the country. Among them was Lucila Berwick from BIRD who talked about a joint report by BIRD and ADHRB on the ill treatment of women detainees. Bahar Saba of Reprieve highlighted the cases of more 23 innocent native Bahrainis on death row calling for their acquittal. Ali Mushaima presented the case of his father, Hassan Mushaima who has been in jail since March 2011 and suffers various ailments including Cancer. Olivia Rosenstrom, of Temple Garden Chambers and Sayed Ahmad Al Wadaei dealt with other human rights violations.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

23rd October 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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