STATEMENTS

More persecution of citizen by Saudi, Emirati, khalifi alliance to avenge defeat

The prospect of capitulation to Qatar by Saudis, Emiratis and khalifis is looming in the horizon. Yesterday, Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad, in his opening of his country’s parliament, urged that the GCC member states should rise above their differences and present a united front. For almost a year, Kuwait has been mediating in the crisis that had caused an enormous split within the GCC and threatened its existence. The three regimes have also waged a destructive war on Yemen in which they have been defeated. Since their political and military fortunes waned they are now cornered and must decide on conceding defeat or perishing.

In Riyadh Sheikh Fahad al-Qadi has been sentenced by a Saudi court to six years imprisonment, for a “secret advice letter” he had sent to the Royal Court in 2016. He has been behind bars since then. Prince Faisal bin Sultan bin Jahjah bin Humaid of the Otaiba tribe has been arrested for his recent tweets. He expressed his opinion on the practices of Turki Aal al-Sheikh who is in charge of the newly-formed Entertainment General Authority.

Many international NGOs have called on speakers at the World Tolerance Summit to be held next month to cancel their participation. They include Article 19, PEN International, Front Line Defenders and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. In the letter they said: We, the undersigned, call on all participants and speakers at the World Tolerance Summit taking place in Dubai on November 13 and 14 to withdraw from the event, which promotes a misleading image of the United Arab Emirates as a model of tolerance and openness. This is the second World Tolerance Summit, initiated in 2018 to “strengthen the UAE’s position as a model of co-existence and cultural tolerance around the world.” The UAE has actively participated in the destruction of Yemen’s people and heritage and the suppression of Bahraini protests in 2011.

A Bahraini activist who was jailed after criticising Formula One’s Grand Prix in the country has said she contemplated suicide after suffering rape and abuse at the hands of the state’s authorities. Najah Yusuf, a former civil servant who was fired over her jail sentence, was imprisoned in April 2017 after condemning the Bahrain Grand Prix and human rights abuses in the wealthy Gulf state on Facebook. The mother-of-four, who was freed from prison in August, said she still lives in fear of being forced to return to jail at any moment. The 42-year-old, whose treatment has been denounced by the United Nations, called for Formula One and Lewis Hamilton to acknowledge the human rights violations she has suffered and urge the authorities to launch an investigation into her treatment. “Formula One should not be racing in a country when abuses occur,” she told The Independent in her first interview since leaving jail. “I was concerned about this and the government’s attack on freedom of expression and their treatment of protesters and citizens so I spoke out.” Formula One has promised to raise the alleged rape and torture of Najah with Bahraini authorities after previously failing to acknowledge human rights abuses in the country – but stopped short of saying this would affect the decision to hold lucrative grand prix races there.

The native Bahraini political prisoners are unable to provide for their basic needs which they need to buy, yet the khalifi prison officials have been adopting dirty tactics to make life even more difficult for them. Every three months those officials would take away the purchased items, such as clothes and sanitation materials and force them to buy new ones. The families have protested against this practice but to no avail.

It is now more than 20 days since ten prisoners at Block 13 of the notorious Jaw prison started their hunger strike. They include Mazen Al Wanna, Majeed Ahmad, Habib Mohmmad, Mohammad Yousuf Mohammad Ali, Mohammad Yousuf Al Mahasniya, Mohammad Ali Eid, Sayed Munir AlMousawi, Miqdad Al Jaziri, Wa’el AlMafyooh, Yousuf Al Arabi and Hassan Al Tayeb. They are protesting the ill-treatment, the imposition of glass barriers during family visits and the lack of medical care. Four days ago they were joined by three more hunger strikers: Mohammad Abdulla Ali, Jaffar Mohammad Hussain and Sayed Ahmad Shubber.

Yesterday Rights groups slammed Bahrain’s government for what they say is “the systematic targeting of female political activists and their mistreatment in prisons.” A recent report titled, Breaking the Silence: “Bahraini Women Political Prisoners Expose Systemic Abuses”, outlines the cases of nine former and current female prisoners in Bahrain throughout the process of their arrests and trials, as well as the conditions of their detentions. The report was formally launched last month, and was the subject of an event on Capitol Hill yesterday.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) held a Congressional briefing examining the plight of female political prisoners in Bahrain, in particular nine female political prisoners covered in our recently released report, “Breaking the Silence: Bahraini women political prisoners expose systemic abuses.” Monica Zuraw of ADHRB moderated the panel. Bridget Quitter of ADHRB, Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch, Shadi Mokhtari Assistant Professor at American University, and Philippe Nassif of Amnesty International delivered remarks.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

30th October 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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