STATEMENTS

Saudi spies arrested by US, scores Bahrainis detained by khalifis

Two former employees of Twitter and a third man from Saudi Arabia face U.S. charges of spying for the kingdom by digging up private user data and giving it to Saudi officials in exchange for payment, a complaint from the US Department of Justice shows. Ali Alzabarah and Ahmad Abouammo, who used to work for Twitter, and Ahmed Almutairi, who then worked for the Saudi royal family, face charges of working for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia without registering as foreign agents, according to the complaint filed against them last week. The indictment points an unusually public finger at Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally that maintains warm ties with President Donald Trump despite its spotty human rights record. The two former Twitter employees were given cash and other rewards, such as an expensive watch, in exchange for the information they shared, the complaint said. Abouammo later claimed the watch was worth $35,000 in communications with prospective buyers on Craigslist.org. They appeared to have been cultivated by a senior Saudi official, identified by the Washington Post as Bader al-Asaker, Prince Mohammad’s close adviser who now heads the crown prince’s private office and charity MiSK.

The United Arab Emirates has hosted the  second World Tolerance Summit on November 13 and 14, 2019 in Dubai as part of UAE efforts to present itself as the “global capital of tolerance.” Human Rights Watch issued a statement describing the reality of “tolerance” in the UAE. . “Despite its assertions about tolerance, the UAE government has demonstrated no real interest in improving its human rights record,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “To truly prove itself tolerant, the UAE should start by releasing all those unjustly imprisoned for not toeing the official line. “The UAE cannot credibly promote itself as a tolerant state while men like Ahmed Mansoor, Nasser bin-Ghaith, and Mohammed al-Roken, who risked their freedom to make the UAE a better and more just place, languish behind bars,” Whitson said. A letter signed by 29 international NGOs called for the release of these prisoners of conscience.

The khalifi ailing regime in Bahrain has claimed to have uncovered another “December plot” to justify more persecution of native Bahrainis. This follows a major aggression on towns and villages around Bahrain leading to the arrest of scores of innocent citizens. The attacks started in the early hours of Wednesday 6th November and led to the arrest of at least 38 natives. From Nuwaidrat Hussain Abbas was detained from his house as the family was asleep. Two brothers from Musalla town were seized: Sayed Ali and Sayed Hussain when their homes were ransacked. Ali Hassan Mahdi Abdul Muhsin Al Tawq was detained from Sitra Wadyan. From Duraz Mahmood Mohammad Saleh Al Durazi was seized. Other detainees include Ahmad Qahir and Ali Jamil Al Khawaja. The raids continued on 7th November leading to more detentions. Orator Fawwaz Abdul Nabi from Sanad town was snatched from his home. From Musalla town Mohammad Abdul Hadi Al Baqqali was detained when his house was raided by ISIS-style security men.

A prominent religious scholar who has been unjustly jailed for more than 50 years has been moved to exclusion detention as punishment for teaching younger inmates, an activity considered a crime by khalifi dictators. Bahrain’s jiu-jitsu champion, Mohammad Mirza has decided to go on strike in protest at holding martial arts games in the country. He wrote a letter to the president of the games protesting against allowing the khalifi dictators smearing the name of the games.

The persecution of the native majority during the Muharram commemorations intensified this year to reach 98 attacks, according to Ghena Al Rabba’ei, a researcher at the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights. These include 51 summons to orators and lamenters and eight arrests.

On 8th November SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford,  Lib-dem leader Jo Swinson, Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts,  and Caroline Lucas from the Green Party, raised the cases of four Bahraini women who have fallen victim to the government’s crackdown on dissent which has intensified since 2017.  As revealed in a joint-report released in September by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), this crackdown has increasingly targeted women. Two women featured in the report, Najah Yusuf and Ebtisam AlSaegh reported sexual assaults by officers from Bahrain’s National Security Agency during interrogations in 2017.  Najah was imprisoned for criticising Formula One’s Bahrain Grand Prix on social media, while Ebtisam was targeted for her human rights activism.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

15th November 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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