STATEMENTS

Labour will stop arming Saudis, Bahraini prisoners denied medical care

Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Sunday he would stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen if he wins an election this month. “Labour will stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen and work to end the war there, not actively support it as the Conservative government has done,” Corbyn said in a speech setting out Labour’s foreign policy objectives. “Labour’s new internationalism means we will create a peace and conflict-prevention fund and invest an extra 400 million pounds ($513 million) to expand our diplomatic capacity and increase oversight of arms exports to ensure we’re not fuelling conflicts, as in Yemen and in Israel and the Palestinian territories,” he said in the speech in the northern English city of York.

On 2nd December Saudi forces raided Umm Alhazm district in the middle of Qatif, using armoured vehicles. Homes were searched and several people were detained. A whole family was detained in a house raid at Al Dobaj district in Qatif. Saud Al Faraj, his wife Iman Al Ruhaimani and their daughter were taken away to unknown destination.

On 27th November the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on Saudi Arabia toimmediately end its arrest campaigns against journalists and free all those who have been jailed for their writing, the said today. From November 16 to 21, Saudi authorities arrested at least seven journalists, bloggers, and columnists. Saudi authorities have not publicly stated any reasons for the arrests, which included many who have not published in recent years. “Under Crown Prince Salman, anyone in Saudi Arabia who so much as thinks about reporting or writing can find themselves in a prison cell,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Senior Researcher Justin Shilad. “Saudi authorities must immediately end their brutal crackdown, and the international community must cease business as usual with a government bent on imprisoning journalists.”

Saudi human rights activists have confirmed that since during the reign of the present monarch, Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and his notorious son, Mohammad bin Salman, at least 88 people were beheaded for their political activism. In January 2016 mass beheadings involved 47 people, four were beheaded in 2017 and 37 in April this year. This does not include executions for ordinary crimes.

In a sinister move, the re-trial of two native Bahrainis who had been condemned to death by an earlier court, has been postponed by the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court to Christmas day. There was an uproar against the initial sentence against Mohammad Ramadan and Hussain Moosa that forced the khalifi dictator to order a retrial. It is now clear that the choice of Christmas day for the re-trial is part of the “bury the news” policy. It is feared that the initial sentence might be re-imposed and implemented as the world is shut down during the Christmas and New Year’s period.

In a clear case of revenge, the brother of UK-based activist, Moosa Abd Ali was snatched by the khalifi murderous forces. After being held incommunicado for several hours, Abbas Abd Ali informed his family that he was being held at the Criminal Investigation Directorate, which is widely for their use of torture. He still has no access to lawyers. Abbas was detained in the early hours of Thursday 28th November during a vicious raid on the family’s home at Al Ekr town. The family was awoken by the raiders who shouted abuse and used force to frighten the family. This happened one week after Moosa had filed an official complaint to the Metropolitan police urging them to investigate the assassination attempt against him by staff of the khalifi embassy in London.

A letter leaked from the notorious Jau prison presents a bleak picture of what goes on behind bars and sheds light on the skin disease epidemic. Hassan Abdulla Ahmad said that the prisoners have been suffering the disease for the past five months and that no medical treatment had been given to them. He said they are allowed only one hour daily to leave their cells. In this hour they have to do some exercise, get some exposure to the sun and natural light, communicate with their families and wash their clothes. As the time is short they are forced to take their wet clothes back to their cells. He added that there is no skin disease specialist in the prison.

One of the senior figures in jail has been transferred to Salmaniya hospital following the deterioration of his health. Hisham Al Sabbagh was seen being led by torturers, with his hands and feet shacked with steel chains. He suffers various ailments especially in his jaw which was broken during the torture sessions four years ago. He is serving 15 years for peacefully opposing the khalifi hereditary dictatorship. Another political prisoner also suffers broken bones for which he receives no adequate medical treatment. Ayyoub Adel has repeatedly asked for treatment but to no avail. Another inmate is Murtada Al Miqdad who suffers acute inflamation in his eye. His Cornea is severely damaged and needs immediate treatment. He could lose his sight any moment.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

4th December 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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