STATEMENTS

Riyadh GCC summit debacle, Bahraini football victory a snub to khalifis

The 40th GCC summit that was held in Riyadh yesterday was dismissed by many as a meaningless side show especially in the light of the Saudi failure to rally the other rulers of the member states. The summit which was held behind closed doors, lasted less than one hour. Riyadh had effectively raised the white flag in its political war with Qatar, accepting to move the summit from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh as demanded by Doha, participating in the Gulf tournament (Gulf24) that was held in Qatar and ignoring its earlier demands from Doha to stop Al Jazeera channel, cut links with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood and close the Turkish military base on its soil. Yet Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim Al Thani snubbed the Saudis and boycotted the summit, sending, instead his prime minister. UAE strong man, Mohmmad bin Zayed, was also absent. The summit was a muted affair that failed to address the major issues like the Saudi-Emirati-khalifi aggression on Yemen, the relations with Iran and the people’s demands for democratisation and respect of human rights.

On 6th December a young man from Qatif in Eastern Arabia was martyred after succumbing to the horrific injuries he had sustained 35 days earlier. On 2nd November Saudi armoured vehicles invaded the province and hit anything or anyone in their way. Two people were hit. Hassan Al Dakhilwho was riding his scooter died instantly; Jaffar Al Khlaif was transferred to the hospital where he spent agonising days before his martyrdom. In another case, Ali al-Nimr will be marking his sixth consecutive birthday on Saudi Arabia’s death row on December 20th. He’ll be 25 years old. He was just 17 when he was arrested in Saudi Arabia and 19 when he was sentenced to death for ‘crimes’ linked to protesting. Human rights bodies have urged people to “take 2 minutes to send Ali a message of support ahead of his birthday”

Stung by the visit to the house of Nabeel Rajab’s family by American Senator Chris Murphy, Bahrain’s dictator has ordered the family to close their doors for visitors who sometimes discussed the situation in the country. The ban has shown the inherent weakness of the khalifi dictator who feared the consequences of asking the Senator not to visit the family. Instead he vented his anger at the defenceless family who had no alternative but to abide by the khalifi order. The closure of the house is another regressive step by a regime that had dissolved political societies, independent newspapers, banned speakers and preachers and banished activists.

On 8th December Bahrain won the Gulf Tournament Cup for the first time. It was hailed as manifestation of the skills of the native footballers who exhibited enormous skills. Scenes of jubilations around the country stunned the khalifi regime which had jailed and tortured athletes including footballers. The khalifi clan, led by its dictator has imported foreignersincluding athletes to replace the natives. The victory has given impetus to the demand that the khalifi dictatorship be ended and that natives (Shia and Sunni) should run the country themselves.

Yesterday, Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action Update, calling on the Bahraini authorities to ensure that the verdict in the cases of Mohamed Ramadhan Issa Ali Hussain and Hussain Ali Moosa Hussain Mohamed is the fair outcome of a trial that has fully complied with international fair trial standards, that excluded evidence obtained under torture and without recourse to the death penalty. The khalifi High Criminal Court of Appeal had attempted to “bury the news”. By setting 25 December 2019 to issue its verdict in one the most controversial cases of miscarriage of justice in the country the khalifis hoped no one would care about it. On 22 October 2018, under immense international pressure the Cassation Court overturned their death sentences which it had confirmed in 2015 and returned their cases to the Appeal Court for re-examination, based on new evidence.

Two Members of Parliament in Portugal have asked the government to explain its policy towards the human rights situation in Bahrain. Alexandra Vieira and Pedro Filipe Soares, who are members of the Bloco de Esquerda(BE) Party also asked whether the government has any plan to influence the situation in Bahrain. They presented to the Parliament a list of human rights abuses including torture, unfair trials and forced disappearances with particular emphasis on the deteriorating situation at the notorious Jauprison. They also referred to the cases of Sheikh Ali Salman, NabeelRajab, Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace and Mrs Ebtisam Al Sayegh. Portugal had historic links with Bahrain when it colonised it between 1522 and 1602.

A letter describing the spread of skin diseases among native political prisoners has complained that the prison authorities had failed to take serious measures to stop the spread of the disease and treat the infected. It was signed by 12 sick prisoners. One of them, Hussain Abdulla Al Haddad said: I cannot sleep because of pain and the feeling that those in charge continue to ignore our pleas.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

11th December 2019 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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