Concerns are rising for the life of a Saudi academic and thinker who has languished behind bars for more than two years. On 16th December a court in Riyadh adjourned its verdict on Sheikh Hassan Farhan Al Maliki until February 2020. The cleric has refused to be drawn to the sectarian policies of the Saudi dictatorship and has repeatedly called for reconciliation among Muslims and the reform of the political system of his country. The prosecution demanded his beheading. One of his sons, Abbas, is also behind bars as a retribution.
Last week, the Saudi Daily, Ukadh, reported that a court in Riyadh had issued a verdict against a preacher from Qatif in the Eastern Province imposing 10000 Saudi Riyals ($3500) and twenty lashes for exercising his profession of reciting lamentations in remembrance of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, Hussain. From his cell, Saudi human rights activist, Walid Abu Alkhair wrote: Because of my human rights activism I was given 15 years prison sentence and a travel ban for the same period. In November I was moved to intensive security unit and subjected to ill-treatment. I staged a hunger strike to protest this treatment.
The former Saudi Consul in Turkey has been banned from the United States for his role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. Mohmmad Al Otaibi was present at the Consulate in Istanbul when the crime was carried out. The killers who had been dispatched from Saudi Arabia on orders from the crown prince, were later seen on CCTV entering his residence with their luggage that may have contained the remains of the victim. A statement by the US State Department said: Washington has banned former Saudi diplomat Mohammad Al Otaibi from entering the country” adding that “the US have decided to impose additional sanctions on Otaibi for his involvement in serious offences of human rights… the killing of Khashoggi is a heinous crime and today’s decision is an important additional step in response to Khashoggi’s killing”.
Yesterday, the annual Martyrs’ Day was marked by Bahrainis in their various peaceful styles. Protests and rallies were held in several places despite the intensive security presence at every corner of Bahrain’s districts. The families of the martyrs were visited by people who expressed solidarity and sympathy. Others attended the graveyards to recite verses of the Holy Quran at the graves of the martyrs. Several activities were held outside the country. In Berlin there was a protest in the city centre with pictures of the martyrs. In |London several activities were organized by the Bahrain Opposition Bloc. They include pickets, seminars and articles. On Monday 16th December a seminar and Press Briefing was held at the NEU building. On Tuesday exiled Bahrainis staged a protest at the Bahrain Embassy in Belgrave Square.
Serious concerns have been raised for the fate of seven native youths being persecuted by the khalifi dictatorship in Bahrain. On 15th December a khalifi kangaroo court adjourned the judgement until Christmas Eve in order to “bury the news”. It is a time when the political and human rights world in the West shuts down completely until the new year. The victims are: Abdulla Saeed, Sayed Majeed Sayed Faisal, Bader Maitham Al Haddad and his brother Abdulla, Mahmood Al Shaarqi and Sayed Mohammad Sayed Anwar. They have denied the charges which relied on the “evidence” provided by a “secret witness”.
Last week regime’s courts handed 30 native Bahrainis prison sentences of various severity. Eight were given life, seven were jailed for ten years, one person jailed for 15 years, four given five years, one person was given three years, and nine others were jailed for one year.
Several French MPs have taken interest in the human rights situation in Bahrain and tabled questions to their government about them. On 10th December two MPs, Mr. Pancher and Mr. Hammouche, tabled questions to draw the attention of the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs to those violations. In his question, Mr. Pancher expressed his concerns over the executions, torture and the deteriorating medical conditions of both Hassan Mushaima and Dr. Abduljalil AlSingace. Mr. Hammouche referred to the denial of medical care in the prisons. He asked the Minister, in the name of France which is “the country of human rights” to take concrete diplomatic actions to encourage political dialogue between the royal family and the political opponents so that democratic reforms and a Constitution respecting human rights can be implemented. Earlier questions were raised by two other MPs, Clémentine Autain and Jean François Mbaye.
Bahrain Freedom Movement