STATEMENTS

MBS in hacking drama, MPs condemn khalifi cruelty in Bahrain

In a new twist in the life of Saudi crown prince, new evidence has surfaced that he had hacked the mobile phone of a prominent businessman. The Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message that had apparently been sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, sources have told the Guardian. The encrypted message from the number used by Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have included a malicious file that infiltrated the phone of the world’s richest man, according to the results of a digital forensic analysis. This new revelation will add more fuel to the calls for the Saudi crown prince be held accountable for his misdemeanors and criminal acts including that of the killing and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi.

In the week be between 13 and 19 January at least 17 native Bahrainis were detained, including two children. They are accused of being anti-regime activists. The detentions followed two peaceful protests calling for political change in the country and an end to the hereditary dictatorship. The arrests are seen as a sign of desperation of the khalifi dictator and his lieutenants, and a pre-emptive move ahead of the 9th anniversary of the Revolution that had erupted on 14th February 2011. The arrests include: Ali Al Mutawwa from Daih Town, Ali Hassan Mansoor (Bani Jamra). From Duraz: Ali Nasser, Sheikh Isa Qassim’s grandson, Sayed Mohammad Sayed Baqir and his brother, Sayed Reda, Laith Al Durazi. From Al Ekr: Yousuf Ahmad Mansoor Sarhan and Hassan Ali Reda from Ma’amir town. Most of these detainees were tortured on the spot and their houses were ransacked.

The dire situation in the prisons were re-enforced this week by video clips of the mothers of political prisoners crying and calling for medical care for their children behind bars. Some of them have recently visited their sons and seen the extent of their suffering especially those who are riddled with skin diseases spreading among inmates like fire. Human rights activist, Ibtisam Al Sayegh revealed several clips of heart-broken mothers describing the pain of their children who are subjected to most horrific torture and ill-treatment by the khalifi killers.

More than 100 prisoners detained at building 17 of Bahrain’s Dry Dock Detention Centre will be launching a hunger strike to protest the lack of access to medical care, following an outbreak of the skin disease “scabies” which has infected over 50% of inmates, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) has learned. The 75 prisoners held at building 17, all under the age of 21, have long complained about poor and unhygienic conditions of incarceration which enabled the outbreak of what it is believed to be scabies, a highly infectious infestation of mites in the skin requiring urgent medical treatment and immediate sterilisation of clothes and bedding. While the outbreak was reported in building 17, it is possible that the infestation has spread more widely.

The demise this week of the father of one of the martyrs has broken the hearts of Bahrainis. Moosa Al Abbar died of agony and anger, having suffered immense ill-treatment at the hands of the regime’s torturers for asking for the killers of his son to be brought to justice. The son, Abdul Aziz was killed by regime’s torturers in 2014. The khalifi criminals denied that they had murdered him. The father refused to receive the corpse unless the cause of death had been correctly specified and attributed to the regime’s killers. After 75 days the khalifis relented and issued a a differen death certificate. But they pursued the father, Moosa for the past six years until he succumbed to death.

On 16th January an Early Day Motion on Bahrain was presented for signature by British MPs. It says: That this House strongly condemns the Government of Bahrain’s increased use of capital punishment, including the recent re-imposition of death sentences against dissidents, Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa; is concerned that their sentences were based heavily on confessions extracted under torture and that the prosecution failed to present any physical or forensic evidence; that the defendants’ allegations of torture were corroborated by a medical report; expresses further concern about the Foreign Office’s failure to acknowledge evidence of torture and due process violations despite British diplomats monitoring the trial; is aware that there are twelve political prisoners on death row in Bahrain, of whom eight are at risk of imminent execution, having exhausted all legal remedies; that a further twelve individuals are sentenced to death on non-political charges; joins the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions in deeming the execution of five political prisoners in Bahrain since January 2017 to be arbitrary killings, including those of Ali Al-Arab and Ahmed Al-Malali in July 2019; raises concerns about the failure of British taxpayer funding to strengthen the rule of law in Bahrain; reminds the UK Government of its commitment to abolish the death penalty globally, especially given the UK’s prolonged involvement in Bahrain’s so-called justice reform; calls upon the UK Government to condemn the torture of Ramadhan and Moosa and their deeply unfair trial and to suspend its training to bodies accused of human rights violations pending an evaluation of evidence of genuine reform.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

22nd January 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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