STATEMENTS

Saudis under international scrutiny as Bahrainis reject Trump’s plan

The hacking of Jeff Bezos’s phone by agents of Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is assuming new dimensions and becoming an embarrassment to Saudi allies in Washington and London. Last week UN experts called for an “immediate investigation” into the claims. Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions and extrajudicial killings, and David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression said: “The information we have received suggests the possible involvement of the Crown Prince in surveillance of Mr. Bezos, in an effort to influence, if not silence, The Washington Post’s reporting on Saudi Arabia. The allegations reinforce other reporting pointing to a pattern of targeted surveillance of perceived opponents and those of broader strategic importance to the Saudi authorities, including nationals and non-nationals. These allegations are relevant as well to ongoing evaluation of claims about the Crown Prince’s involvement in the 2018 murder of Saudi and Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.” Article 19 has also published a report supporting the UN demand for an investigation. Acting Executive Director Quinn McKew said: “An immediate independent investigation is needed to determine the truth.  This is a particularly egregious example of spyware sold by private companies being used to illegally surveill and intimidate journalists, media owners and human rights defenders.”

The demands have come at an awkward time for the Saudis. An opposition figure has started legal proceedings against the Saudi government for pursuing him. Ghanem al-Masarir is a human-rights activist and the host of the “Ghanem Show” on YouTube. He said: On Jan. 10, the British High Court of Justice granted me permission to pursue a lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I’m told that the decision is a legal rarity, because it will allow a British resident to pursue damages for a cyberattack by a foreign government. He added: Knowing that the Saudis have been spying on me and had complete access to my private life has had a huge impact on me personally. That is why I’m suing the Saudi government. I’m seeking damages — and an apology. The invasion of my privacy has left me in fear for my personal safety. But I am more concerned about the people who still live in Saudi Arabia and whose messages might have been read by the regime and are now associated with me. I fear their lives are now at risk.

The Deal of the Century, announced yesterday by President Trump has been rejected by the Arab, Muslim and the free people. Bahrainis joined in the rejection and condemnation of the continuous attempts to confiscate the rights of the Palestinians and deny them their own state. The plan which had been floated two years ago is unlikely to lead to a lasting peace in the region, especially in light of the persistent warmongering by the White House and the threats to regional states. Bahrainis tweeted the hashtag #Bahrainis_against_Deal_of_the_century as protesters marched in several places against this betrayal of the Palestinian people. Al Wefaq Society considered anyone who supports or identifies with the Deal of the Century as traitor and definitely a pervert

A native Bahraini, sentenced to death for opposing the khalifi hereditary dictatorship has been subjected to criminal medical neglect and he now fears that he might lose one of his eyes. For a long time, Hussain Ali Mahdi has been asking prison officers for treatment but they have repeatedly refused. His family has confirmed that he had complained for more than one year  and that his eyesight is weakening by the day. This is accompanied by severe pains in the vicinity of the eye. He had no previous complaints of ill-health until he was subjected to severe torture. His “confessions” under duress were used to condemn him to death.

Regime’s escalation of its repression has targeted several religious scholars. Sheikh Abdul Mohsin Mulla Atiyya has been in detention since his arrest last week. He had returned from visiting holy shrines abroad. Sheikh Ali Rahma, the Imam of Al Zahra mosque has also been summoned and interrogated by the torture apparatus. Sheikh Abdul Zahra Al Samahiji has been in detention since 13th January for delivering a lecture about Prophet Mohammad. Sheikh Ali bin Ahmad Al Jihafsi, 80, has also been summoned and interrogated about last Friday’s prayers in which he had prayed for the release of Bahraini prisoners and the souls of the martyrs.

Yesterday khalifi dictators, through their courts, issued jail sentences on a group of native Bahrainis, ranging between 3 and 15 years for opposing the regime. Among them were 7 from Duraz Town. Two young men; Ahmad Marhoon and Mahmood Me’raj from Nuwaidrat Town were given 15 years. On 25th January, regime’s terror forces attacked the town of Saar, raiding homes and breaking doors. They arrested several people before leaving. Those arrests are within the regime’s policy of pre-empting popular protests against the khalifi dictators.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

29th January 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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