STATEMENTS

UK expels Saudi intelligence officer, HRW and Belgian Senate lambast Bahrain

Yesterday UK’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab revealed that two Saudi diplomats have been thrown out of UK. The Saudis have remained tight-lipped about the case fearing serious backlash against the current policies imposed by Mohammad bin Salman (MBS).  “We have asked the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to withdraw a Saudi diplomat, and in response to the request a diplomat has been recalled to Saudi Arabia and is no longer accredited to the Saudi mission in London,” a Foreign Office spokesman said on Friday. He declined to comment further. London police also declined to give details of the case, which involves a current prosecution. But The Times newspaper named the diplomat as Ali al-Shamarani and described him as an “intelligence officer”. It said that over four years, Shamarani had allegedly paid several thousand pounds to a police officer for information about Middle Eastern citizens living in Britain. Few years ago a member of the Saudi royal family killed his servant, Bandar bin Abdul Aziz in a case that focused the attention on the way the Saudis dealt with the others. Under Saudi pressure and financial inducement, the UK government handed the killer to the Saudis “to serve his term in Saudi jails”.

Under-aged Saudi boy, Abdulla Al Zaher, 15, has been condemned to death by beheading and crucifixion by a a Saudi kangaroo court. He had been subjected to most horrific torture to sign uncorroborated “confessions”.

On the eve of the Hay festival in Abu Dhabi, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights and fifty other NGOs signed an appeal for the release of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor and other defenders jailed in Abu Dhabi

On 19th February the Kuwaiti authorities arrested human rights lawyer Hani Hussain. On the evening of that day he was transferred to the office of Public Prosecution. He was remanded in custody for 21 days pending investigation. He is being held at the Central Prison. Local sources said that two cases are being investigated, the first is linked to broadcasting news about the area separating Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which has been disputed for decades. The other is allegedly linked to harming the national unity.

The khalifi regime of Bahrain has reacted poorly to the spread of the Coronavirus disease among the native Bahrainis. Yesterday morning they were talking of one person infected while performing religious rituals in Iran. By the evening the number rose to 26. Hundreds of Bahrainis on religious trips to the holy city of Mashad in Iran have been stranded as the regime continues to ignore their pleas for immediate evacuation. Instead of heeding their calls the khalifis have politicized the crisis. Yesterday its media and mouthpieces have targeted Iran for abuse. Some of them have even suggested that the Islamic Republic is intentionally spreading the disease in Bahrain while others attacked the beliefs of the majority Shia Muslim population of Bahrain.

In another round of crackdown on the Bahrain 13 group, the khalifi dictators have denied them family visits, reneged on earlier promises and imposed severe cultural sanctions on those oppressed people. Last year the khalifis agreed to remove the barriers that separate the families from their loved prisoners. The leaders have rejected the barriers which is one of oppressive steps imposed on the political prisoners. Since the new year the regime has adopted more criminal policies against the native majority as they continued to call for regime change.

Najah Yousuf, former prisoner of conscience, released few months ago after more than two year incarceration has confirmed that she had been sacked from her job because of her activism and imprisonment. She was hoping that her torturers and abusers would be brought to justice but she was greatly disappointed. Yesterday she tweeted: I exercised my right to freedom of expression and criticized the Formula1 car racing in 2017. I was subjected to physical and psychological torture as well as arbitrary detention for two years and four months. Instead of taking legal action against the torturers, they sacked me arbitrarily”.

Under the title “Nine Years After Bahrain’s Uprising, Its Human Rights Crisis Has Only Worsened” Human Rights Watch has issued a statement detailing the downwards trend of the human right situation in Bahrain. The khalifi crackdown on native Bahrainis has continued unabated. Yesterday raids at the town of Dair led to several arrests. Among them is Fadhel Abbas. The raids continued for three days.

On the ninth anniversary of the Revolution the Belgian Senate issued a damning resolution on Bahrain. It acknowledges that the Bahraini government continued, and even intensified, its “crackdown and campaign of repression and persecution against political and human rights activists”. It strongly condemns the use of the death penalty, calling on the Belgian government to urge Bahrain to “re-establish a moratorium on the death penalty” and to “retry” the cases of torture victims on death row, Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Ali Moosa.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

26th February 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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