Calls to prosecute Bahrain’s dictator who abused Nabeel Rajab

Saudis insist on persecuting women activists

Bahrain’s khalifi dictators were forced to release Nabeel Rajab after four years of incarceration for speaking out against their crimes. Outside jail he is under more restrictions and repression than behind bars. He has been placed under house arrest, banned from issuing statements or speaking to the press. Mr Rajab had been repeatedly detained and sentenced to lengthy prison terms for condemning the “systematic torture” inflicted on native political prisoners. He was subjected to horrific treatment behind bars, abused, blackmailed and threatened with severe consequences if he spoke of his ordeal. Senior members of khalifi GANGOs were used to intimidate him as Western backers kept tight lips on the imprisonment of the most senior human rights activist in the region. His tweet in 2015 against the khalifi role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen sealed his fate; he was given five years jail sentence of which he has spent four. Calls have been made for authenticating Mr Rajab’s abuses for future legal cases against khalifi dictators and torturers.

Thousands of native Bahraini prisoners are now subjected to severe restrictions inside the filthy, unhygienic and Covid-invested torture chambers. Scores have been taken ill but received little medical care. Contacts with their families are repeatedly interrupted and used to blackmail them. At Bloc 14 of Jau prison, three Pakistani prison guards were infected; Shaikl, Afzal and Rizwan. A Bahraini guard, Abdullah Al Dowsari was also infected.

Last week the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) published an opinion concerning the cases of 20 Bahraini citizens convicted by the Bahraini Fourth High Criminal Court on 15 May 2018, following a mass trial involving 138 defendants. They were convicted for their alleged involvement in a terrorist cell, called the “Zulfiqar Brigades” by the Bahraini government. The WGAD ultimately determined that the imprisonment of these individuals is in violation of several international human rights laws concerning their arbitrary detention. The Working Group has requested the government of Bahrain to take immediate action to remedy the situation. This includes the immediate and unconditional release of the prisoners and ensure that they receive medical care. According to the Working Group, under certain circumstances, widespread or systematic imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty may constitute crimes against humanity. Due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, WGAD maintains there is a further deepening threat to the health of individuals held in detention. and that the Bahraini Government needs to immediately release the 18 individuals.

The spread of skin diseases among native Bahraini political prisoners is causing serious concerns to their families and human rights activists. Sources have identified at least 31 prisoners with suffering of these serious diseases including: Yousuf Ahmad Al Aradi, Sayed Ahmad Salman, Shakir Isa Ali, Sayed Ali Alawi, Hassan Jaffar Khamis, Habib Abdul Latif Mahdi, Naji Fateel, Mohammad Yousuf Marhoon, Ali Mohammad Matrook, Ahmad Saleh Ali Saleh, Mohsin Ibrahim Mohsin, Hussain Mohammad Hassan, Hassan Ali Abdulla, Sayed Alawi Maitham, Jaffar Mirza Ali Mirza, Ali Jaffar Ali, Ali Ma’tooq Ibrahim, Sulaiman Habib Ali, Hussain Ali Saleh, Hassan Isa Ahmad, Hassan Abdulla Al Banna, Ali Mohammad Hassan, Hassan Majed, Talib Ali, Salah Saeed Al Hammar, Mohammad Ibrahim Yahya, Hassan Yousuf Hassan, Hussain Rashid, Majeed Ahmad Habib, Abdul Amir Yousuf and Ahmad Abdulla.

On 8th June a Spanish publication “Apúntate a nuestra newsletter” published an article on the ill-treatment of human rights defenders by khalifi hereditary dictatorship. It said:  Bahrain is the country with the highest number of prisoners of conscience per capita, with thousands of activists and human rights defenders in its prisons. The arrival of COVID-19 added to the unhealthy situation and the inhumane treatment that prisoners receive in Bahrain prisons, the lives of many are in danger. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) calls for the release of these people who should never have been imprisoned.”

Three jailed Saudi women activists have been nominated for the Nobel Prize; Loujain al-Hathloul, Waleed Abu al-Khair and Naseema al-Sadah. The two women have spent more than two years for their activism calling for the right to drive and other political reforms.  The Saudi regime’s reaction has been outrageous. Naseema Al Sadeh has only recently been removed from solitary confinement. For more than a month Loujain al-Hathloul was denied telephone contacts with her family. Another political prisoner, Sheikh Salman al-Odah who is currently at Al-Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh has also been denied access to family phone calls since mid-May.

Spain’s highest court has begun an investigation into whether Juan Carlos I, the former king, had received millions of dollars of illegal payments in connection with a high-speed train contract in Saudi Arabia. The general prosecutor of the Supreme Court will determine whether Juan Carlos, 82, can be included in the corruption case, given that he was protected by immunity until June 2014 when he abdicated in favour of his son, Felipe. In a statement the prosecutor described the case as having “undeniable technical complexity”. Two days after Riyadh announced the austerity measures, the defence wing of Boeing was awarded contracts worth $2.6bn to supply the kingdom with more than 1,000 surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles. Experts say while that was part of long-term agreements, the fact that it is proceeding is a sign that one of the world’s biggest arms importers is still spending on defence.Lockheed Martin, the US arms manufacturer which supplies THAAD missile defence systems to the Saudi government said it had “not seen a backing off of expenditures on defence by any of its main Middle Eastern customers.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

10th June 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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