STATEMENTS

Indignation at confirmation of death penalty on two native Bahrainis

Pressure on Canada to stop arms to Saudis

On 15th June the khalifi court of cassation in Bahrain confirmed death sentences against Hussein Rashid and Zuhair Abdullah, despite the fact that their confessions were extracted under torture. This brings the total number of death penalty cases awaiting ratification by the khalifi dictator to 10. The sentence is intended to deter others from opposing the hereditary dictatorship. Three weeks ago 16 prisoners from the Philippines were “pardoned” by the dictator including one who had been sentenced to death for killing another person. Yet the dictator himself ordered execution of native Bahrainis for trumpeted charges including Ahmad Al Malali and Ali Arab.

Bahrain, Kuwait and Norway have rolled out some of the most invasive COVID-19 contact tracing apps around the world, putting the privacy and security of hundreds of thousands of people at risk, an Amnesty International (AI) investigation reveals. Amnesty’s Security Lab reviewed contact tracing apps from Europe, Middle East and North Africa, including a detailed technical analysis of 11 apps in Algeria, Bahrain, France, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Qatar, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates, some of which ranged from bad to dangerous for human rights. Bahrain’s ‘BeAware Bahrain’, Kuwait’s ‘Shlonik’ and Norway’s ‘Smittestopp’ apps stood out as among the most alarming mass surveillance tools assessed by Amnesty, with all three actively carrying out live or near-live tracking of users’ locations by frequently uploading GPS coordinates to a central server. Bahrain, Kuwait and Norway have run roughshod over people’s privacy, with highly invasive surveillance tools which go far beyond what is justified in efforts to tackle COVID-19. Privacy must not be another casualty as governments rush to roll out apps, AI said.

One of the regime’s prison officers has recently attacked a prisoner, abused and threatened to kill him. Hisham Al Zayani held native political prisoner, Yousuf Al Aradi from his neck, with hands tied from behind and almost killed him. A George Floyd situation could have developed. He then ordered the transfer of the native Bahraini victim to solitary confinement. Prisoners have reported that the officer who is guarded by the khalifi culture of impunity had in recent weeks taken aim at that prisoner hurling abuse and attacks. Mr Al Aradi has told other inmates of the ill-treatment at the hands of Al Zayani.

In a U-turn decision the khalifi establishment has been humiliated by their Western allies and forced to drop Daniel Kinahan from his advisory capacity following exposure of their regime’s expanding plunder of Bahrain’s wealth. On May 14, 2020, KHK Sports — the sports empire founded by tyrant’s son Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa —appointed Daniel Kinahan, a senior figure in organized crime, as a ‘special advisor’ to its combat sports division. KHK Sports revealed that Kinahan’s role will be to “advise across KHK Sports entire portfolio, encompassing KHK MMA, KHK Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts Promotion and BRAVE Combat Federation.” USA ordered the khalifis to cancel the appointment. The dictator has allowed his sons to have a free hand to rob the people’s wealth to fulfil their evil desires to establish sports empires.

Reactions to continued harassment of Nabeel Rajab after his “pseudo-release” from prison have continued. He is now under continuous threats of worse treatment if he did not obey the khalifi orders, not only to remain silent but to praise the torturers. Reporters Without Borders said: “Nabeel Rajab’s release is a relief, but it has been conditioned on his silence, which shows the authorities are reluctant to allow any real freedom to inform”. Native human rights defenders said that the regime has learnt from other inmates who had completed their sentences behind bars. Upon their release they began to relay their ill-treatment and torture to the world. Mrs Ebtisam Al Sayegh and Mrs Najah Yousuf have documented their torture experiences especially sexual harassment and rape. The regime wants to impose a wall of silence through the “alternative punishment” programme. On 9th June Human Rights Watch said: Bahrain should undertake a prompt, impartial, and independent investigation into his allegations of ill-treatment in detention. It added: “Nabeel’s release is a positive first step, but authorities should now release other prominent activists and opposition figures who are still unjustly behind bars for peacefully expressing their views, including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Hassan Mushaima, and Abduljalil al-Singace,” Stork said.

In Saudi Arabia 48 prisoners are on death row including 13 under-aged detainees. The regime maintains a wall of silence on the fate of these innocent people while subjecting their families to threats of retribution if they spoke to the outside world.

It has been revealed that Canada sold a record amount of military hardware to Saudi Arabia last year despite a ban on new export permits after the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The revelation is likely to put pressure on Justin Trudeau, the prime minister, who has criticised Riyadh’s human rights record but declined calls by his liberal base to rip up a deal inherited from a previous administration. Last year Canada sent nearly C$2.9 billion (£1.7 billion) of military hardware to Saudi Arabia, double the previous year. The exports were primarily light armoured vehicles (LAVs), as well as 31 large-calibre artillery systems and 152 heavy machineguns. The C$14.8 billion LAV deal, signed in 2014, made Canada the second largest weapons supplier to the Middle East. Canada placed a moratorium on new export permits after Khashoggi was murdered in October 2018 by Saudi agents in Istanbul. The ban did not affect existing export permits.

On 15th June U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres removed a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition from a UN blacklist, several years after it was first named and shamed for killing and injuring children in Yemen. The coalition killed or injured 222 children in Yemen last year, Guterres wrote in his annual report to the U.N. Security Council. “The Secretary-General is adding a new level of shame to his ‘list of shame’ by removing the Saudi-led coalition and ignoring the U.N.’s own evidence of continued grave violations against children,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

17th June 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

 

 

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