STATEMENTS

Calls to stop execution of two Bahrainis, UK sanctions Saudi torturers

In an emergency meeting called for at the UK’s House of Lords today, calls have been made for the UK government to intervene to save the lives of Mohammad Ramadan and Hussain Moosa, the two native Bahraini political prisoners on death row. Anger is spreading among Peers and MPs at the lack of human concern of the Foreign Office which has turned blind eyes to earlier calls to save the lives of several native Bahrainis executed by the khalifi regime. On 6th July Reprieve issued an appeal to save the lives of the two Bahrainis. It said: They were convicted on the basis of ‘confessions’ obtained through brutal torture – Husain said the pain was so severe he wished for death. We need to make sure the UK speaks up for Mohammed and Husain – before it’s too late. Bahrain’s leaders need to know the world is watching.

Political prisoners at Bloc 14 of the notorious Jaw prison are appealing for the world to intervene to alleviate their escalating suffering in their torture cells. They have decided to go on hunger strike to protest lack of contacts with their families, inhumane treatment and repressive measures. Hussain Ali Al Sa’di who has 29 years sentence suffers from sickle cell disease and his health is deteriorating. Doctors refuse to see him. One of them referred him to one of the torturers to assess his case. Last week, another political inmate, Mohammad Al Daqqaq was subjected to severe torture and nothing has been heard of him since. He was severely beaten and sprayed with burning chemicals until he passed out. Another political prisoner, Reda Al Alawi has started hunger strike, along with Kumail Al Manami to protest the lack of medical care or treatment. His health is rapidly deteriorating with low sugar level on his second day of strike that began Sunday 5th July. Hussain Ali, Hamid Al Mahfood and Ayyoub Adel have all complained of being denied medicines for their various ailments.

A refugee granted asylum in Britain is calling on Huddersfield University to end a course teaching police students at a centre in Bahrain where he says he was tortured. The pro-democracy activist fled to Britain two years ago after prolonged interrogation at the country’s Royal Academy of Policing, which has been used to extract confessions out of detainees since 2015. The centre is next door to Jaw Prison where inmates have told how they were taken to Building 15 in preparation for their ordeal across the road. Ten have spoken of prolonged torture treatment which included electric shocks, beatings, sexual assault and hanging by the arms. ‘For 12 continuous nights I was interrogated,’ said the refugee, who last month was granted asylum in Britain and is an engineering student at a UK university. ‘I was taken from the cell at night to be questioned in the Royal Academy of Policing. I was getting only 4 to 5 hours sleep each day and was then interrogated all night. I was exhausted and disorientated.’

Hundreds of Saudi military personnel received training at Royal Air Force (RAF) bases in the UK in 2019 – the same year a court banned new exports of British-made weapons to Saudi Arabia over human rights concerns in the Yemen war according to researchers. Declassified UK is the leading website for in-depth analysis and exclusive news on British foreign policy, investigating the UK military, intelligence agencies and its most powerful corporations. It said: Data obtained by Declassified UK from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) shows that 310 Saudis trained at six RAF sites in England and Wales last year. Some training for Saudi pilots is still under way, with courses lasting up to four years. The data shows that 90 Saudis received “Typhoon training” at RAF Coningsby air base in Lincolnshire, eastern England, during 2019. The MOD refused to clarify how many of the 90 were pilots or ground crew.

On Monday 6th July, Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary named the first foreign citizens to face visa bans and asset freezes for human rights abuses under Britain’s new post-Brexit sanctions regime, with Russians and Saudis among those expected to be targeted. Among the list of Saudi names are Saud al-Qahtani, a former Saudi royal adviser, and Ahmed al-Asiri, a former deputy intelligence chief. Both had charges against them dropped by a Saudi court after 11 suspects were put on a show trial last December over the Khashoggi killing.

On 7th July, UK’s International trade secretary Liz Truss said that the government had completed a review of how arms export licences were granted in order to comply with an earlier court ruling suspending sales. Ms Truss said that while some “credible incidents of concern” related to Saudi forces’ conduct had been classified as “possible” breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL), the UK government viewed these as “isolated incidents”. “The incidents which have been assessed to be possible violations of IHL occurred at different times, in different circumstances and for different reasons,” the statement said. The statement adds: “The undertaking that my predecessor gave to the Court – that we would not grant any new licences for the export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in Yemen – falls away.” Human rights and anti-war campaigners have criticized this decision.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

8th July 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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