STATEMENTS

Worldwide pressure on khalifis to stop executing two native Bahrainis

UN expert calls on Saudis to release innocent detainees

On Monday 13th July the khalifi court of cassation upheld the death penalty imposed by Bahrain’s dictator on two natives; Mohammad Ramadan and Hussain Moosa. The kangaroo court ignored the fact that the “confessions” attributed to the two were extracted under extreme forms of torture. The secret court was closed to the public including the families of the victims. Zainab Ebrahim, the wife of Mr Ramadan, a father of three, was barred from the courtroom she told BIRD (Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy): “The terror of knowing that my husband can be executed by firing squad at any moment without proper notice is tearing me apart. I don’t know how I will be able to tell my three children“. She said: “I heard the decision & choked on my words…My husband survived brutal torture in #Bahrain, but may now be executed for a crime he didn’t commit.”

People protested against the confirmation of the death penalty on the two young men. At Abu Saiba’ and Shakhoura, smoke columns rose from fires on the main road, while many resorted to social media to condemn the khalifi dictatorship. Around the world there has been widespread condemnation of the khalifi policy of terror, executions, torture and injustice.

In UK about 50 MPs from the major parties have signed an open letter calling on their government to intervene to save the two pro-democracy activists. It is widely believed that the UK government can stop the execution with a phone call either from the prime minster of the foreign secretary.

The High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the European Union responded to the news of the imminent execution of two men in #Bahrain. Europe has exhaustively reached out to try to reason with the Bahraini authorities and highlighted its position that rejects capital punishment and urge other countries to place a moratorium on State Executions.

The New York times said about the two native Bahraini victims: they were tortured into making a false confession during Bahrain’s escalating crackdown on critics. The Washington Post covered the case under the title: Bahrain’s highest court upholds death sentences despite evidence of torture. The Independent’s title of its coverage: UK government under pressure to intervene after Bahrain upholds death sentences for pro-democracy activists ‘tortured into confessions’.

Yesterday UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Liz Throssell commented on the decision to kill the two native Bahrainis. It said: It is of great concern that the Court of Cassation on Monday 13 July decided to uphold the death penalty against the two men. We urge the Bahraini authorities to halt immediately any plans to execute them, quash their convictions and ensure they are retried in accordance with international human rights norms and standards. We further urge Bahrain to ensure its domestic laws are brought into line with international human rights law, to investigate all allegations of arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and the use of forced confessions. It is essential those responsible are held to account and the recurrence of such acts is prevented.

On 9th July an investigator for the U.N. Human Rights Council urged member states on to pressure Saudi Arabia to free women activists before a G20 summit which Riyadh will be hosting in November. In a speech to the council in Geneva, Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said Saudi Arabia should release “prisoners of conscience, women, human rights defenders that are currently in prison for demanding the right to drive”. There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia, the current chair of the Group of 20 major economies.

Imprisoned Saudi religious thinker Hasan al-Maliki and his son Abbas (who was jailed for tweeting about his father’s arrest) have not had any contact with their family for more than two months. Al-Maliki has been detained since September 2017 and faces a possible death sentence. Among those who behind bars include: businessman Eassam Al Zamel who was arbitrarily detained in September 2017 and remains behind bars. He had expressed his support for human rights and criticising crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s plan to sell off the state oil company Saudi Aramco. Women detainees include Loujain Al Hathlool and Nassima Al Sadah.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

15th July 2020 (info@ vob.org, www.vob.org)

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