As the furor surrounding the khalifi decision to kill two native Bahrainis gather momentum worldwide, the two victims are now facing more repression in their torture cells. For the past ten days their contacts with their families have been severely restricted. They were often banned from communicating with their families who are dumbfounded by the confirmation of the death sentence ordered by Bahrain dictator. Reprieve, the international body that opposes capital punishment has condemned the khalifi treatment of these innocent native Bahrainis by the khalifi clan. Amnesty International launched an international campaign to stop the executions and urged its members to highlight the case and take part in opposing the khalifi decision.
Parliamentarians in several countries also condemned the khalifi decision to kill Bahrainis. On 13th July the European Union condemned the khalifi execution verdict: This ruling was delivered despite reported concerns on the fairness of the trial. The European Union reiterated its call from 9 January to halt the execution of Mr Ramadan and Mr al Moosa. It further added: We reiterate our call on the Bahraini authorities to establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards the abolition of death penalty and to commute all pending death sentences. On 15thJuly US Senator Ben Cardin said: I strongly urge HM King Hamad to pursue clemency for Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa, given evidence they confessed under torture. Upholding their death sentences in light of this information would be another stain on human rights in Bahrain. On 17th July Senator Marco Rubio Press tweeted: Bahraini courts have reinstated the death sentence for Husain Moosa & Mohammed Ramadan after a unjust trial that included an alleged forced confession. Sen. Rubio urged the Bahrain govt to basic rights of Bahraini citizens & release them.
For more than one week over 500 political prisoners have been on strike protesting the ill-treatment, lack of medical care, overcrowding and absence of proper sanitation. They are mostly from Blocs 13 and 14. Among their demands: provision of medical care especially for the skin diseases that are spreading fast, to stop shackling political prisoners, ending harassment during family contacts, allowing religious performances and providing sanitation materials at the prison’s canteen.
Reprieve, the international body opposing capital punishment has highlighted the case of Saudi political prisoner Mohammed al-Faraj. He was tortured into confessing to ‘crimes’ linked to non-violent protesting, including attending a funeral at the age of 9. By any measure he was a child when these so-called ‘crimes’ took place, it said. It further added: He should not have been arrested and he certainly should not be facing a death sentence today. It said: By any measure he was a child when these so-called ‘crimes’ took place. He should not have been arrested and he certainly should not be facing a death sentence today. On April 26, Saudi Arabia announced a royal decree that would end the use of death sentences for children like Mohammed. Yet, a loophole in this decree means that the judge in Mohammed’s case will still be able to sentence him to death.
The Saudis have escalated their pressure on political prisoners and their families. The family of Sheikh Hassan Farhan Al Maliki said that they have had not heard from him or his jailed son, Al-Abbas for almost three months. Other prisoners are also banned from contacting their families. Loujain Alhathloul and Naseema Al Sadah have not contacted their families for at least one month.
As the Saudi monarch continues to cling life at hospital after being admitted two days ago many observers doubt that real reform will follow his demise. Most have painted a gloomy picture of life under his son, Mohammad (MBS) who was implicated in the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in October 2018. The death last week of Saleh Alshihi – a Saudi Journalist who passed away after his release from prison has created fear among the families of political prisoners. He had been arrested on 3rd January 2018 after accusing the head of the royal court of corruption. He was released on 28th June and died 20 days later. He is known for speaking out against corruption among Arab regimes, economic and political policies of those countries, including Saudi Arabia. Mr Al Shihi is the second political prisoner to die after leaving jail in the past few weeks.
On 11 May 2020, UN Special Rapporteurs sent a letter to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the arrest and ill treatment of Sheikh Mohammed Hassan al-Habib and Murtaja Qureiris. The letter was signed by the Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion or belief; the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights advocates; the Special Rapporteur on minority issues; and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.
Bahrain Freedom Movement