STATEMENTS

UK urged to stop defending Bahrains’ regime, US arms to Saudis condemned

As the people of Bahrain prepare to mark the Independence Day on 14th August, calls have been made for the UK government to change its shameful policy of supporting the khalifi hereditary dictatorship. Since the UK’s withdrawal from the region in 1971, this regime has been persecuting the native population mercilessly. Instead of conditioning its withdrawal on adopting a democratic transformation, the UK has been propping up the regime that has been proven to administer “systematic” torture. UK’s public money is used to “train” these torturers as well as other institutions. Huddersfield University also runs an MSc security course for torturers. Several torture victims have testified that they had been tortured at the location where the university runs its courses and training.

As the crisis of the political prisoners in Bahrain intensifies due to khalifi inhumane policies, the fate of at least six detainees is unknown following their removal from their cells last week. The six were accused of inciting others to start hunger strike to protest their ill-treatment, lack of medical care and denial of proper family contacts. Among the grievances of the political detainees is the use of the right to family contacts as a weapon. It has been a month now since Khalil Al Halwachi last called his family. Other mothers have complained of not hearing from their loved ones behind bars. As of Sunday 9 August 2020, inmates at Building 14 of Bahrain’s notorious Jau Prison started hunger strike to protest prison conditions and denial of religious freedoms. There are 287 prisoners at Building 13, meaning that the building is 30% over capacity. Each cell currently houses an average of 12 prisoners, with many forced to sleep on the floor. In addition, prisoners in Building 12,13 & 14 are forced to spend approximately 22.5 hours inside their overcrowded cells and are allowed out for a maximum of 1.5 hours in the day. Political prisoners at Dry Dock prison are demanding to know their health conditions after Covid-19 tests were carried out on them at the beginning of the month. They were secluded at Bloc 1 where new prisoners are often held. They want to know the results of these tests as the pandemic continues among native political prisoners.

New arrests have been carried out by khalifi regime forces. From Nabih Saleh town Fadel Abbas Al Khodairi was snatched from his home. From Sitra-Wadyan Hassan Al Bahhar and Fadel Al Jufairi were detained.

The khalifi crown prince has encouraged foreign workers to come to the country despite the sharp rises in Covid-19 pandemic and the increasing numbers of unemployment among natives. Private companies will be able to resume the process of hiring foreign workers this month as the regime escalates its war against natives. The regime’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority said it will begin accepting applications for new work permits from August 9. The development comes after a directive was issued by the Government Executive Committee that is chaired by khalifi crown prince Salman bin Hamad.

A lawsuit has been filed with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. by Saudi national Saad Aljabri, one of Mohammed bin Salman’s former top intelligence officers. Aljabri, who had sought exile in Toronto, is seeking unspecified damages from bin Salman and his associates for orchestrating an “attempted extrajudicial killing” and for violating international law days after the brutal killing of prominent Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in the fall of 2018. He says that MBS had dispatched a group of hitmen, known as the Tiger Squad, to Canada to seek out and kill him. Even though the scheme was thwarted when the group failed to get past suspicious border officers at Pearson International Airport, Aljabri’s life remains in “dire peril,” the lawsuit says.

In a report released yesterday, the US State Department’s Inspector General said that the State Department had  followed the law but failed to address civilian deaths in declaring an “emergency” to push through an $8.1 billion weapons deal to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Lawmakers in Congress had tried to block the deal amid concerns about the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians and created a horrific humanitarian crisis. Congress normally has to sign off on such deals, but Pompeo bypassed lawmakers by declaring a national security “. He argued that “Iranian aggression” required the U.S. to help Saudi Arabia, a pivotal ally in the region, defend itself. “This report tells us everything we suspected: the emergency was a sham,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “It was cooked up to get around congressional review of a bad policy choice. And ever since Mr. Pompeo declared that ‘emergency,’ he and his top lieutenants have worked to bury the truth.”

Bahrain Freedom Movement

12th August 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

 

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