STATEMENTS

Anger after linking with Israel, Bahrain’s prisons become Covid-19 hotbed

For the past week the Arab and Muslim world has been in shock following the announcement that the rulers of the United Arab Emirates had decided to normalize relations with Israel, dealing a hard blow to the Palestinians. The agreement, which was brokered by the US, is known as the Abraham Accord, and vows to work towards a “full normalisation of relations”. Yet Israel would oppose any U.S. F-35 warplane sales to the United Arab Emirates despite forging relations with the Gulf power, Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday, citing a need to maintain Israeli military superiority in the region. Clandestine relations – including intelligence sharing and direct and indirect flights – between Israel and the UAE have been going on for decades. According to Adam Entous, a reporter for The New Yorker, the think-tank and government-backed Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research was established in 1994 for academic research but later “became a conduit for contacts with Israel”. A survey conducted by a pro-Israel think tank in June found that the vast majority of Emiratis are against normalisation. Also: 73% say political and economic reform is more important than foreign policy, and a majority seem to disagree with the govt’s hardline stance on Qatar.

Politicians and journalists say that the khalifi regime of Bahrain will be the next to violate the Arab consensus and normalize relations with Israel. One of the main motives of the khalifis is to get security assistance from Mossad against native Bahraini activists. Some members within the Bahraini opposition have expressed fear and worry of the fallouts of the lsraeli-khalifi intelligence and security cooperation. Bahraini activists, including more than 20 NGOs have signed statements against forging relations with Israel. Religious scholars have vowed to oppose such a move and urged the people to adopt peaceful means to challenge the khalifi dictatorship’s policy of betraying the Palestinian cause and ceding sovereignty to Israel as it did with the Saudis and Israelis.

Spanish, Saudi and Bahraini people have expressed anger against UAE rulers for giving sanctuary to the former Spanish king. Juan Carlos has fled justice after he had amassed enormous wealth “gifted” to him by Saudi and khalifi dictators. The 82-year-old monarch has been in the United Arab Emirates since 3rd August. In 2014 Carlos abdicated in favour of his son Felipe after a tax fraud case involving members of the royal family, as well as an ill-judged elephant hunting trip at a time when Spaniards were struggling with a deep recession. Controversy mounted, culminating with a move by Spain’s Supreme Court in June to open a preliminary investigation into his involvement in a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia. Switzerland’s La Tribune de Geneve newspaper reported Juan Carlos had received $100 million from the late Saudi king. Switzerland has also opened an investigation. He also received £1.7 million from Bahrain’s dictator. None of these money-laundering transactions have been scrutinized by the corrupt international monetary system.

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that last year Saudi regime broke the records of extra-judicial killings and beheaded 185 people. The health of Dr Mohammad Saleh Al Khaudari who has been in jail for the past two years has deteriorated following his complaint of a slipped disc. He has not been treated but left to suffer more.

Tension is rising in Bahrain as the people prepare to mark the Ashoora season due to start on Friday. The people had planned a Covid-compliant events including traditional processions to express sorrow at what had befallen Imam Hussain, Mohammad’s grandson and his relatives and companions. To challenge the scholars and people the khalifi dictators issued a statement banning these religious activities. This is in line with the khalifi policy of systematic religious persecution of the native majority Shia Muslims. Regime’s thugs have attacked and destroyed black flags and banners posted on the roads to mark the occasion.

The mother of Ali Jaffar Ashoor, 18 is extremely concerned for his health after he joined the hunger strike by hundreds of native Bahraini prisoners. They are protesting the continuous abuse by the khalifi jailers, lack of medical care and hygiene at torture cells, interrupted family contacts and overcrowding. Ali’s body is riddled with shotgun pellets that have not been removed. The mother called for ending solitary confinement as an additional punishment and stopping abuse of political detainees. Front Line Defenders has expressed deep concern for the welfare of human rights activist, Naji Fateel who also joined in the hunger strike by native Bahraini prisoners at the notorious Jau prison. Nothing has been heard from him since 9th August. He has been  transferred to solitary confinement.

Concern is mounting among the native political prisoners as Covid-19 symptoms spread in several torture cells. Several inmates have now been isolated but no cohesive approach to the pandemic in prisons has been adopted. Hussain Mohammad Najeeb has exhibited such systems but afforded little help or treatment apart from isolation. He has high temperature and a feeling of fatigue. He also suffers sickle-cell disease.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

19th August 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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