STATEMENTS

Saudis whitewash dismal HR record, Bahrainis jailed for speaking out

On 2nd October Human Rights Watch launched a global campaign to counter Saudi government efforts to whitewash its dismal rights record. It said that the Saudi government had spent billions of dollars hosting major entertainment, cultural, and sporting events as a deliberate strategy to deflect from the country’s image as a pervasive human rights violator.  It said that the two years since the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in October 2018 has brought no accountability for top-level officials implicated in the murder. Since then, the government of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has aggressively organized and bankrolled high-profile events featuring major international artists, celebrities, and sports figures, with plans for many more. Saudi Arabia also currently holds the presidency of the G20, a forum for international economic cooperation, and will host the G20 leaders’ summit in late November.

Yesterday Saudi Specialized criminal court issued a primary prison verdict of 5 years imprisonment against the Saudi writer Jamil Farsi, who was detained in September 2017. On 3rd October, Saudi kangaroo court threw a ten-year prison sentence on Nayef al-Sahafi. An orator from the Eastern Province, Mohammad BuJabara was arrested for recording a social video.

On Friday in France, the jailed Saudi activist, Loujain Al-Hathloul, was awarded the “Freedom Prize” by an international committee of 5,500 young people and handed over to two members of her family. Upon handing the award, the veteran of the Native American population who participated in the Normandy landings, Charles Norman Shay, said, “To Jane (Loujain) you are only 31 years old and have experienced brutality. You were imprisoned and tortured because you drove a car in your country, Saudi Arabia… Thanks to your sacrifice, women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and this is a very important progress,” he added.

On 29th September UAE’s Federal Public Prosecutor in Abu Dhabi issued a summons for woman writer Dhabia Khamis to attend an investigation against her on a charge of allegedly publishing content that “disturbs national security regarding normalisation.” The UAE is ruled by a brutal regime that has become increasingly expansionist and repressive in recent years.

In Bahrain, criminalising the basic freedom of speech is being intensified by khalifi regime. Poets, orators, lamenters, preachers and bloggers who say anything different from what the khalifis like are relentlessly persecuted. Sheikh Ibrahim Al Ansari has been remanded in custody for 15 days for expressing views against the khalifi new policy of changing sides in the Palestinian problem. Yesterday Mr Ali Muhanna, a former prisoner, social and political activist, was summoned and forced to sign “an undertaking not to take part in any gathering that may lead to the spread of Covid-19”. The summons came after he criticized the regime’s anti-Palestinian policies. Another native citizen, Munir Mushaima was also summoned and forced to sign a similar undertaking. The veteran native activist, Hajji Abdul Majeed Abdulla received two summons from Al Nu’aim police to receive threats of revenge on orders from the royal court. The popular lamenter, Mahdi Sahwan was summoned by Al-Houra police to sign an undertaking not to write or recite poem that is not in line with the dictator’s policies. Another popular lamenter, Abdul Amir al-Biladi was also summoned for interrogation. The brother of martyr Sami Mushaima and the father of martyr Sayed Hashim were also interrogated and threatened with severe punishment if they took part in anti-regime protests. Many people were summoned and forced to sign pledges not to participate in anti-regime protests and to prevent their children from taking part.

Yesterday two native citizens were detained by the security forces. Ahmed al-Majed and Habib al-Mahdi were arrested for taking part in Shiite mourning ceremonies. This is part in the sectarian war being waged by the khalifi regime against the natives.

The khalifi regime has been emboldened by the new security arrangements with the Israeli Mossad following the signing of peace deal between the with the occupiers of Palestine. Last week the head of Mossad, Youssi Cohen visited Bahrain and held meetings with the senior members of the security and intelligence departments. He met Adel Khalifa Al Fadel, the head of khalifi intelligence and Ahmed Abdul Aziz al-khalifa, the head of the “strategic security” apparatus.

A prominent woman psychotherapist has been sentenced to one-year jail sentence for exposing the regime’s drug policies. She was charged with “defamation and falsifying information” in connection to a viral video about the sale of prescription drugs at a public school. Dr Sharifa Swar said she was in possession of documents to prove that several types of drugs come directly from the stores of the health ministry and supplied to dealers and users using gangs working among the people especially in the schools. She said senior regime figures, including a member of the khalifi tribe and a senior official at the interior ministry are among those involved. The regime immediately sanctioned her and issued the prison sentence in revenge.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

7th October 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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