STATEMENTS

W20 must call for Saudi women release, khalifis endanger Mushaima’s life

Yesterday the Women20 (W20) Summit was launched in Saudi Arabia ahead of G20 meeting next month. Amnesty International addressed an open letter to all the individuals and organizations attending the Summit. It said:  We are writing this open letter to raise Amnesty International’s serious concerns relating to the ongoing detention of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, and to urge all W20 participants to take action in support of these brave women ahead of and during the Summit. It said: Amnesty International urges you to use your leverage at the W20 meetings, privately and publicly, to: Call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all Saudi women human rights defenders in detention (Loujain al-Hathloul, Nassima al-Sada, Samar Badawi, Nouf Abdulaziz, and Maya’a alZahrani) before the W20 Summit on 20-22 October; Call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to drop charges against all 13 women activists on trial for promoting women’s rights.

In the past few days Saudi security forces attacked several areas in the North and East of the country and arrested several people. On 12th October three women were detained after their families were harassed. They will add to several other women languishing behind bars including: Israa Al Ghamghan, Naseema Al Sadah, Na’eema Al Matrood, Fatima Al Nsaif, Noor AlSalam and Maryam Al Qaysoom. Several people were also detained from the Huwaitat region in Northwestern Arabia where the Neom project will be built. They include: Rashid Ibrahim, his brother Abdulla, Abdul Elah Rashid, Awn Abdullah Ahmad, Saleh Salim Ali Al-Raqabi, Dhaif Allah Salamah, and Sami Hulail.

Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against eight Saudi men charged with taking part in peaceful protests, some of which they committed as children Yesterday Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch said: “If Saudi Arabia is serious about reforming its criminal justice system, it should start by banning the death penalty against alleged child offenders in all cases.” The Public Prosecution, which reports directly to the king, accused the detained men of several charges that do not resemble recognizable crimes, including “seeking to destabilize the social fabric by participating in protests and funeral processions,” “chanting slogans hostile to the regime,” and “seeking to incite discord and division.” All of the men are from Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, where most of the country’s Shia minority live. “Saudi authorities should spare Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoun, and Abdullah al-Zaher’s lives and make sure no other alleged child offender ends up on death row,” Page said.

On 18th October the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh again issued a postponement in the trial of peaceful religious scholar and reformer Salman Alodah, extending his pretrial detention without justification and without giving him a chance to be present in court. Alodah, who has been in detention for three years for his peaceful speech and activism, faces the death penalty for 37 charges that include “expressing cynicism about the government’s achievements,” “receiving text messages that reflect antagonism to the Kingdom” and “possessing a banned book.”

Calls have been made to the international bodies such as the UN, the Human Rights Council, the European Commission and Parliament and international NGOs to take immediate action to save the life of Hassan Mushaima, 72, the most prominent leader of the Bahraini Revolution. Fears are rising for his life after his health deteriorated yesterday and was taken to hospital. His symptoms of high blood pressure, temperature and breathlessness were dealt with but no thorough investigation or relaxation of the harsh prison conditions were undertaken. For sometime suspicions have surfaced that the khalifi dictators were planning to liquidate native opposition leaders through various means. They have now enlisted Mossad help against the native population which is seeking democratic transformation and an end to hereditary tribal dictatorship.

In the past week several protests were staged by native Bahrainis against the khalifi betrayal of Palestine and its people. This is despite the mass arrests carried out by the dictatorial regime that criminalises the general human freedoms. The khalifi clan and Israel have signed a joint communique to formalise ties during a visit by an Israeli and US delegation to Manama to broaden cooperation that Washington has promoted as an anti-Iran bulwark and potential economic boom. The Israeli delegation, which flew on an El Al Israel Airlines charter flight from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, was accompanied by US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. The khalifi and Emirati treachery of Palestine, overseen by U.S. President Donald Trump, is a foreign policy flourish ahead of his bid for re-election next month. For the U.S. allies, it is a chance to close ranks on Iran more overtly. The khalifi foreign minister, Abdul Latif Al-Zayani touched elbows with Ben-Shabbat, who described the step as a “promising beginning” and said the Israeli delegation was accepted “with open arms, with warmth and cordiality.”

Several native Bahrainis were summoned by khalifi interrogators for exercising their religious rights. They include Hassan Al Mu’allimah, the head of Sanabis matam (religious congregation hall), his deputy Hani Yousuf, Faisal Al Shamrokh, the manager and Jaffar Al Shamroukh, a member of the executive board. Munir Mushaima, another member  was also summoned for the sixth time.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

21st October 2020 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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