STATEMENTS

New khalifi PM detains Bahraini children, Saudis haunted by G20

The health of one of the prominent leaders of Bahrain’s Revolution has deteriorated in recent days. Mr Hassan Mushaima was transferred to the hospital and given temporary treatment to control his blood pressure that had rocketed and his irregular heart beats. He has now been diagnosed to have a weak heart. Given his age at 72, his long and sour experience with cancer and other ailments such as diabetes, ear infections and weak body, Mr Mushaima’s medical situation has become precarious. The lack of proper health care is among the factors that have led to is ill health. Calls are mounting for the release of Mr Mushaima and other political prisoners who have spent ten years behind bars without committing any crime punishable by law. The demand now is not only to provide Mr Mushaima with proper medical care but to release him and the rest of the Bahraini political prisoners immediately and unconditionally. They are arbitrarily detained and their jailers are committing serious crimes by continuing to hold them against their will.

In a virtual event on Thursday 12th November organised by Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and titled Citizenship in Bahrain, Right or Privilege, organisers and participants marked eight years since the Gulf Arab state revoked the nationality of 31 citizens. The move was the first in a series of similar citizenship revocations. Abdulghani al-Khanjar, a leading Bahraini political activist whose nationality was stripped by the government, said that the authorities had used citizenship revocation as a “tool to terrorise activists and their families and deny them their political and civic rights”. “The Al-Khalifas [Bahrain’s ruling family] think that citizenship is a privilege that they can take away from people,” he said, calling on the new administration of United States President-elect Joe Biden to pressure the Gulf state into changing its approach. Other speakers include Zahra Albarazi, an independent consultant on statelessness, Courtney Radsch, advocacy director at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Mouna Ben Garga from the World Alliance for Citizen Participation [CIVICUS]. A similar seminar was held on Tuesday 17th November organized by Salam for Human Rights.

Following the death of Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa the post-colonial prime minister of Bahrain, his successor, Salman bin Hamad ordered a new wave of arrests. Scores of native citizens were rounded up, jailed and abused. They included 14 years old yousuf Zayer Ali and Hoor al-Ajami,16 years old from Duraz. After ill-treatment, abuse and threats of further persecution, they were released. Many others were arrested for talking about the crimes committed by the defunct “butcher of Bahrain” during his 50 years reign of terror. They include Ahmad Al Wadi from Iskan Aali. Moosa Saeed, from Salmabad town was detained on 12th November. His family did not hear anything about him for five days. They are extremely worried for his safety and well-being. Moosa had already spent years behind bars and was only released few months ago. Four other women were also detained including a 60 year old women riddled with various ailments. Two young native Bahraini girls were among the victims of the new PM repressive policy.

A khalifi court has ordered the detention of another citizen, Film producer, Yasser Nasser for one week. Hussain Mhanna, whose family hasn’t heard from him for a month, is in prison because his friend was tortured so he gave them his name, then he was arrested and tortured until he “confessed” to an unspecific crime for which he was given a life sentence in one court session.

The death of Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa last week at the age of 85 sealed a black chapter in the country’s recent history but his successor is likely to follow in his footsteps. He was seen as an authoritarian by the independent press. On 11thNovember Reuters reported it under the title: Bahrain’s security hawk Prime Minister Khalifa dies, succeeded by crown prince. On the same day the Daily Telegraph described him as:  A friend of the West, he led his country away from economic dependency on oil but was ruthless in cracking down on dissent.

As the G20 meeting in Saudi Arabia approaches, Agnes Callamard, the UN Expert on Extra-Judicial killings has reminded the world of the crimes committed by the host country. This week she tweeted: “On the week States are prepared to meet virtually for the G20, let’s remember what the host country #SaudiArabia did to #JamalKhashoggi, to dozens of other journalists still detained, to Loujain al-Hathloul, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sada, Nouf Abdulaziz and Maya’a al-Zahrani.” Lina Alhathloul, sister of woman political prisoner, Loujain, tweeted:  “Loujain is on her 18th day of hunger strike and we don’t have any news of her. We urge G20. leaders to call on her release ahead of the summit.”

Two people from the Al Huwaitat region where Mohammad bin Salman plans to build his new city were arrested this week for refusing to vacate their homes. Ibrahim Saleh Abu Khalil AlTuaqiqi, a poet and Abdullah Ahmad Al Raqabi were detained for refusing to give up their home for demolition.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

18th November 2020 (info@vob.org,www.vob.org)

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