STATEMENTS

New PM jails Bahraini children,

CIA Khashoggi report confirms MBS’s role

Regime security forces have detained Ahmad Al Abbassi for unspecified reasons. They also summoned the father of Martyr Sayed Hussain Sayed Ahmad and Munir Mushaima, brother of Martyr Sami Mushaima. Last week Abdul Hadi Mushaima, father of the first Martyr of the Revolution was imprisoned for three months for calling for the killers of his son to be prosecuted. Lord Scriven commented on his arrest saying: Bahrain’s detention of Abdulhadi Mushaima after 10th anniversary of his son’s murder is very concerning. Despite vulnerability to COVID he has been refused an alternative sentence. No one should be prosecuted for exercising their right to free assembly. The persecution of the families of martyrs is a new policy under the new prime minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-khalifa who is gradually becoming more vicious in his treatment of the natives.

Four underaged native Bahrainis will be tried tomorrow for opposing the khalifi dictatorship. The Fourth High Criminal Court will look into the baseless allegations made by khalifi torturers against Hussain Abdul Rasool, 16, Faris Hussain, 17, Mohammad Jaffar, 16 and Sayed Hassan Amin, 16.

The khalifi court has refused to look into the appeal by two prisoners of conscience against their conviction. Sayed Falah Sayed Hassan and Sayed Reda Sayed Baqir were detained on 16th December to pre-empt people’s preparation to mark the Martyrs’ Day the following day. The court has adjourned the hearing until 14th March.

On 28th February the khalifi high criminal court issued a three-year prison sentence on five children for taking part in anti-regime protests in February 2020.  Mohammad Hassan Ali who is serving life sentence for opposing khalifi dictatorship has been denied medical care for years. When he was taken to the Emergency section at the hospital on 10th February he was prescribed some medicines but he has not yet received them.

Last month the International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed that Bahrain had accumulated huge debts beyond its ability to pay back. On 14th February it said: Bahrain has accumulated a large pile of debt since the 2014-2015 oil price shock. A $10 billion financial aid programme from Gulf allies helped it avoid a credit crunch in 2018. Public debt rose to 133% of GDP last year from 102% in 2019, the IMF said.

On Friday 26th February the Biden administration released a 2018 intelligence report that concluded the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabian agents in Turkey was done “on behalf” of and “approved” by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who considered the regime critic a threat to the kingdom.  Congress and the White House were briefed on the formerly classified report in November 2018, one month after Khashoggi’s death, and its general conclusions were widely reported. The U.S. Treasury sanctioned 17 Saudis linked to the killing, but took no action against bin Salman, often referred to as MBS, or the kingdom. Then-President Donald Trump rebuffed calls to release the report and falsely asserted that U.S. intelligence was not certain about bin Salman’s role.

The CNN has reported that the two private jets used by a Saudi Arabian assassination squad that killed and dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi were owned by a company that less than a year prior had been seized by the Kingdom’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, according to recently filed court documents. The documents, filed as part of a Canadian civil lawsuit earlier this year, are labeled “Top Secret” and signed by a Saudi minister who relayed the orders of the crown prince, the young de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. “According to the instruction of His Highness the Crown Prince,” the minister wrote according to a translation, “immediately approve the completion of the necessary procedures for this.”

On 1 March 2021, Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) filed a criminal complaint with the German Public Prosecutor General of the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, detailing a litany of crimes against humanity committed against journalists in Saudi Arabia. The complaint, a document of over 500 pages in German, addresses 35 cases of journalists: slain Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and 34 journalists who have been jailed in Saudi Arabia, including 33 currently in detention — among them, blogger Raif Badawi.

Yesterday, US Senator Ilhan Omar introduced legislation to place sanctions on MBS. She said: “This is a test of our humanity” she said: “If the Unites States of America truly supports freedom of expression, democracy and human rights, there is no reason not to sanction Mohammed bin Salman – a man our own intelligence found to have approved the murder of US resident and Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Every minute Mohammed bin Salman escapes punishment is a moment where U.S. interests, human rights, and the lives of Saudi dissenters are at risk”. Many people were disappointed by Mr Biden’s reluctance to punish MBS.

Currently there are 37 political prisoners  condemned to death in Saudi jails, having explored various stages of appeals. They include Sheikh Salman Al Awda, Sheikh Hassan Al Maliki and  Ali Al Rabi’e.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

3rd March 2021 (info@vob.org, www.vob, org)

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