Saudi, Alkhalifa, Emirati regimes escalate repression, detaining & torturing citizens
The Saudi authorities arrested 27 Christians in the Eastern Province for holding prayers for Virgin Mary. They could face religious persecution and deportation. Non-Wahhabis are generally not allowed to practice their faith in the Saudi kingdom. On Tuesday 18th August The United Arab Emirates arrested a prominent Emirati economist who has previously supported calls for democratic reform in the oil-rich Gulf state. State security arrested Nasser bin Ghaith at his work in Abu Dhabi and took him to Dubai where security service agents searched his home for over four and a half hours. He was then taken to an unknown location. Ghaith is an Emirati economist who has lectured at the Abu Dhabi campus of the Paris-based Sorbonne University. He also works as an economic and legal consultant to the UAE army.
In the week 10-16th August at least 29 native Bahrainis were arrested by the Alkhalifa regime, mostly for taking part in peaceful protests. Yesterday, Tuesday 18th August, a leading AlWefaq figure, Sheikh Hassan Isa was arrested at the airport and is likely to be charged with opposing the hereditary dictatorship. On 17th August Mahmood Hassan Al Hamar, 20, was arrested in a raid on his home at Dair Town. He had previously been detained and tortured and is in bad physical health. On 17th August, Salman Ali Salman, from Dair Town, was also detained. On 13th August, Ayman Salam was detained at the airport and taken to one of the torture houses operated by the regime outside official prisons. On 11th August, Mohammad Yousuf was detained while trying to cross the causeway to Saudi Arabia.
Basket Ball player, Hussain Taqi, has been detained for his alleged role in a recent bombing at Sitra. But he was at his work when the incident happened. On 13th August Ali Mohsin Baddaw, a grandfather from Duraz, was arrested and taken to the torture chambers for unspecified reasons. All his children are in detention. With his arrest only his wife and a disabled child are left behind. Sayed Adnan AlKhabbaz has been sentenced to five years jail. This means he won’t be able to continue his secondary education. Denial of the right to education has become a tool against the native Baharna citizens. Abbas MalAllah who has been in prison for some time has been on hunger strike for two weeks in protest against ill-treatment and regular beating. For the seventh time, Taiba Dawish has been remanded in custody for two more weeks. Repeated detention without trial amounts to harassment and human rights violation.
This year the Independence Day has been marked by Bahrainis with great enthusiasm inside the country and outside. While the people organised large protests and attempted to reach the Pearl Roundabout to mark 14th August, there have been several activities outside. In London, a Press Conference was held by Lord Avebury on Wednesday 12th August. On Thursday, 13 August, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and Human Rights Watch held a roundtable discussion regarding concerns regarding human rights in Bahrain and UK policy towards the country. Chaired by Nicholas McGeehan, Gulf researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), the discussion also included speakers Shane Enright, Global Trade Union Adviser at Amnesty UK, Kevin Laue, Legal officer at Redress and Isa Al-Aali, a Bahraini torture survivor recently granted asylum by UK court. The discussion was attended by representatives from a number of organisations including Amnesty International, Index on Censorship, Reprieve, NASUWT, English Pen and Chatham House amongst others. On 7th August, Nine-year-old boy, Mohammed Mahmood Ali Habib, was shot in the eye. While he was walking from his grandfather’s house to his house in the Bani Jamra area Mohammed was shot in his left eye by the occupants of an armoured vehicle operated by regime’s Death Squads. He was wounded with one pellet in the left eye. A number of cars parked in the same area were also damaged. There were no reports of any protests in the area.
Under the title “When Bahrain Says You’re Not Bahraini Anymore” Natasha Bowler wrote an article yesterday on Foreign Policy website. She said: “The Bahraini government began revoking citizenship shortly after the Arab Spring engulfed large sections of the Middle East, Bahrain included, in 2011. On Feb. 14 of that year, both Shiite and Sunni Bahrainis took to the streets to demand the same rights and political freedoms for the majority Shiite population as for their Sunni compatriots. The regime of the ruling Al-Khalifa family, who are Sunnis, sent in troops to put down the movement. But four years later, demonstrators still protest every night on the streets of the country’s Shiite villages. “The regime is running out of options. It has tortured people, starved thousands to death, openly killed hundreds of people in the street, and yet Bahrainis are still adamant on achieving change,” says doctor and activist Saeed Al-Shehabi, who was made stateless in 2012. “Revoking citizenship is just yet another tool to scare people and deter them from asking for their rights.”