Bahrain: UK MPs call for release of Khawaja, world angry at Maryam’s arrest

Bahrain: UK MPs call for release of Khawaja, world angry at Maryam’s arrest

The Saudi regime has been criticised by Muslim scholars at the religious seminars of Al Azhar in Cairo, Najaf in Iraq and Qom in Iran, for planning to destroy the Holy Prophet’s mosque in Medina. According to The Independent yesterday, they plan to move Mohammad’s remains to undisclosed location and gradually eradicate his historic mosque. Muslims will be infuriated by this attack on Holy Prophet.

A historic Parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) has been signed by 53 Members of Parliament. The EDM calls for the immediate release of Bahrain 13, calls on UK’s FCO to list Bahrain as a “Country of Concern” and condemn Bahrain’s human rights violation. It also expresses disappointment at the lack of implementation of the many recommendations to reform the political and judicial system and calls for an end to impunity which allows torturers to escape justice.

The arrest of the internationally renowned human rights activist, Maryam Al Khawaja by the Alkhalifa regime has shocked the human rights world. Miss Al Khawaja was returning to her native country to be with her family as her father, Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja continues his hunger strike. He is determined to remain on hunger strike until he is released from jail together with twelve other leaders of the popular revolution. Upon her arrival at the airport on Saturday night, she was arrested and detained for seven days pending “investigation”. It is expected that she will be charged with targeting the torturers who have killed and maimed thousands of Bahrainis in the past three years. Earlier this year, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, which she was managing, ran a campaign to name and shame torturers, who form the backbone of Bahrain’s dictatorship. The international reaction has been momentous. Almost every human rights body has called for Maryam’s immediate and unconditional release. Many international activists have gone on hunger strike in solidarity with her father.

While Redress urged “Danish consular officials to request Bahrain immediate access to Maryam to assess her welfare”, Index on Censorship called for “the immediate and unconditional release of Maryam Alkhawaja”. The Brussels-based Andrew Stroehlein, who is European Media Director of Human Rights Watch called her detention “A movement behind bars”. The Guardian published an article by David Wearing titled: British diplomacy: PR for torturers – on the arrest of Maryam Al Khawaja and what John Horne of Bahrain Watch calls “UK’s atrocious Bahrain policy”

Meanwhile Amnesty International (AI) has issued an Urgent Appeal about Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja who is now in his 10th day of hunger strike. AI has called on the Bahraini authorities to release Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja immediately and unconditionally; to order an impartial investigation into his allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice.

Encouraged by Washington and London’s support to their policy, the regime has continued its attacks on Bahrainis without mercy. In the early hours of this morning Khalil Al Halwachi, the father of Fatima Al Halwachi, of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights was detained. Yesterday, Ali Qambar, brother of Martyr Isa Qambar, was arrested in a raid at Salman Al Farsi’s Mosque. Another Bahraini, Mohammad Taher Mansoor was arrested yesterday as he was on his way to work. The fate of Hussain Al Abbas is still unknown since his kidnapping by members of Death Squads few days ago.

The regime’s courts have also meted jail sentences on Bahrainis. The death sentence passed earlier on Maher Al Khabbaz has been upheld despite his total innocence as he had been at his workplace during the alleged killing of a mercenary. The one year jail sentence passed on Talib Ali for anti-regime tweets has also been upheld. After spending 45 days in detention pending investigation, Jaffar Abd Ali Al Qassab had his detention renewed for further 45 days. The ten years prison sentence of photo-journalist Ahmad Humaidan has been upheld despite appeals from international human rights and professional bodies. Yaqub Sulais has been detained for seven days for criticising Bahrain’s dictator.

As the prisoners at Wing No 10 of the Dry Dock prison continue their hunger strike, another group at Jaw prison today started hunger strike. The human rights activist, Naji Fateel and many other prisoners have followed Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja in calling for their immediate release because they are Prisoners of Conscience. Instead of heeding the call, prison staff have attacked the prisoners and beaten many of them including Ali Hassn Mubarak, who had been sentenced to 15 years jail.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
3rd September 2014