Mr Cameron cornered for supporting Saudi and Bahraini dictators

Mr Cameron cornered for supporting Saudi and Bahraini dictators

Anger is being expressed by political and human rights activists at the UK’s decision to prop up the Saudi regime and shelter it from international criticism in a similar way as they did with Alkhalifa of Bahrain. David Cameron’s government had agreed a contract of more than 5 million Pounds to help run the overcrowded Saudi torture dungeons. Under the pretext of “reforming” the justice and prison systems, the British had supported Bahrain’s regime to repress Bahraini opposition activists. Since this “support” began four years ago, there has been sharp increase in the abuses, arrests and torture. The British support has emboldened the regime to detain political figures like like Sheikh Ali Salman, Nabeel Rajab and Ibrahim Sharif. The UK’s involvement includes lobbying with other states at the Human Rights Council to shield the Alkhalifa from international criticism by states or organisations. It is one of the most outrageous follies by the UK at a time when people were looking for real transformation from dictatorship to democracy. Pressure is mounting on David Cameron and Philip Hammond to stop supporting Alkhalifa torturers. On 8th October the European Parliament (EP) adopted an Urgency Resolution that condemns the imminent execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr and calls on King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to “grant pardon or to commute his sentence.” Saudi authorities arrested al-Nimr when he was 17 years old for participating in protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. He is sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion.

As the Ashura season approaches the annual struggle between the native Bahranis and the Alkhalifa occupiers intensifies. It is a story of the epic that took place in the year 680AD between Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammad and the hereditary dictatorship of the Umayyads, represented at the time by the tyrant Yazid. While it is a source of inspiration to the public to stand up for justice and challenge dictatorship and despotism, the regime views it differently and attempts to contain its influence. First the Alkhalifa issued orders banning orators from addressing the people without their approval. Then they dispatched members of their Death Squads to remove the black banners associated with the occasion. Thirdly, they summoned the heads of the congregation halls (matams) to warn them of any political slogans by the mourners. Fourthly, the regime has banned orators from Iraq. For decades prominent orators had been hired to address the congregations with useful lectures. Fifthly, Local orators have been either arrested or intimidated. Among them is Abd Ali AlAbbasi who is now in jail.  These measures are the most outrageous manifestations of religious discrimination against the native majority.

Meanwhile at least 250 political prisoners at Jaw Torture Centre have started hunger strike to protest their ill-treatment at the hands of the Alkhalifa regime and the ban on religious commemorations of Ashura. They have been warned by the torturers and prison officers of more punishment if they did not stop their action. Those warnings were given by officers like Lieutenants Abdulla Isa, Mohammad Abdul Hamid, Saudi Abu Falah and Khalid AlTamimi were accused of threatening the prisoners. The strike has continued as more detainees were added to the overcrowded cells. At least 13 native Bahranis were arrested in the week 5-11th October. They include four under-aged children. While 40 detainees had their trials postponed, at least 12 have been sentenced to a total of 86 years for participating in anti-regime activities. Among the newly-detained victims is Abbas Ali AlAbbasi who was remanded in custody for one week. It has been disclosed that a woman detainee, Taiba Darwish, had her custody renewed 12 times as punishment for giving refuge to native activists. She has two young daughters and a son and suffers from several ailments.

Two under-aged boys were snatched by masked members of Alkhalifa Death Squads. Jassim Mohammad and Sayed Mustafa Sayed Mohsin were arrested at the town of AlKharijiya, Sitra. Human rights activists believe that the regime is intentionally keeping a detained riddled with cancer so that he perishes slowly. Ilyas Al Mulla has had an operation to remove a tumour from his head but his condition is deteriorating. News have also been scarce about Ibrahim Jaffar Al Mo’min since his detention three weeks ago. He is believed to be held at one of the private houses where torture is routinely administered.

A leading member of AlWefaq, Sheikh Hassan Isa, has had his detention renewed for another two weeks. Another leading figure, Majid Milad, has had his trial adjourned until 27th October. Human Rights Watch has called on the ruling Bahraini regime to immediately release two prominent opposition leaders, saying dialogue must replace suppression. Joe Stork, the New York-based rights NGO’s deputy Middle East director, lashed out at Bahrain for its treatment of Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, and Ibrahim Sharif, the secretary general of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), the country’s largest leftist political party.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
14th October 2015

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