Saudis asked to release prisoners; FCO insists on hiding truths
On the eve of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Saudi Arabia (4th March), Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL 6th District) and James McGovern (D-MA, 2nd District) sent a bipartisan letter to Saudi Arabia’s new ruler, King Salman. The letter urges the new King to free all prisoners of conscience—including blogger Raif Badawi and attorney Waleed Abu al-Khair—and to allow women, religious minorities and peaceful political reformers to freely express themselves and fully participate in public life in Saudi Arabia. The letter garnered 67 congressional signers and endorsements from 17 women’s, human rights, religious freedom, and advocacy organizations, including Amnesty International USA and Human Rights Watch. “Saudi Arabia’s new King has a critical opportunity to enact major human rights reforms and free prisoners of conscience such as blogger Raif Badawi and attorney Waleed Abu Al-Khair,” said Steven W. Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.
Today The Independent newspaper published an article on the Uk refusal to release documents showing its relations with Alkhalifa dictatorship. It said; The UK Government is refusing to release 38-year-old papers shedding light on Britain’s relationship with the authoritarian regime in Bahrain, amid suggestions that it is protecting a deal on a new Royal Navy base in the Gulf country. Campaigners asked the Information Rights Tribunal to intervene and force the Foreign Office (FCO) to release the full text of a 1977 document detailing the conversation between British officials and Ian Henderson, a British military officer who ran the police force in the Sunni-ruled state for 30 years. Henderson, who died two years ago, was dubbed the “Butcher of Bahrain” after allegations that he was complicit in the ransacking of villages, the sadistic sexual abuse of Shia prisoners and the use of power drills to maim them. The document should be available under the 30-year-rule controlling the release of government papers, but Marc Jones, an academic and a member of the Bahrain Watch human rights group, says the FCO has refused to release it despite repeated requests. Instead, only a heavily redacted version has been released. Mr Jones believes the full document is highly critical of the Khalifa family, which rules the state, and is being held back to save them “embarrassment” and avoid jeopardising a deal for a new Royal Navy base.
On Tuesday 10th March Alkhalifa security forces tear-gassed and beat inmates at the notorious Jaw prison while trying to quell clashes that erupted during family visits, causing serious injuries among the detainees. Several detainees including Ali Hussein Abdel-Nabi and Jameel Abdel-Ghani from the village of Shahrakan, were severely beaten by police. Instead of giving them the necessary medical care they were transferred to Al Rafa’ torture centre for further abuse. Jaw prison is the main facility for hundreds of people jailed over participation in anti-government protests, over the past four years. It is reputed for its “systematic torture” and lack of discipline by those running it. In 2013, at least 40 Bahraini prisoners were hurt when security forces used batons, tear and pepper gas and stun grenades against inmates protesting over their conditions.
As the protests continued throughout the country many more Bahrainis have been detained. Yesterday wo native Bahrainis from Abu Saiaba’ and Al Shakhoura were kidnapped by masked members of Death Squads; Hassan Tarikh and Hassan Fadhala. From Bani Jamra Yousuf Al Sheikh was arrested in a raid on his home. On Monday 9th March the third son of Hajji Mohammad Falah was arrested. From Samaheej Ali Hussain Al Haiki was detained. From Abu Quwwa, Hassan Aoun was arrested and tortured. He and his two brothers had been repeatedly arrested, tortured and sexually abused. None of their torturers has ever been brought to justice. From Demstan young native Bahraini; Taha Al Fardan was detained in a raid on his flat. He was led to the torture chambers by masked members of Death Squads. From Bani Jamra Yousuf Ibrahim was arrested after being shot with bird guns. Since his arrest on Monday, Khalil Ibrahim, from Bani Jamra has not been heard of. There is rising concern for his safety. From Ras Al Rumman, masked members of Death Squads snatched Zakariya Abdul Redha after intentionally ramming and damaging his car. Fth rom Demstan; Mohammad Falah and Yasser Ibrahim were detained in a dawn raid on their home. Masked men from the Death Squads snatched Abdullah Al Makhlooq from Manama. Murtadha Al Miqdad has been re-arrested at one of the check points manned by mercenaries. Bahraini prisoner, Jaffar Eid, told his family that one of his kidneys has ceased to function and that he vomits blood. Nader Abdul Emam whose image shocked the world when he was hit with rubber bullet two years ago has been sacked from his job at the ministry of education. This is an added punishment for native Bahrainis who oppose the ruling Alkhalifa dictatorship. He has been working at the ministry for 14 years and sacked for a tweet. A female prisoner; Jalila Sayed Amin has had her detention extended for ten more days for taking part in anti-regime protest.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
11th March 2015