Saudis pressed to release Sheikh Nimr, Alkhalifa must free Rajab, AlKhawaja
One week after the condemning by the Saudi royal family of Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr to death for criticizing its occupation of Bahrain and calling for serious political reforms, the angry reactions have continued against this barbaric sentence. Human rights bodies have called for the sentence to be repealed while religious bodies in Eastern Province and outside Arabia have warned of serious consequences if the cleric is killed. Demonstrations have erupted in several parts of the Province and the Bahraini protesters have adopted Sheikh Al Nimr’s case. In London several protests were held both outside the Saudi Embassy in Mayfair and outside Downing Street calling for the UK Government to make a stand against this sham of justice in Saudi Arabia, a close ally of UK. In a BBC interview, Nimr said he backed “the roar of the word against authorities rather than weapons”. The arrest of his brother and other relatives after sentencing has fuelled anger that is being ventilated on Twitter and other social media. “Saudi Arabia’s harsh treatment of a prominent Shia cleric is only adding to existing sectarian discord and unrest,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Saudi Arabia’s path to stability in the eastern province lies in ending systematic discrimination against Shia citizens, not in death sentences.” Amnesty International described Nimr’s sentencing as part of a wider Saudi government crackdown on dissent.
At the home front, Ali Essa Al Safi has been sentenced to three years imprisonment for taking part in anti-regime peaceful protest. His father, was shot dead at a peaceful protest in 1995. In the past few days the Alkhalifa rulers have reacted angrily to the decision by the Bahraini people to boycott their elections resorting to their policy of revenge. More than 25 native Bahrainis were detained in the past few days at the torture dungeons. In the early hours of this morning many houses in Sitra were raided in vicious ways. These attacks continued for four hours creating fear and cries among their inhabitants. Four youths were snatched from their beds; two from Iskan Mhazza and two from Markoban. Among the houses raided was that of the family of Martyr Mohammad Yaqoob. It sustained ferocious attack and its contents were destroyed. The Martyr’s brother, Khalil, has been asked to hand himself to the torturers. Among those detained in those raids is Karim Al Stiri. Two days ago, Adnan Habib,22, from Hamad Town, was snatched from his home by members of the regime’s Death Squads. Nothing has been heard of him since.
On Monday 20th October, Habib Ahmed Salman, Hussain AlOwainati, Ahmed AbdulAmeer and Fadhel Abbas AlQattan were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. An under-aged boy, Mahmood Naji, 15, was sentenced to 3 years on charges of illegal gathering and arson.
On 15th October Amnesty International (AI) and leading trade unionists raised the case of the jailed president of the Bahrain Teachers Association Mahdi Abu Dheeb at the Bahrain embassy in London. AI UK’s Director Kate Allen – along with Owen Tudor, Head of European Union and International Relations at the TUC, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, and Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary of NASUWT met with Alkhalifa ambassador and called for releasing Mr Abu Dheeb who is serving a five-year jail sentence. Among other things, Abu Dheeb was accused of using his position to call for a strike by teachers, of halting the educational process, and of “inciting hatred of the regime” and “attempting to overthrow the ruling system by force”.
On 19th October Human Rights First expressed deep concern at a Bahraini court’s decision to continue the imprisonment of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, whose trial opened today and was quickly adjourned until October 29. Rajab is charged with insulting the ministries of defence and interior with a Tweet he posted on September 28 saying that the Bahrain security institutions are “the first ideological incubator” for Bahrainis joining ISIS. “This isn’t a complicated case – Nabeel is being targeted for peacefully expressing his views, and he should never have been arrested,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “The world’s leading human rights organizations, plus Bahrain’s main military ally the United States, have called for charges to be dropped. “It’s hard to see how persisting with this case is a win for the Bahrain government internationally or locally and it only undermines its claims of reform. Civil society figures like Nabeel Rajab, Zainab Al Khawja and many others belong out of jail and in a process to help Bahrain resolve its crisis. Keeping peaceful figures locked away is the wrong move if Bahrain wants to calm its political unrest.”
On 15th October Amnesty International (AI) issued an Urgent Action and a Press Release on the detention of Zainab AlKhawaja, calling for her immediate and unconditional release. Before tearing the ruler’s picture, Zainab said to the “judge”:: “I am the daughter of a proud and free man. My mother brought me into this world free, and I will give birth to a free baby boy even if it is inside our prisons. It is my right, and my responsibility as a free person, to protest against oppression and oppressors.” AI asked for her release, and the release of Nabeel Rajab and Nader Abdul Emam for tweets the ruling family did not like.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
22nd October 2014