Saudis public beheadings criticised; Alkhalifa condemned for jailing Rajab, Salman

Saudis public beheadings criticised; Alkhalifa condemned for jailing Rajab, Salman

Under the heading “Saudi Arabia’s Beheadings Are Public, but It Doesn’t Want Them Publicized” the US-based Foreign Policy published an article today by Justine Drennan denouncing the ongoing executions by the Saudi regime. It said: “Saudi Arabia, a world leader in beheadings, has a policy of carrying out the gruesome punishment in public to serve as a warning for other citizens. But as the arrest of the man who filmed a recent beheading demonstrates, the kingdom is much more wary of publicizing its brutal methods abroad. “Clearly, Saudi Arabia is pretty ashamed at having its brutality exposed,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division. She said the punishments are meant for the kingdom’s domestic public… and not for international viewers. brutal punishments, which she said have served as a model for the Islamic State.

On 17th January a native Bahraini was martyred after inhaling large quantities of chemical and tear gases fired by foreign mercenaries. Abdul Aziz Salman Al Saeed, 65, from Bilad Al Qadeem, inhaled large quantities of these lethal gases outside his home. When he returned he suffered shortness of breath and continuous coughing. He passed away shortly afterwards. His funeral was mercilessly attacked.

The Sentencing yesterday of Nabeel Rajab, the President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, to six months in jail for his critical tweets of Alkhlaifa dictatorship has been widely condemned by world’s human rights bodies. It was seen as another marker on the road to more repression in the kingdom of fear. Yesterday, Amnesty International said: “Nabeel Rajab is being unjustly punished simply for posting tweets deemed insulting to the authorities. His conviction is a blow to freedom of expression – it must be quashed. He should be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. He added: “Instead of persecuting activists who dare to speak out freely the Bahraini authorities should repeal these repressive laws and uphold the right to freedom of expression,” said Said Boumedouha. Seventy two Members of the European Parliaments signed a petition calling for the quashing of Nabeel Rajab’s charges.

After detaining him for three weeks, the Alkhalifa have decided to put Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of Al Wefaq Society, on trial for refusing to take part in the tribal elections in November. The regime considers him and Al Wefaq responsible for defeating the regime in its attempt to promote its tribal elections as real reforms. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

On Sunday 18th January Human Rights Watch urged Bahrain’s Western allies to press the Alkhalifa to release detained activists, including  Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of the influential Al-Wefaq bloc, who has remained in custody since authorities arrested him on December 28 on charges including seeking regime change. “When it comes to punishing peaceful critics of the government or ruling family, Bahrain is a serial offender,” said HRW’s deputy MENA director Joe Stork. Salman’s arrest “seems calculated to send a message to Bahrainis and the world that political reconciliation and respect for fundamental rights is completely off the table,” said Stork. HRW said that authorities have so far “failed” to release evidence against Salman, urging his immediate release and calling for charges against him to be dropped.

Meanwhile six native Bahrainis were arrested on Monday from the town of Jid Ali after their car was surrounded by foreign mercenaries employed by Alkhalifa junta. They are: Ali Marhoon, Ali Al Uraibi, Hussain Al Herz, Naji Al Adem, Hussain Jamil and Hussain Khamis. On Monday 19th January Alkhalifa sentenced a young Bahraini woman activist to one year in jail for taking part in anti-regime protest. Ayat Al Saffar joins several other native Bahraini women at Alkhalifa incarceration dungeons. Today several native Bahrainis from Duraz were given five years jail terms and asked to pay 150 BD (400 dollars).

On 18th January Human Rights First urged the United States to publicly state how it plans to respond to the ongoing crackdown on peaceful dissent in Bahrain, its military ally and home of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet. On January 20, Bahraini authorities have scheduled a court verdict for leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab and are slated to decide whether to extend the custody of prominent opposition leader Ali Salman. “The Bahraini regime seems to have interpreted United States’ lack of response to this new wave of repression as a sign that it can get away with targeting peaceful dissidents without consequences from its allies. The United States should make clear that it will respond to the harassment of Bahrain’s peaceful opposition and human rights defenders,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
20th January 2015