Saudis to execute 55 citizens, Alkhalifa revoke citizenship of more natives
Saudi media have reported that more than 50 citizens would be executed soon, having been condemned on various charges. They possibly include Sheikh Nimr AlNimr, his nephew, Ali AlNimr and five other Shia Muslims who had protested peacefully against AlSaud tribal rule. There is now urgent need for pressure on the Saudis to spare the lives of those condemned to death for calling on the regime to reform. Washington and London are urged to make a noble stand to stop these executions and force Saudis to behave decently with citizens or pack and go. Meanwhile a Saudi court has sentenced a citizen to jail term and lashing on a strange charge. Mukhlif Al Shummari, 60, has been sentenced to two years jail and 200 lashes for “socialising with the Shia and sympathising with them in their tragedies”. He is known for communicating and co-habiting with the Shia Muslims of the Eastern Province. He has shrugged off the sentence and vowed to continue his relations with all sectors of the Saudi society.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued an extensive report on Bahrain titled “The Blood of People Who Don’t Cooperate” detailing the systematic torture inflicted on native Bahrainis by the ruling Alkhalifa tribe. It said that security forces are torturing detainees during interrogation as regulatory bodies set up after the 2011 uprising “lack independence” and officials are not held accountable. In its 84-page report, HRW said it interviewed 10 detainees “who said they endured coercive interrogations” by authorities. It cited four other inmates of Jaw prison “who said authorities had tortured them in March 2015”, four years since reforms that were announced after the initial revolt was crushed. Reported physical assaults include “being subjected to electric shocks; suspension in painful positions, including by their wrists while handcuffed; forced standing; extreme cold; and sexual abuse,” HRW said. In the wake of the Human Rights Report Lord Avebury, the Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group tabled a question “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the recommendations by Human Rights Watch in its report on the treatment of detainees in Bahrain, The Blood of People Who Don’t Cooperate, that the UK should suspend funding, support and training for security service reform until Bahrain enacts listed reforms and issues a standing invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.”
On 23rd November Alkhalifa court issued sentences totalling 429 years against 36 native Bahrainis and revoked the citizenship of 13 of them. Three were sentenced to 15 years jail, ten others to 10 years each. In another case, sixteen native citizens were given 15 years and three sentenced to ten years. Thirteen of these had their nationality revoked also. In a third case the same court sentenced one person to five years and three others were given three years each. On 19th November Alkhalifa court sentenced six Bahrainis from Jihafs Town to 15 years jail sentence for taking part in anti-regime protests. On 23rd November Photojournalist Sayed Ahmed AlMousawi and his brother, Sayed Mohammed have been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for doing their job. Reporters Without Borders issued a statement condemning the sentence: “The threats and intimidation campaigns against professional journalists and citizen journalists have just one aim – to use ‘terrorism’ as a pretext for suppressing all criticism of an authoritarian regime,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Middle East desk. It added: “It is outrageous that a journalist has been treated like a terrorist. Arbitrary arrests of peaceful dissidents, systematic torture and impunity have turned Bahrain into a dangerous country for those who speak out. We condemn Mousawi’s arbitrary detention and call on the authorities to overturn his conviction.”
Arbitrary detention has continued. On 22nd November Hussain Abdulla AlShehabi and Mohammad Al Fatlawi, from Duraz, were arrested and taken to be tortured at secret houses. On 21st November Sheikh Fadhel Ibrahim was detained. On 23rd November, a blind native Bahraini was arrested at Bahrain airport on his way to attend religious rituals in Iraq. Ali Sa’ad, 30, has been repeatedly detained despite his blindness caused by suspicious explosion in a the car he was sharing with a friend who died.
On Friday 20th November human rights activists launched a campaign in defence of the children who are languishing at Alkahlifa jails. AlWahdwi Human Rights Monitor said that more than 340 children (under 18) are behind bars. Around 100 of them are under 15. Many of them are denied basic medical treatment. It urged UNICEF to intervene to get these children released to stop their torture and let them attend school.
On 19 November 2015, 80 Members of the European Parliament addressed an open letter to Bahrain’s King, His Majesty Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, on the ongoing travel ban against Bahraini Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab, and asked for the charges against him to be dropped.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
25th November 2015