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Jasta activated against Saudis in US, as two Bahrainis die of torture

Saudi Arabia may be held accountable for the devastation of 9/11 after the families of 800 victims and 1,500 first responders, filed a lawsuit accusing the country of involvement in the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Out of the 19 hijackers of 9/11, 15 of them were from Saudi and three of them had worked for the kingdom previously. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan this week, says Saudi officials are believed to have aided some of the hijackers before the attacks. In the lawsuit, officials of Saudi embassies are accused of helping hijackers Salem Al-Hazmi and Khalid Al-Mihdhar more than a year before the tragedy. According to PIX 11, the officials allegedly helped Al-Hazmi and Al-Mihdhar learn English and obtain credit cards and cash, as well as taught them how to blend in with the American culture. Officials at the Saudi embassy in Germany reportedly supported the lead hijacker Mohamed Atta. The lawsuit, which was filed by aviation law firm Kreindler & Kreindler, alleges that a Saudi official was even in the same hotel in Virginia with hijackers the night before the attacks, according to the station. The lawsuit is the first activation of the Jasta law passed by Congress last year allowing families of 9/11 victims to claim compensations from the Saudi government.

On Monday 20th March the Saudi activist Raif Badawi was informed by prison authorities that the verdict against him was confirmed and he had to pay a fine of one million Saudi Rials (about $350,000). Two years ago he was lashed for his activism.

In UAE human rights activist, Ahmad Mansoor was arrested on 20th March for his tweets and other activities. His detention followed signing a petition calling on Arab regimes to respect the human rights of their citizens. “The UAE government’s continued targeting of Ahmed Mansoor for his human rights work throughout the years speaks volumes of how restricted freedom of expression is in the UAE,” said ADHRB Executive Director Husain Abdulla. “Arresting internationally-acclaimed human rights defenders like Ahmed Mansoor shows that Gulf countries have no respect for human rights. Mansoor must immediately be released.”

Two of Alkhalifa torture victims died in the past week. Mohammad Sahwan, 45, who has been languishing behind bars for the past four years, died as a result of extensive torture that added to his pain he has endured since he was hit by police using shotgun. He had 80 pellets in his head. His X-rays show his head full of pellets resembling a clear sky full of stars. He was tortured repeatedly for his activism before his arrest. Despite pleas from his family and human rights NGOs he did not receive proper medical care. His funeral became another flashpoint for anti-regime slogans calling for an end to Alkhalifa black era.

Poet and Electrical Engineer, Mansoor Al Mubarak, 45, also died as a result of his severe wounds resulting from torture he had endured in his several detentions. He was arrested and severely tortured during martial law period in 2011. He had also been detained during the uprising of the nineties. He told his lawyer that he suffered most in 2011.

In the week 13-19th March the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights documented at least 62 arrests including 11 children. There were 112 protests in towns and villages, 25 of which were attacked by regime’s forces. Five native Bahrainis received serious shotgun wounds. Yesterday Photojournalist, Mohammed Alshaikh, who also worked for AFP was arrested at Bahrain Airport on his way back from a vacation in India. Ibtisam Al Sa’yegh, a human rights activist was detained at the airport upon her return from Geneva on Monday. She was questioned for six hours about her work in Geneva, her passport was seized and was told that she would not be allowed to travel back to Geneva in Many for Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review.

Bahraini liberal opposition figure Ibrahim Sharif was charged on Monday with “inciting hatred” against the regime with his tweets. He was questioned by Alkhalifa public prosecution about comments he had tweeted. Apart from voicing support for detained rights activists, Sharif questioned moves by the justice ministry to dissolve the secular, opposition National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) of which he was a founding member. “What remains of the decor of the democratic state?” Sharif asked in a tweet. Amnesty International condemned the charge against Sharif, who it said had been “in and out of prison as a prisoner of conscience” over the past six years, and called for it to be dropped. “Once again Ibrahim Sharif is being unjustly punished simply for exercising his right to freedom of expression. The charge against him is ludicrous and must be dropped immediately,” the rights group said. “The Bahraini authorities have repeatedly sought to harass and intimidate anyone who dares to speak out about human rights violations in Bahrain,” said Lynn Maalouf, a deputy director at Amnesty’s office in Beirut.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

22nd March 2017

(info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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