Yesterday, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers urged Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to reconsider his support for a seemingly imminent assault by a Saudi-led coalition on the crucial Yemeni port city of Hodeida. “In the face of Yemen’s senseless humanitarian tragedy, where 19 million people need emergency support, we are committed to using our Constitutional authority to assert greater oversight over U.S. involvement in the conflict and promote greater public debate regarding U.S. military participation in Yemen’s civil war, which has never been authorized by Congress,” the legislators said in a letter. The letter comes on the heels of another, signed by 55 legislators, to President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions insisting that any direct U.S. involvement in Yemen be brought before Congress for authorization. In a trip to Saudi Arabia in April, Mattis hinted at direct U.S. military and intelligence support for the Saudi-led coalition, which is seeking to dislodge the Houthi forces from Sanaa and other areas they control in Yemen. Human rights activists have accused the Saudis of indiscriminate bombing in its campaign, saying it has killed thousands of civilians and reduced much of Yemen’s vital infrastructure to rubble.
As the time for the final political decision by Bahrain’s dictator against Ayatullah Sheikh Isa Qassim, approaches, emotions are running high in the country. There are fears that the deep feelings of hate that the tyrant has may drive him to order harsh punishment for the man who had humiliated his regime for the past six years. Sheikh Qassim refused to recognise the legitimacy of Alkhalifa courts and supported the people’s Revolution and demands for democratic transformation. On 7th May Bahrain will erupt in anger if the tribal regime decides to harm the most senior religious and political figure in the country. Religious scholars have issued edicts and stands in support of Sheikh Qassim. At least 80 scholars in UK have signed a statement supporting the Sheikh. Last Sunday a rally was held at Marble Arch to call for an end of his persecution.
In the week 24-30th April the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights documented at least 37 marches in 22 towns and villages. Eight of them were attacked by foreign mercenaries hired by Alkhalifa. There were show trials for 81 native Bahrainis in ten cases. They were sentenced to a total of 646 years and more than half a million dollars. Eighteen men and three women were detained, three of whom were subsequently released. On Friday 28th April regime’s mercenary forces raided the house of Sheikh Abdul Zahra AlKarbabadi and arrested him, his wife and daughter. They were taken to unknown location. On 29th April regime’s court ordered the detention for 30 days of woman activist, Najah Habib. She had been tortured and sexually harassed during her interrogation a week earlier. Other women behind bars include Hajer Mansoor who was detained on the International Women Day. Bahraini native, Muslim Aqeel Al Shammaa was arrested last week at Doha airport and handed over to Alkhalifa torturers. Nothing has been heard of him since.
In Geneva Alkhalifa bleak human rights record was condemned by many countries. Bahrain’s Universal Periodical Review (UPR) was discussed at the Human Rights Council. The world was shocked to know that the human rights situation had deteriorated despite earlier recommendations and calls on the Alkhalifa to change the way they had treated the native population. At least 80 countries condemned Alkhalifa crimes and took part in the drafting of more than 240 recommendations to be presented to Alkahlifa dictator. The regime has dispatched many of its officials, including members of Shura council, ministers, journalists, members of its GONGOs with a message of deception and lies to the world. But the plan failed disastrously.
On 2nd May, Amnesty International issued a statement titled: Bahrain: End Degrading Treatment of Activists. It said that “shackling the pro-democracy prisoners “violates international standards on prisoner treatment and in some cases may constitute cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” quoting a coalition of ten rights groups. The authorities should ensure that detainees are treated with humanity and in accordance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, known as the Nelson Mandela Rules, including access to the adequate medical care they require and contact with their relatives.
Freedom House issued its annual report on World Press Freedom, listing Bahrain among the “Not Free” countries, and one of the worst countries on the level of freedom. It also noted that Bahrain “has become one of the Middle East’s most repressive states.” Bahrain came in rank 18 from the bottom of the list; rank 193 out of 211 countries. According to Freedom House, Bahrain remained one of the worst countries, which dramatically declines in score within the past decade.
On 1st May the Committee to Protect Journalists, said that Bahraini prosecutors and security officials should cease harassing journalists and should lift travel bans imposed on two reporters in the past week. Regime’s public prosecutor summoned three journalists–Faisal Hayyat, a video blogger; Jaafar al-Jamri, a writer at the beleaguered Al-Wasat newspaper; and freelance journalist Ahmed Radhi–over the course of the past week, according to the Journalist Support Committee (JSC), a Bahraini press freedom group.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
3rd May 2017 (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.vob.org)