The Saudis are grinding their axes to throttle Qataris as they have been doing in Yemen and had done in Iraq, Syria, Bahrain and Egypt. Riyadh’s decision to severe diplomatic links with its neighbour and GCC partner is another twist in the kingdom’s quest for regional dominance. The decision was shared by their poodles; the AlThani of UAE and Alkhalifa occupiers of Bahrain. While the apparent justification is alleged statements by Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Doha’s links with The Muslim Brotherhood (and Hamas), the real reason may lie in Saudi support for international terrorism. While Qatar has supported terror groups in Syria and Iraq, the main ideological mentors and financiers are located in the Arabian mainland. Osama bin Laden was Saudi national, so were 15 of the 19 suicide bombers of the 11th September atrocities. The Americans have legally acknowledged the Saudi role in terrorist attacks and issued the JASTA ACT (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism) passed by Congress last year that allows families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi state for compensation. The aim of the Saudi move against Qatar must be seen in the context of appearing to fight terrorism by localising it to its small and defenceless neighbour, Qatar.
On 1st June Saudi security forces bombed a private car killing its two occupants from the Eastern Province: Mohammad AlSamuel and Fadhel AlHamada from Qatif were killed instantly when their vehicle was targeted with a bomb or missile
Yesterday Human Rights Watch Amnesty International said Saudi Arabia should immediately quash the death sentences of 14 members of the Shia community for protesting against Al Saud. The Court of Appeal of the notorious Specialized Criminal Court upheld the sentences in May 2017, after they were handed down a year ago on June 1, 2016, following a grossly unfair trial of 24 Saudi Shia citizens. “The rise in death sentences against Saudi Arabian Shia is alarming and suggests that the authorities are using the death penalty to settle scores and crush dissent under the guise of combating ‘terrorism’ and maintaining national security,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. Court documents show that all defendants, including the 14 sentenced to death, were held in pre-trial detention for more than two years. During that time, most were in solitary confinement, and were denied access to families and lawyers.
On 4th June women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was arrested at King Fahad International Airport in Dammamin Saudi Arabia upon her return from a trip abroad. Samah Hadid Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International in the Middle–East said: “The Saudi Arabian authorities’ continuous harassment of Loujain al-Hathloul is absurd and unjustifiable. It appears she is being targeted once again because of her peaceful work as a human rights defender speaking out for women’s rights, which are consistently trammeled in the kingdom. If so she must be immediately and unconditionally released.
In Manama, Alkhalifa tribal junta yesterday condemned two native Bahrainis to death. Hussain Ali Mahdi and Sayed Ahmad Fuad Al Abbar were chosen for the guillotine by the dictator to revenge the steadfastness of the people calling for an end to the hereditary tribal dictatorship. Three others were given life imprisonment: Abdulla Saeed Jassim, Gharib Ibrahim Helal and Maitham Ali Ibrahim. Three others were given ten years; Hussain Abdul Majeed Ibrahim, FAdhel Abbas Al Shajjar and Hassan Ali Hassan Ali. Sayed Ali Mohsin Amin, 7 years, Sayed Amin Hassan Amin, Younus Mohammad Ibrahim and Murtadha Khalil Ibrahim were given five years each.
On 31st May Amnesty International called on the Bahraini authorities to immediately end the torture and other ill-treatment of human rights defenders and other critics of the government, and to investigate all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment with the intention to bring those responsible to justice through fair trials. The state must end all forms of reprisals it is currently using against human rights defenders and government critics, targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression. This call comes after woman human rights defender Ebtisam al-Sayegh described to Amnesty International the torture including the sexual assault she was subjected to for around seven hours on 26 May at the National Security Agency (NSA) building in Muharraq.
Last week, Bahrain’s dictator ordered the closure of the only independent newspaper in the country, Al Wasat, citing the silly reason that it had published news about unrest in Morocco. The paper was briefly closed in 2011 before foreign pressures forced the dictator to reverse his decision. The International Federation of Journalists has joined its affiliate, the Bahraini Journalists Association, in calling for the ban on national newspaper Al Wasat to be lifted immediately.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
7 June 2017 (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.vob.org)