Saudi war led to Cholera epidemic, Nabeel Rajab’s case haunts Alkhalifa
The cholera outbreak in Yemen has claimed the lives of more than 1000 people in one month. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates more than 100,000 have been affected. The human conscience is crying out for an immediate halt to the Saudi criminal bombing and blockade that have led to the spread of the disease. The American president is coming under intense pressure to stop arming Saudis who are committing enormous war crimes in that country and at home. Almost half of the Senators are opposing these sales. Senator Rand Paul has tweeted: I don’t think we should sell arms to Saudi Arabia if it might wind up in the hands of ISIS and if they punish people for protests… Saudi Arabia is causing a humanitarian crisis with a war in Yemen. It funds extremism worldwide. Abuses human rights. Stop arming them now. We must stand up and tell Saudi Arabia ENOUGH. They are the biggest exporter of extremism and hatred in the world.” Those arms sales are causing human catastrophe inside Saudi Arabia itself. The town of Awwamiyah in the Eastern Province is suffering daily fatalities as the Saudi troops attack the residents at will. Two days ago a young man was killed with life bullets by AlSaud attackers. Abdul Mohsin Abdulla Al Faraj, father of five, received a direct bullet hit. At least thirty people were shot in dawn attack yesterday, including Mohammad Al Nimr, brother of Martyr Sheikh Al Nimr who was executed last year.
Meanwhile the GCC crisis resulting from the Saudi decision to punish Qatar for adopting independent foreign policy has escalated sharply. The Kuwaiti mediation has faltered as the Qatari Emir refuses to submit to the Saudi humiliating demands. Qatar has now been blockaded from all sides except on its maritime borders with Iran. Qataris stranded in Saudi Arabia, UAE or Bahrain are subjected to harsh conditions as these regimes abandoned notions of brotherhood and humanity. Saudis are in deep quagmire because of its ill-conceived policies on Yemen and Qatar. Apart from few marginal states, no country of significance has severed its links with Qatar. On 8th June Alkhalifa followed the UAE in announcing that it would fine and jail anyone expressing sympathy for Qatar over the Saudi-led sanctions. “Any expression of sympathy with the government of Qatar or opposition to the measures taken by the government of Bahrain, whether through social media, Twitter or any other form of communication, is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine,” a Bahraini interior ministry statement said.
Meanwhile the human rights world commemorated one year of incarceration of Nabeel Rajab. Yesterday there were many statements, protests and solidarity campaigns around the globe calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the world-renowned human rights activist who is jail for expressing his rejection of the Saudi-led war on Yemen. Yesterday 13th June Congressman Jim McGovern delivered a speech at US Congress calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Nabeel Rajab. In Brussels 36 MEPs signed a letter directed to Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy asking her to take a stand on Nabeel Rajab’s detention. They called on Union Member States to urge the Government of Bahrain both publicly and privately to: • Immediately and unconditionally release Nabeel Rajab and all political prisoners; • Ensure he is granted immediate and regular access to his lawyer, his family, and any medical treatment he may require; • Halt the harassment of those who peacefully exercise their freedom of speech or assembly.
In London Amnesty International joined 15 major human rights bodies issued a joint open letter to UN members and observer states to call for the release of Nabeel Rajab immediately. Several NGOs held a vigil outside Bahrain’s Embassy in London to demand the release of Nabeel Rajab. Sayed Ahmad Al Wadaei, a human rights activist was arrested by police when he held Nabeel’s photo against Embassy building. He was charged with “trespassing” while not setting foot inside the building. It was harsh treatment in parallel with what Alkhalifa torturers are doing to his family. His mother and brother in law and a cousin have been in custody for two months in retaliation for Al Wadaei’s anti-regime activities. Several other activists are being punished by arresting their relatives in Bahrain. On 12th June Amnesty International issued a public statement on this issue. It called on the Bahraini authorities to put an end to the continuous harassment and targeting of the family of human rights activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who resides in the United Kingdom (UK), which Amnesty International believes is an attempt to force him to halt his peaceful activities and muzzle him from afar.
In the week 5-11th June the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has documented the arrest of at least 8 native Bahrainis including a child. There were 63 protests in 28 towns and villages. At least 21 of them were attacked by regime’s mercenary forces.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
14th June 2017 (firstname.lastname@example.org, www.vob.org)