Labour Party praised for banning Saudis; Bahraini HR activists targeted

In a blow to Saudi Arabia the UK’s Labour Party has barred the kingdom from attending its conference in Brighton next week. Sudan has also been barred. This is in protest at the continuing aggression on Yemen which has killed thousands of women and children. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has called for the Government to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia, arguing they are being used in Yemen’s civil war. “We are selling arms to Saudi Arabia… and at the same time we are sending aid in, we should not be doing both,” he told the BBC’s World at One programme. Mr Corbyn went on to say it was important to ensure there is “a political process to bring about a ceasefire” in Yemen. The Saudis immediately ordered the Arab League not to attend the conference. The courageous decision by the Labour Party has been praised by human rights and anti-war activists. It is seen as a new ethical foreign policy in line with British democratic values.

On Friday 15th September the campaign group Human Rights Watch condemned the arrest by Saudi authorities of some 30 clerics, intellectuals and activists last week as a “coordinated crackdown on dissent”, and Amnesty International echoed the sentiment. The arrests were made after exiled opposition figures called for demonstrations following Friday’s afternoon prayers, which did not appear to attract much support amid a heavy security deployment. Activists circulated on social media lists of people detained. They included prominent Islamist preacher Salman al-Awdah, as well as some people with no clear links to Islamist activity or obvious history of opposition. The detentions come amid widespread speculation, denied by officials, that King Salman, 81, intends to abdicate in favour of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed, who dominates economic, foreign and domestic policy.

In Bahrain Alkhalifa regime’s desperation has led it to escalate its attacks on civil liberties and punish people for their views. Several prominent people have been summoned to appear at the notorious torture centres. Farida Ghulam the wife of Ibrahim Sharif was handed a summons to attend interrogation session today. She has now been charged with taking part in a peaceful protest at Bilad Al Qadeem, and banned from travel. Human rights activist Enas Oun was summoned on 17th September, interrogated and charged with participating in a peaceful protest at Duraz on 21st May. She has also been banned from travel. Another human rights activist, Ahmad Al Saffar has been charged with illegal gathering and taking part in a protest in Duraz. A travel ban has also been enforced on him. Ms Nidal Al Salman, of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has been summoned to appear at the torture chambers of the notorious CID headquarters. Dr Taha Al Durazi, a prominent neurosurgeon has also been summoned for today. He had been jailed for his part in treating injured protesters in 2011.

In addition to intimidating human rights activists, the tribal regime aims at preventing human rights activists from attending the ongoing session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. However regime’s officials and GONGOs are attending in large numbers to spread lies and deception about the situation in the country. It is now clear that their efforts have failed to whitewash Alkhlaifa crimes. Human rights activists residing outside the country have flocked to Geneva and presented to the world the true nature of the Alkhalifa regime including its systematic torture, abuse, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings, revocation of natives nationalities and the dire situation in the torture cells which contain over 4000 political prisoners.

In an attempt to pacify opponents following the publication by Amnesty International (AI) a damning report on the human rights crisis in Bahrain, Alkhalifa London embassy claimed to have held nine meetings with the organisation and that they were cooperating on these matters. However, Ariel Plotkin, a researcher at AI denied that any meeting had taken place. She said that prior to the publication of the report AI had requested a meeting but the regime failed to respond.

As the situation inside the torture dungeons deteriorated further, the native prisoners of conscience have continued their hunger strike that they had started on 11th September. Many of them have collapsed especially after they were attacked by masked members of the regime’s Death Squads. Yesterday they were joined by the world renowned human rights activist, Abdul Hadi AlKhawaja. He had staged several hunger strikes in the past to draw attention to the plight of the thousands of Bahrainis who are subjected to most inhumane prison conditions after their torture ordeals had finished.

Meanwhile, Nabeel Rajab has been charged with new offences. They include “spreading false news”, “disobeying the law” and “Inciting hatred of the regime”. These will be added to other charges relating to his tweets for which he will be tried on 27th September.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
20th September 2017 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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