As the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar intensifies, bleak economic prospects have been predicted for the region. The International Monetary Fund warned in its Regional Economic Outlook released yesterday that if the crisis drags on, it will negatively impact mid-term growth prospects for the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). “A protracted rift could weaken medium-term growth prospects, not only for Qatar but also for other GCC countries,” the report said. If the rift continues, it will “slow progress toward greater GCC integration and cause a broader erosion of confidence, reducing investment and growth, and increasing funding costs in Qatar and possibly the rest of the GCC.” It said the crisis had resulted in some financial pressures on Qatar as its sovereign credit rating and outlook had been downgraded, raising interbank interest rates and leading to a decline in private sector deposits. It said the impact on Qatari banks has largely been mitigated by liquidity injections by the central bank and increased public sector deposits.
The vicious campaign against native Bahrainis has intensified with more innocent people sentenced to long jail sentences and revocation of nationality. In one of the bleakest days for justice the Alkhalifa regime issued collective punishment verdicts against many victims of state terrorism. Life imprisonment and nationality revocation were passed on Sayed Murtada Al Sanadi, Sheikh Zuhair Ashoor, Sheikh Ali Jassim Ashoor, Mohammad Saleh Isa, Hussain Abdul Wahab Hussain, Mohammad Fakhrawi and his brother, Ali and blogger Ali Me’raj. Photojournalist, Mahmood Al Jaziri has been sentenced to 15 years and revocation of citizenship. The same sentence was passed on Ibrahim Jaffar Hassan, Hamid Ali Mansoor (former elected Councillor), Mohammad Ahmad Sarhan, Mohammad Abdul Jalil Al Sabba’s, Isa Saleh Isa and Mohammad Abdul Aziz Al Daqqaq were given 15 years and citizenship revocation. Two were sentenced to ten years; Sayed Qassim Majid and Sheikh Isa Al Qaffas. From Duraz town, Mohammad Isa was detained by masked members of the regime’s Death squads in a dawn raid on his home.
Regimes’ frustration at its political defeat in the Qatar saga has added to its policy of vicious revenge from the natives. The family of UK-based activist, Sayed Ahmad AlWadaei, has been given long term sentences. His mother-in-law, Hajer Mansoor, 49 and her son, Nazar Aalwi,14, were given three years. Her nephew, Mahmood Marzooq was sentenced to one month. He had been in jail since early March. Several international NGOs have condemned this punishment of revenge and expressed solidarity with Mr Al Wadaei. In a letter sent toUK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a group of 13 human rights organisations that includes Amnesty International and UK legal charity Reprieve called for the release of Sayed Nazar Alwadaei, Hajar Mansoor Hasan and Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor. “We … urge your government to request Bahrain to immediately release Mr and Mrs Alwadaei’s relatives ahead of their October 30 trial and drop all charges against them,” said the letter sent on Thursday. It called the case “part of a pattern of abuse and harassment against human rights defenders and their families in Bahrain”. “Bahrain is punishing his innocent family as retribution for his peaceful activism,” said Maya Foa, director of Reprieve.
A native Bahraini opposition figure has been forcibly deported. On Monday 30th October, Ibrahim Karimi was taken from his cell where he had been jailed since September 2015 and banished. Amnesty nternational had considered him “prisoner of conscience”, called for his nationality to be reinstated and his deportation to be stopped. He was accused of humiliating the dictator, promoting hatred of the regime and criticising Saudi-led war on Yemen.
Bahrain’s regime has dealt another blow to civility and modern statehood by the closure of another major political society. The secular National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) was dissolved on 30thOctober after having issued a statement in February, saying that Bahrain was suffering from a “constitutional political crisis” amid continuous human rights violations. The group was subsequently charged with “advocating violence, supporting terrorism and incitement to encourage crimes and lawlessness”. “By banning major political opposition groups, Bahrain is now heading towards total suppression of human rights,” said Lynn Maalouf, Director of research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional Office. “The suspension of Wa’ad is a flagrant attack on freedom of expression and association, and further proof that the authorities have no intention of delivering on promises of human rights progress.”
On 27th October, Bahrain’s dictator ordered the removal of Nabeel Rajab to another torture cell. He was roughly treated, had his head shaven and received serious verbal and physical abuse. Amnesty International and other human rights bodies have condemned this crime and called for Mr Rajab’s immediate release.
Bahrain Freedom Movement