Yemen war exposes Saudi criminality, Rajab haunts Alkhalifa tyrant

The New York Times editorial on 16th November called for a political solution to the Saudi-led war on Yemen. It said: On Monday (13th November), the United States Congress passed a resolution denouncing the targeting of Yemeni civilians and calling for all parties involved to “increase efforts to adopt all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent civilian casualties and to increase humanitarian access.” The vote should serve as a warning to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is intent on expanding Saudi Arabia’s regional influence, that while he may have the unreserved blessing of President Trump, American lawmakers are less tolerant of flagrant violations of international law and of basic humanity. The editorial ended with the assertion that: “The only way to end the Yemeni people’s hell is for Congress and the United Nations to keep pressing all parties for a political solution.” 50,000 Yemeni children could die by the end of this year in what will be “the largest famine the world has seen in many decades.”

On 21st November the Wall Street Journal reported some details about the ongoings at the Ritz-Calrton in Riyadh that has become prison for the Saudi princes and businessmen. Mohammad bin Salman’s aim is to extract as much as possible of their wealth to subsidise his ambitious plans. Those who agree to deals may be allowed to go home and live under house arrest as the assets are transferred. Those who don’t agree to forfeit assets could be moved to al-Hayer prison about 25 miles south of central Riyadh and face trial. According to the paper, the strain among detainees was showing, according to a Saudi officials. Some—especially the less prominent who stood to lose larger shares of their wealth or could implicate others by admitting to corruption—were hardly getting sleep, a Saudi official said. There are reports that torture is rampant at the makeshift prison. Prince Mit’eb bin Abdullah, the son of the late King Abdullah who was once considered a future crown prince, was beaten and tortured, along with five other princes, when he was arrested and interrogated in Riyadh during the ongoing political purge in the kingdom.

Once again Bahrain’s dictator has decided to prolong the suffering of the world-renowned human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab by confirming the two years prison sentence imposed on him in July for criticising the regime’s internal policies. He ordered his court to adjourn his “trial” once again to 31st December amid international calls for his immediate and unconditional release. Mr Rajab is being harshly punished for his tweets condemning the illegal war on Yemen, criticising Saudi policies and Alkhalifa torture crimes in Bahrain. Yesterday, several human rights bodies staged a protest outside the Bahraini embassy in London calling for his release. They include Index on Censorship, English PEN, Committee Against Arms Trade (CAAT), BIRD and others.

Calls have been made by the families of the leaders of Bahrain Revolution for an immediate lifting of the most draconian rules and acts by the prison officials against these prisoners of conscience. For the past nine months these figures, including Abdul Wahab Hussain, Hassan Mushaima, Sheikh Ali Salman, Dr Abdul Jalil AlSingace and Abdul Hadi AlKhawaja have been subjected to most atrocious treatment. They have been denied family visits, proper medical care or proper sanitation. Last month they had all their books confiscated with only two copies of the Holy Quran left to be shared among 15 of them. All books, personal memoirs and manuscripts were stolen by regime’s mercenaries. They also stopped regime’s newspapers and TV channels. Other detainees are also subjected to criminal treatment. Hisham Al Sabbagh, a widower and a father of two has been transferred to solitary confinement for protesting against the ill-treatment of native Bahraini prisoners. Another inmate, Ammar Abdul Ghani, has been in solitary confinement for the past four weeks. Another detainee, Maher AlKhabbaz, has been tortured for taking longer time at the toilet. He was set upon by regime’s torturers, beating him mercilessly, before being moved to unknown location.

A new wave of collective punishment has been unfolding in the past few days. Yesterday, Hajji Abdul Majid Abdulla (also known as Hajji Sumood) was sentenced to six months detention for continuing to protest against Alkhalifa brutality. He is in his mid-seventies and suffers various ailments. From Jidhafs Town Mohammad Nasser AlAshoori was snatched in a raid on his home. Several others from various towns were detained including Ahmad Sultan, Hussain Ali, Ayman Salman and Isa Adel.

The misfortunes of Alkhalifa are mounting. Now they face the prospect of inability to pay for the debts they accumulated. Bloomberg classifies Bahrain one of seven countries that are unlikely to service their debts. It said: Bahrain’s spread rose dramatically in late October to the highest since January after it was said to ask Gulf allies for aid. The nation is seeking to replenish international reserves and avert a currency devaluation as oil prices batter the six Gulf Cooperation Council oil producers. Although its neighbours are likely to help, Bahrain could still be left with the highest budget deficit in the region, according to the IMF.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
22nd November 2017 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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