Call to investigate Saudi, UAE war crimes; Health of Bahraini cleric worsens

The Saudi-led coalition waging unjust war on Yemen has been humiliated into submission and forced to ease the criminal blockade. Both the US and UK were shamed into taking action to contain the famine and epidemic diseases especially Cholera which have spread across the country and affected millions. There was worldwide condemnation of the Saudis and their backers for their violation of the International Humanitarian Law in its war on Yemen. The Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate war crimes committed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in Yemen. The UAE reacted by accusing Qatar of standing behind the call.

Meanwhile, concerns have been expressed about the future of Saudi Arabia which is fragmenting from within. Those who initially remained silent on the rounding up of Saudi princes and business by self-appointed crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS) are beginning to speak out against the move that has drastically weakened the fabrics of the House of Saud. It is reported that prince Mit’eb bin Abdulla, MBS’s cousin has been freed from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel after agreeing to pay one billion dollars ransom to his jailers. Several others have also agreed to financial settlements that would set them free, while few have refused the offer. There is increasing rejection of bartering freedom for money and unease about the clear distinction between members of the royal family whose jail is the Ritz-Carlton and the ordinary Saudi citizens who are often held in squalid conditions. This Apartheid approach confirms the regime’s persecution of the poor and the weak while seeking to attract the upper classes of citizens.

The events in Bahrain have taken a sharp turn to the worse with heavier sentences and more nationality revocations. However, people were shocked to learn that the most senior religious figure in the country who belongs to the native majority, has been denied proper medical care and that his health had taken a sharp dive. He is reported to have lost 30 kgs in weight and his heart and general health are deteriorating. In the past few days he was bleeding. As no visitors are not allowed to see him, details of his health condition are not known. However there has been worldwide outcry from both religious and political circles who are worried about the continued persecution by the regime. Sheikh Qassim represents the people; he was one of the 30 elected members who drafted the country’s constitution in 1973 and a member of the defunct parliament which was dissolved by the ruling tribe in 1975. At a briefing in New York yesterday, Stéphane Dujarric the UN Spokesperson said: We do hope that he receives the medical treatment that he needs”. Human rights activists, senior religious scholars and public figures spoke of the need to end the persecution of the senior cleric and make proper treatment available to him.

Tayba Darwish, a mother of 3 had her appeal turned down by Alkhalifa court. She is serving five year sentence for giving refuge to an injured youth targeted by the mercenary forces. She is one of many women languishing at Alkhalifa torture chambers for helping the needy. Yesterday, the Kuwaiti authorities handed Sayed Ali Al Abbar, a Bahraini citizens to Alkhalifa torturers, ignoring his rights and personal safety.

Despite appeals from political and human rights bodies, Alkhalifa regime has resumed its travel ban on human rights activists. Last week the ban included Nidal Al Salman of Bahrain Human Rights Centre, Abdul Nabi Al Ekri of Transparency, journalist Ahmad Radhi and Radhi Al Mousawi of Wa’ad Society.

Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of AlWefaq, refused to attend a kangaroo court ordered by Alkhalifa dictators to try him for “espionage”. The Sheikh was involved with two other AlWefaq members, Sheikh Hassan Sultan and Ali AlAswad in a Qatari initiative to find a settlement of the situation in 2011 after the flare up of the Revolution. Their contacts with the Qatari foreign minister were known to the regime officials who were also talking to the Qataris and eager to find a way out. The regime has become so bankrupt politically that it is now digging in old files to punish anyone who has fallen out of favour.

The Bahraini regime has been criticised by Congressman Jim McGovern who is a senior House Democrat and co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, for ill-treatment of Nabeel Rajab. In a damning statement, he said: “Today Bahrain doubled down on its unjust treatment of Nabeel Rajab, a brave human rights defender and my friend. A Bahraini court rejected an appeal by Nabeel Rajab of the two-year sentence imposed on him and has again failed to uphold the most basic standards of justice. The statement added: “Nabeel’s case is a textbook example of the misuse and manipulation of a judicial system for purely political ends. Bahrain simply cannot tolerate freedom of expression.” It concluded: “This court decision will not silence Nabeel, and it will not silence those of us in the international community who stand with him. All Bahrain has accomplished is to prove Nabeel right: the Bahraini government systematically violates its citizens’ most fundamental rights. Today’s decision proves his point.”
Bahrain Freedom Movement
29th November 2017 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

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