Saudi CP accused of corruption, calls made to release Bahraini prisoners

On Monday 18th December The relief organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) published a media appeal in The Times newspaper titled: Yemen Crisis: Help us provide urgent medical aid”. Claire Manera, MSF project coordinator who recently returned from Yemen said: When I flew into Sana’a I was shocked by how many buildings were destroyed. It’s heartbreaking to see a country that’s already so poor being blasted to smithereens. A lot of schools, health facilities and government buildings have been destroyed. Families have nowhere to go, especially the poorest. At night I could hear the planes circling. It was awful knowing they were out there, targeting different areas and dropping bombs.”

At the home front the Saudi regime has intensified its repression especially while the people are showing signs of fatigue and desperation as the numbers of their dead soldiers fighting against Yemenis increase and the cost of living shoots up. Yesterday, young native of the Eastern Province was shot dead. Salman Al Faraj has been hiding since his participation in the 2011 protests demanding political change.

Last week international media shed light on the corruption of Saudi crown prince (CP) who had locked up senior Saudi figures and businessmen on charges of corruption. Both The New Your Times and The Times reported that Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was the mystery buyer of a luxury French house. A paper trail from a 2015 purchase leads back to him through several shell companies. It cost €275m ($320m, £240m) and Fortune magazine called it the world’s most expensive house. In 2015, Prince Mohammed bought himself a yacht from a Russian businessman for $590m. The media has also reported that he was the true buyer of the Leonardo da Vinci painting Salvator Mundi, which was sold earlier this year for a record $450m (£341m).

In Bahrain Alkhalifa repressive junta has intensified their crackdown on natives as the Martyrs Day was underway last week. There were massive protests in the country despite the intensive suppression by regime’s forces. In the week 11-17th December at least 44 people were detained and abused. Dawn raids were carried out on several towns and villages including Sitra, Nuwaidrat, Tubli, Aali, Duraz, Bani Jamra and Abu Saiba. From Duraz two brothers, Ali and Mujtaba Khalil and Hassan Abdul Hussain Al Asfoor were seized by ISIS-style masked members of the regime’s Death Squads. From Bani Jamra Jawad Redha Al Turaifi was snatched from his home. So was Ahmad Redha Al Ghasra, brother of Redha AlGhasra who was executed at sea earlier this year by regime’s forces. Regime’s dysfunctional judiciary has refused to release Bahraini native, Ahmad Isa, whose two years jail sentence had finished 35 days ago.

In another setback for several international human rights bodies, Bahrain’s dictator insisted on pursuing his personal revenge from his opponents. Today his “appeal court” re-instated the three year prison sentences it had been ordered to impose on the family of Sayed Ahmed Al Wadaei. His mother-in-law, Hajer Mansoor, 49, Sayed Nazar AlWadaei, 19 and Mahmood Marzooq, 30 had been sentenced to three years. There had been a campaign by those NGOs to end this revenge, but the regime, emboldened by support from Riyadh, Washington and London, did not feel the need to heed these calls.

Two women activists have been detained for supporting the national demands for democratic transformation. Fawzia MashaAllah has been remanded in custody for a week after being summoned by the torture regime. Zainab Salman was stopped at the causeway last week and told that she must spend 28 days to complete an earlier sentence. Her case became an embarrassment to Alkhalifa supporters because she had already served the full sentence. She was subsequently released with more threats and abuses.

On 18th December Brian Dooley, Senior Advisor with Human Rights First, published an article in the Huffington Post titled: Bahrain’s Authorities Continue to Target Abdulhadi Al Khawaja. He said: “In one of Bahrain’s most notorious 2011 sham trials, prominent human rights defender Abdulhadi Al Khawaja was convicted and jailed with other leading peaceful dissidents. Now he’s being targeted again, inside prison. The writer described AlKhawaja’s ordeals over the past six years and said: You’d think the Bahraini authorities had done enough to Al Khawaja six years ago. But he’s being punished again after writing a letter to the ministry of the interior about conditions in prison. He said: It’s hard to know what the authorities think they’re achieving with this sort of punishment. Washington should tell its military allies in Bahrain that these actions against leading dissidents are vindictive and myopic, and only fuel resentment inside and outside the prison. If Bahrain wants to make progress on finding a solution to its political crisis this is exactly the wrong thing to do. Introducing better prison conditions would be good, releasing the dissidents much better.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
20th December 2017 (info@vob.org, www.info.org)

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