Bahrain Freedom Movement Statements

Hunger strikes challenge khalifis, US-Saudi arms deal opposed

On 11th November Boris Johnson’s government was accused by MPs of prioritising trade agreements over national security in its handling of surveillance abuses on British soil by governments using spyware made by the Israeli company NSO Group. A letter to the British prime minister signed by 10 MPs and peers has called on the government to end its cybersecurity programmes with countries that are known to have used NSO spyware to target dissidents, journalists and lawyers, among others, and to impose sanctions on NSO, “if they are at all serious about our national security”.  several UK MPs told Boris Johnson that “the UK government should cut off Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain from a multimillion pound programme in the wake of the Pegasus spyware scandal. “Your government has failed to publicly condemn the actions of either NSO Group or the Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini governments” they said.

Yesterday jailed Bahraini human rights defender Abdulhadi al-Khawaja started a hunger strike after being informed that he has been banned from receiving calls from family, his daughter Zaynab said. “My father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, has started a hunger strike today. The prison administration informed him that he is not allowed to make any calls. Having had no visitation rights for the past two years, these calls were his only communication with us,” Zaynab al-Khawaja wrote on Twitter

Under-aged juveniles at Bloc 17 of the notorious Jaw prison also started a hunger strike yesterday to protest their inhumane prison conditions. Their demands for proper sanitation and proper treatment against the spread of rabies have been ignored by the khalifi officials. They also demand to be allowed a longer time out of their cells. Currently they only get one hour to exercise. The group of children from the town of Samaheej have had their detention extended 30 more days. They have already spent 60 days during which they were subjected to most horrific treatment and torture to force them to “confess” to crimes they had not committed. Their lawyers were not allowed to be present in these torture sessions. Yesterday political prisoner Ali AlHajee was told he was being transferred to Jau Prison despite being in the middle of a dental treatment plan and is currently unable to chew food. Ali was forced to resort to a hunger strike in 2019 to demand necessary dental treatment.

The people of Sanabis have continued their daily protests against the khalifi dictatorship’s treatment of Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace who has spent 132 days on hunger strike. The protesters also called for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. Worldwide support of Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace has intensified.  Freedom Forward said: “We are outraged by #Bahrain’s treatment of political prisoner Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace. For 127 days, he has been on a hunger strike to protest his harassment by guards & demand that his research is sent to his family. He should be at a university, not behind bars.”

On Wednesday 10th November forces from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Israel and the United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) began a multilateral maritime security operations exercise in the Red Sea. The joint exercises continued for five days. They were seen as a threat to regional security and stability and had the potential to lead to conflict, polarization and fragmentation in the region.

On 12th November Congresswoman Ilhan Omar Omar introduced a bill to block a $650m arms sale to Saudi Arabia: “The US should not sell any weapons to Saudi Arabia or other abusive governments, period,” she said

Reprieve, the anti-execution campaign body has urged people to express support for a Jordanian labourer in Saudi jails.  Hussein Abo al Kheir is a brother and a father of eight. He could be executed any day now because of a ‘confession’ he was tortured into giving. Right now, his sister and the rest of his family are struggling while he sits on Saudi Arabia’s death row. They haven’t seen him since before his arrest and live every day in fear they will see the worst possible news shared on social media.  In 2014, Hussein was arrested on drug smuggling charges. One year later, he was sentenced to death because of the ‘confession’ he was forced to give after being tortured. Hussein’s health is deteriorating in prison and our investigators fear that he could die there.

On 14th November a rights group has warned of Saudi Arabia neglecting medical treatment for prominent Shia Musim cleric Sheikh Hussein al-Radi and the gradual killing of the dissident scholar in prison. The Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) tweeted that “the detained Sheikh Hussein Al-Radi is being killed slowly as he is deprived of receiving the necessary treatment despite the many diseases he suffers from.”  He was arrested in 2016 over his calls to stop the war on Yemen,” it added.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

17th November 2021

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