Bahrain Freedom Movement Statements

Targeting diaspora opponents: Khalifi-Saudi extra-territorial war on liberties

In a serious human rights violation Lebanon’s interior minister on Wednesday 15th December ordered the deportation of Bahrain’s dissolved opposition al-Wefaq group after some of them criticised the khalifi leaders at a news conference in Beirut. Lebanon became enmeshed in a diplomatic problem last month after former information minister George Kordahi criticised Saudi Arabia over the Yemen war. Bahrain’ interior minister, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, called his Lebanese counterpart, Bassam Mawlawi, to tell him that events such as the Wefaq news conference, or Kordahi’s comments, “harm Lebanon and its people”, a statement from Bahrain’s interior ministry said. The episode has angered Arab liberals and human rights and political activists. Al Wefaq has received moral and political support from many quarters in the Arab countries and worldwide.

On Monday the khalifi criminal court continued to hold secret trial of several under-aged children from Samaheej town. Their mothers were banned from entering the court. The children were told to remain silent about the torture they had endured at the notorious CID building. They were threatened with more torture if they spoke. Among those who are on trial are two under-aged children. The defendants include: Hassan Mubarak, Salman Ali Salman, Yousuf Yasser and Jassim Mohammad.

On 13th December, Human Rights Watch said Bahraini authorities should use the customary pardon of prisoners on the country’s National Day, December 16, 2021, to free everyone imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of association, peaceful assembly, and expression, including rights defenders, opposition activists, and journalists, Human Rights Watch said today. The most prominent opposition leaders have been behind bars for more than a decade for their roles in the 2011 pro-democracy protests. These include Hassan Mushaima, the head of the unlicensed opposition group Al-Haq; Abdulwahab Hussain, an opposition leader; Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a prominent human rights defender; and Abdel-Jalil al-Singace, the spokesman for Al-Haq. All four are serving life terms following manifestly unfair trials. “Bahraini political activists and rights defenders who should not have spent a single day in detention have languished in prison for over a decade,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Bahraini authorities should unconditionally release all those sentenced for their political beliefs on abusive charges or after unfair trials.” But the regime has released only few political prisoners who had already served most of their sentences.

The native Bahrainis snubbed the regime’s celebration to mark the grabbing of power in 1961 by the former ruler, Isa al-khalifa. The large crowds who were strolling along the Abu Subh beach near Duraz town left the area when the regime’s forces began their shows last week. On the other hand, the people flocked to mark the Martyrs Day on Friday 17th December with protests and civil disobedience. It was yet another referendum on the khalifa dictatorial regime which has lost its purpose of existence.

The families of two Bahraini youth condemned to death by the Saudi authorities are extremely worried for their safety after their case has been adjourned. The Saudi Appeal court in the case of Jaffar Mohammad and Sadeq Thamer who has been adjourned until 9th January. Two months ago they were sentenced to death on false charges of smuggling weapons into Saudi Arabia. They have been in detention since May 2015 when they were detained at the Bahrain-Saudi causeway and were subjected to severe torture.

The puzzle of one of the Saudi political prisoners has now been solved. After two years of forced disappearance it has now been confirmed that Bandar Al Jahdali had been detained following a tweet in which he criticized the high rate of unemployment and called for a proper policy to employ them. He disappeared in November 2019 and was taken to an unknown place. Calls have been made to free Mr Al Jahdali immediately and unconditionally.

A powerful spyware was placed on the phone of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s wife, Hanan Elatr, months before Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents in October 2018, according to new reporting by The Washington Post. The revelation is part of an ongoing investigation coordinated by the journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and involving a consortium of news organizations, including FRONTLINE, into a spyware, called Pegasus, that has been sold to governments by the Israeli company NSO Group and used to monitor journalists, politicians and human rights activists. The company said it had no evidence its spyware was used to target Elatr. But a forensic analysis of her phone by Bill Marczak, from the cybersecurity research group Citizen Lab, found evidence that Pegasus had been manually put on Elatr’s phone while she was being held by UAE authorities in April 2018.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

22nd December 2021

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