New calls have been made to release Sheikh Ali Salman, the head of Al Wefaq Society, as he completed seven years behind bars. He had been detained on 28th December 2014 for his insistence on political and human rights reforms. He was subsequently accused of links with the State of Qatar with whom he had negotiated in 2011 a possible solution of the Bahrain crisis with the knowledge of the khalifi officials. Instead of a peaceful solution, the regime and its Saudi and Emirati backers opted for the use of force against native Bahrainis. On the eve of 14th March 2011, hours after the last meeting between Sheikh Ali Salman and a Qatari emissary in Manama, the invading troops crossed the Bahrain-Saudi causeway, occupying the country and crushing the protests. In the past few days there have been many protests, pictures on the walls, tweets and articles about Sheikh Ali Salman. Protests were held in Sanabis, Bilad Al Qadeem, Demstan, Abu Saiba and Sitra calling for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and the other political prisoners. The case of Dr Abdul Jalil Al Singace who is in his sixth month on hunger strike, has also been marked by the protesters. International statements, calls and parliamentary debates continue to call for his immediate and unconditional release.
Yesterday five under-aged youth were detained after they had been summoned by the khalifi-run prosecution office. They are: Mohammad Jaffar Al Kuwaiti, 15, his two brothers, Muqtada, 15 and Muntadar, 14, Ahmad Fadel Ahmad Hubail, 15 and Mohammad Abdul Zahra Mansoor, 15. No reason was given for their unlawful arbitrary arrest. Political detainee Ali Aqeel Khadhem, 19, has been suffering excruciating pain for some time. He is also experiencing weakening sight in his right eyed for four months. Prison authorities have refused him specialist treatment. In September Ali had informed the prison authorities of his eye problem but his pleas were ignored. Ali was convicted as a child in a mass trial with 138 others where he was tried as an adult, in clear violation of his human rights. He is serving 7 years jail sentence for uncorroborated charges. The UN Chief, Michelle Bachelet had condemned Ali’s trial due to “serious concerns […] court proceedings failed to comply with international free trial standards”.
The life of political prisoner, Hassan Abdulla Habib is in danger. Last week the prison officials called his family and asked them to visit him at the Salmaniya Hospital. His health had deteriorated following their visit to him in jail last week when he appeared to be in bad shape. He has been calling for proper medical care for some time but has been denied it
Before taking up his job as the new US Ambassador to Bahrain is under pressure to take pro-active stands in support of democracy and human rights. Steven Bondy, who has been confirmed to be ambassador to Bahrain, was accused of using insulting and prejudicial or racist language about Arabs when he was a top official in the U.S. Embassy in the UAE. One said he used it “all the time.” Miguel Correa, who was replaced with Bondy as defense attache in the UAE, accused him of making belittling comments about Arabs during his tenure as chargé d’affaires in the UAE from September 2017 to October 2019. “I would hear him say disparaging remarks about Arabs all the time.” In a statement, Bondy defended himself. “I vehemently and categorically deny these accusations… I have a deep and abiding respect for the peoples and cultures of the Middle East and harbor none of the prejudices attributed to me.” A notable NGO, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) has urged Mr Bondy to ask the khalifi regime to: Immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, enter into meaningful dialogue with the people to find ways of transforming the country into a democracy and ending the culture of impunity.
As the sixth anniversary of the martyrdom of Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr approaches, many groups are preparing to mark the event with protests, statements and seminars. On 2nd January 2016 the Saudi regime committed the heinous crime of beheading the outspoken cleric who had called for political and human rights reforms in his country. Despite pleas from governments, scholars and human rights groups not to carry out the sentence ordered by the senior figures of the House of Saud, the crime was committed in cold blood. The groups planning to mark the anniversary have agreed on the slogan “Champion of the truth” to describe Martyr Al Nimr.
Yesterday the trial of Dr Hassan Farhan Al Maliki was again adjourned until Tuesday 1st February 2022. He has been in jail since September 2017 for expressing his views and methodology with regards to the Islamic history. His views are rejected by the Salafi-Wahhabi school of thought. The prosecution has called for his execution and his trial has been repeatedly adjourned. In August, one of his sons, Farhan died suddenly in suspicious circumstances. No investigation has been carried out to unearth the truth behind his sudden death at young age.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
29th December 2021