Bahrain Freedom Movement Statements

Biden’s visit was betrayal of Bahraini and Saudi torture victims

In Bahrain the khalifi regime’s intelligence officers have summoned for interrogation and possible torture, people who had celebrated a religious function marked by the native majority of the country. More than 40 cars have been impounded by regime’s forces after their drivers chanted religious lyrics that the dictator does not identify with. The systematic persecution of the native majority Shia Muslims of Bahrain has continued unabated. In recent days several clampdowns were carried out by the regime forces against them in their native land. First came the physical attack on the religious symbols associated with Ashoora to mark the martyrdom of Imam Hussain ibn Ali. Then the regime used force to ban a song that has become popular in recent days due to its religious and cultural roots that the kahlifis consider offensive.

The mother of political prisoner, Murtada Mohammad Abdul Reda said that her son has not moved his legs since he had an operation few weeks ago. He was infected with TB (Tuberculosis). The khalifi torture centres are now infested with various diseases; TB, rabies (skin disease), Covid-19, cancer, epilepsy and various forms of back deformation. Ali Hussein Al-Tarifi and Ahmed Al-Sami’, two prisoners jailed on political grounds, have begun hunger strike demanding a retrial after the first one had been described by human rights bodies as unfair.

As tension inside Jau prison intensifies, more than 20 political prisoners decided to protest by refusing to return to their cells. They are protesting against the ill-treatment and the new guidelines for medical care. The khalifi forces attacked them using chemical substances, leading to some of them being transferred to hospital. As a consequence and in an attempt to hide the wounds inflicted on some of them, families of the detainees at Blocs 10 and 12 of Jau prison have had their scheduled visits cancelled without giving a reason.

Reprieve has once again raised the case of the two Bahraini prisoners on death row. It said; Two years ago, Bahrain’s highest court upheld the death sentence imposed on two pro-democracy protesters Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa. The sentences were based on torture-tainted “confessions”. To this day, they remain on death row while Bahrain’s criminal justice system is sustained by UK-taxpayer support. Reprieve has repeated its call for an immediate release of the two political prisoners.

On 14th July Bahraini and international NGOs signed a letter to President Biden as he prepared to meet GCC rulers in Riyadh. It was titled:  Make any meeting with King Hamad contingent on tangible human rights reforms. They urged the president to meet with independent civil society organisations and listed few demands: the unconditional and immediate release of political prisoners, the return of Dr Abdul Jalil AlSingace’s manuscript and granting him adequate medical care, annulling the death sentence on two political prisoners and halting capital punishment. The letter was signed by: Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), PEN America and Reprieve.

The most senior Bahraini religious leader has issued a categoric call for boycotting the regime’s ploy through pseudo-elections. These are scheduled to take place in November and have been used in the past as a source of legitimacy of the illegitimate khalifi regime. Exiled Sheikh Isa Qassim said: Carrying out the elections in accordance with the regime’s oppressive and reactionary plan to achieve its dictatorial aims that affirm the dictatorial nature against the people’s interest can only lead to a new catastrophe to the country. It will intensify the people’s sufferings, enforce the dictatorial regime and extend the predicaments of the people.

The security agents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have detained US citizen, Asim Ghafoor at the Dubai International Airport. The lawyer was convicted in absentia by a local court for his role as a member of Democracy for Arab World Now (DAWN). Mr Biden was urged to cancel his meeting with Mohammad bin Zayed (MBZ) in Riyadh but he refused. Asim Ghafoor acted as as A lawyer for Jamal Khashoggi and DAWN Board Member

Dr Abdulla Al Awdah, whose father has been in Saudi detention for five years has reacted angrily to President Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia. He said: Today the US president stood just miles away from where my father was tortured. Instead of speaking up for my dad and other loved ones who suffer under MBS, Biden fist-bumped their oppressor and blew a major chance to advocate for freedom and democracy.

Last week the health of Saudi political prisoner, Nasser Al Omar deteriorated further. He is suffering several ailments including hearing loss. He has been transferred from his solitary confinement to an open jail. Malik al-Duwaish, son of Suleiman al-Duwaish, has told the story of his father’s arrest and enforced disappearance. Malik was arrested at the beginning of this month, and his whereabouts are not yet known. The health of detained cleric Mohammad al-Habib has been deteriorating due to lack of adequate health care he needs for nerve pains resulting from torture. The Saudi human rights body, ALQST has called on the Saudi authorities to fulfil their responsibilities regarding his health needs and release him.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

20th July 2022

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