Bahrain Freedom Movement Statements

Marking International Women’s Day; khalifi style, Another Saudi beheaded

On the eve of International Women’s Day the khalifi court of appeals didn’t bother waiting for the conclusion of trial proceedings to jail Mrs Fadilah Abdelrasul and her family members. The court locked up the 53-year-old, her husband Radhi Ali Musa, and brother-in-law Jaafar Ali Musa until their next court hearing on March 13. They were accused of giving shelter to their son who was wanted by the torturers. “The officer described us as criminals, belittled and disrespected us with such an inappropriate description,” Yusuf said. She added: ‘For protesting F1 in 2017, I was beaten, tortured and served two years in prison’. The two Bahraini women were both imprisoned and tortured in 2017 after protesting against Formula One’s presence in the kingdom.

Members of parliament from around the world attending this year’s Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Bahrain should use the assembly to raise concerns about the serious repression of human rights in the country, 22 organizations including Human Rights Watch said on 6th March in a joint letter. The 146th IPU Assembly will take place Bahrain, from March 11 to 15, 2023. “We urge you to ensure that the IPU’s 146th Assembly will not be used by the Bahraini authorities to whitewash its dismal rights record,” the groups said in the letter.

Although the F1 car race in Bahrain has ended, its political fallouts are continuing. Human Rights Watch said: “Formula 1’s new season is starting in Bahrain – where authorities have a track record of serious human rights abuses. F1 claims it can be a force for change, but instead F1 is complicit in sportswashing. Don’t #RaceToRepression.” More than 20 organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy, asked F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali to press Manama to release political prisoners and to meet with victims of abuses directly linked to the Bahrain Grand Prix. The F1 race is itself linked to human rights abuses which have not been addressed. Despite promising to conduct human rights assessments, the F1 has not engaged with Amnesty over our human rights concerns. Bahraini victims of khalifi repression, resulting from the F1 event has continued. Four people were arrested near the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday for peacefully protesting and demanding the release of political prisoners. Former political prisoners Hajer Mansoor and Najah Yusuf were among those arrested. Yusuf said they were then “treated inhumanely” by a senior police officer.

A young Bahraini youth, Mustafa Al-Sayed Mohamed, has been arrested after being ordered to appear for questioning by police. The reasons for the arrest were not mentioned by the jailers. Another arrest was also reported. Ali Hussein Abbas was detained after being summoned by the khalifi agents. He is from the Manama suburb of Bilad Al-Qadeem. There is no news on what he was wanted for or why he was detained.

The family of Hasan Mohammad Habib Ashoor said that the regime’s officials are denying him medical care and medicine. Political prisoner Muhammad Jum’a issued a series of appeals for medical treatment as he continues to “suffer” from eye and skin problems. Jum’a also told activists that he is among several detainees still being held in isolation. Mohammad Hassan Al Raml has suffered serious setbacks in his health. He has not been taken to a specialist to deal with his hernia problem for which he needs an operation. He also suffers back problems as a result of torture. Another political detainee, Haidar Al Mulla is suffering acute pains. He was arrested when he was only 16 years. He feels numbness in the head, lost seven teeth without receiving any treatment for them. Now he vomits blood, has severe stomach ache in addition to other ailments. The khalifis have refused to treat him.

On 3rd March Mary Lawlor UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders condemned the persecution of Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja. She tweeted: “Disturbing news: Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, a HRD & dual citizen of #Denmark & #Bahrain currently jailed in Bahrain, is experiencing health problems. He should be seen by the relevant medical specialists. Can the authorities update us on the situation please?” His daughter, Maryam also tweeted: “I do not want my father released to our family in a coffin. We need Bahrain’s allies, namely the West, to move before it’s too late.” Front Line Defenders tweeted: We are profoundly concerned for the health of HRD Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja & urge the Bahraini authorities to immediately transfer him to a tertiary level cardiac care unit for urgent diagnostics and treatment.

The Saudi regime resorted to killing innocent people. Haidar Nasser Al Tehaifa from the Eastern Province has been beheaded for protesting against the regime’s dictatorship. Others are expected to follow as the number of executions this year continue to increase. At least 64 are on death row awaiting orders from MBS to be beheaded.

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Criminal Court (SSC) re-sentenced activist and PhD student Salma al-Shehab to 27 years in prison. Al-Shehab, sentenced to 34 years last year by the SCC Appeal Court, saw her case sent back for retrial following a decision by the Supreme Court.

ALQST, a Saudi human rights NGO released a report into land rights violations against the Al-Howaitat tribe in Saudi Arabia, in the course of the USD500bn NEOM megaproject development. Titled “The Dark Side of Neom” the report documents a series of detentions, court rulings, travel bans and jail sentences for tribe members resisting eviction to make way for NEOM. A key finding is a correlation between lengthening jail sentences since 2022 as the reputation of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salma improves around the world.

Bahrain Freedom Movement,

8th March 2023

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