Bahrain Freedom Movement Statements

Persecution of Bahrainis escalate, Calls to release Saudi woman activist

As the political strife in Bahrain continues, the regime persists in its repressive policies at all fronts. On Monday 1stApril a native citizen was arrested for taking part in a peaceful protest. Hassan Khalid, from Ras Rumman was detained when the regime’s forces attacked a protest calling for the release of political prisoners. The khalifi Appeal Court has confirmed a two-year prison sentence imposed by the dictators on native citizen Salman Naji. He is accused of participating in a peaceful protest to support Gaza people in the town of Dair.

Meanwhile the family of two political prisoners is demanding to know their fate. Zuahir Mahdi and his brother Habib have not contacted the family for more than a week. Zuhair has been behind bars since 2012, serving 15 years jail sentence and suffers from several ailments. Habib has been in jail since 2018 and is serving a draconian 24 years prison sentence. He is suffering from serious medical neglect.

Political prisoner Sayed Shubbar Alawi said that the detainees are fighting the battle of rights and directing the compass of the community to the central issue of Palestine. Another prisoner, Hassan Hamid Mushaima said that the martyrdom of Hussain Al Ramram is a clear testimony to the suffering of the detainees, their alienation and seclusion. This is the price of freedom

Authorities in Bahrain’s Jau Prison have once again cut off water to building 7 where detainees are refusing to end their sit-in sparked by the death of fellow inmate Hussein Khalil. According to rights activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the repeated cuts of water and electricity in recent days are being carried out on orders from the prison warden Hisham Ibrahim.

The strike by political prisoners at the notorious Jau prison has continued as the khalifis refused to consider their just demands. These include ending the policy of isolation enforced on many prisoners who have been moved to virtual solitary confinement, longer daily breaks from the cells and proper medical care. The regime sent some of its powerless henchmen from its GANGOs to negotiate with the prisoners, but they refused on the basis that these “negotiators” have no power to implement any agreement. Some of the political prisoners are staging their own sit-in inside the facility, demanding the release of inmates suffering from chronic illnesses. The protest was sparked by the death of 32-year-old political prisoner Hussein Khalil last week. Several families of the prisoners showed up at the country’s Jau Prison to demand the release of their loved ones. Security forces were deployed to the scene. At least 10 families are staging a sit-in in front of the prison.

Following the martyrdom last week of native citizen Hussain Khalil Ibrahim Al Ramram, people turned out in their thousands to attend his funeral. They chanted anti-regime slogans and called for the dictator’s downfall. Bahrain’s highest religious authority Sheikh Isa Qassim described the late Hussein Khalil as “a true testament of the severe injustice of the country’s existing politics, the hostility towards its people, religion, and human rights.” “Our prisoners are in a state of constant torture, and the only cure is for them to be freed. The responsibility lies with the people, the opposition, and everyone who is truly religious and has a conscience,” Sheikh Qassim said in a post on the social media platform X.

Bahrain’s opposition Al-Wefaq group documented at least 31 arbitrary arrests during the first two months of 2024. Among those detained were 12 minors. According to a new Al-Wefaq report, the arrests are part of a broader pattern of human rights violations in the country. The opposition group recorded more than 90 such violations in January and February. These include a series of unfair trials that resulted in prison sentences handed down to youths who took part in peaceful protests against Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza. The group also documented nine cases involving denial of medical treatment and other forms of torture in Bahraini prisons during the two-month period.

Ahead of a court hearing yesterday, Saudi activist Abdulrahman al-Khalidi was beaten up by Bulgarian police in detention. Civil society activists protested outside the court in solidarity, calling on the Bulgarian authorities to grant him asylum. The Saudi regime has exerted enormous pressures and promised financial rewards to Bulgaria if it handed over the political refuges.

Around 350 lecturers and students at the University of Leeds have signed a letter to the University management urging it to demand the release of PhD student woman, Salma AlShehab. Salma is serving an arbitrary 27 years prison sentence at Saudi jails for her human rights work. She is a Saudi citizen from the Eastern Province.

The Saudi Criminal Court in Dammam has issued preliminary rulings against 12 supporters of AlSafa football Club. This week they were given one and two years prison sentences. Ten of them were given six months. The charges relate solely to peaceful chants, and human rights activists said they should be immediately dropped.

On 26th March some countries at the UN meeting in Geneva called on a range of countries, including Saudi Arabia, to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. Saudi Arabia remains one of the world’s top executioners, and continues to use the death penalty to stifle peaceful dissent.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

3rd April 2024

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