Bahrain Freedom Movement Statements

FIFA urged to raise HR concerns with Saudis, Bahrainis share Iran’s grief

Bahrainis have expressed solidarity with the people of Iran as they mourned the death of several senior leaders in a helicopter crash on Monday. The president, Sayed Ebrahim Raissi, Foreign Minister, Amir Hussain Abdullahian and five others lost their lives in the crash on their way back from an official engagement on the Iranian-Azerbaijani borders. The cause of the crash is not known but the weather in the mountainous region was bad. Memorial congregations were held and messages of condolences were sent to the Iranian leaders.

Several Bahraini political organisations have signed a letter of condolences including Al Wefaq, Bahrain Freedom Movement, Al Wafaa, Islamic Action Society, Haq Movement and 14th February Coalition.

On Thursday 16th May regime forces detained Bahraini youth Murtada Rassel Al Samahiji (from AlMalikiya town). He was passing by Amir Zaid Mosque where police vehicles were waiting for him. After searching his car he was taken to an unknown destination.

Bahrainis have continued their protests against the Zionist massacres in Gaza and renewed their calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the Bahraini political prisoners. The plight of Gaza has been a source of sorrow and anger among the people who insist on expressing their views and position openly despite the regime’s harsh treatment of anyone who opposed the khalifi policy of normalisation. On Friday worshippers in Duraz demonstrated in large numbers against the regime’s normalisation with Israel. Worshippers in Ma’amir town also participated in a protest calling for the release of the Bahraini political prisoners.

On 20th May, political prisoner, Hussain Khalaf was denied the opportunity to say farewell to his father who had passed away. Despite appeals from the distraught family to allow Hussain to take part in the funeral of his father, the khalifi dictators refused to let him out to attend the funeral. The family of Jaffar Ibrhaim (from Ma’amir town) held a protest outside Sitra police station demanding his immediate and unconditional release. On 18th May the family of political prisoner, Ahmed Al Qubaiti expressed deep worries about him. He has not called them since Eid Al Fitr (10th April). The prison officials have refused to allow the family to visit him. He is suffering various ailments including severe stomach pain and knee malfunction. He needs urgent medical care but has not received it.

Some of the recently-released political prisoners are taking action in their pursuit for work. Their lengthy imprisonment has denied them the opportunity to continue their employment or seek one. They were expecting a rehabilitation programme after their release but have found nothing. Many of them are now dependent on their poor families which had been relying on them before they had been jailed. The protest for work is likely to intensify and could lead to the renewal of tension and imprisonment.

FIFA has been urged by international lawyers to uphold its own policy and scrutinize Saudi Arabia’s human rights record before picking the kingdom to host the men’s 2034 World Cup. A 22-page document was delivered today to FIFA headquarters in Zurich on behalf of Mark Pieth and Stefan Wehrenberg of Switzerland and British barrister Rodney Dixon. They offered to work with FIFA on an action plan and monitoring of Saudi Arabia by independent experts. Their paper calls on FIFA to use its leverage now with Saudi Arabia to comply with international human rights standards that the world soccer body’s own policy since 2017 has required of tournament hosts. “It is obvious that Saudi Arabia falls very far short of those requirements,” the document states. “Given this, as matters currently stand, FIFA simply cannot properly permit it to host the 2034 World Cup.” They cite Saudi Arabia’s record on freedom of expression and assembly, treatment of prisoners and migrant workers, and male guardianship laws that limit personal freedoms for women. The Saudi bid must be submitted by July and will be confirmed on 11thDecember in an online vote by FIFA’s 211 member federations.

A Kenyan mother, who has led a long and desperate campaign to save her son from execution in Saudi Arabia, was relieved when he was granted a temporary reprieve this week. Stephen Munyakho, 50, was due to be executed on Wednesday for the murder of a Yemeni man in 2011. It could have been carried out today by decapitation – beheading is the most common method in the kingdom – or by hanging, lethal injection or firing squad. But his stay of execution is only temporary – and Dorothy Kweyu, 73, has told the BBC she has not yet been given any further details about her son’s case by Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A petition calling on the Saudi authorities to repeal death sentences on under-aged citizens has been signed by 5000 people until now. They were also called upon to implement the recommendations issued following the debate on Saudi Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

Bahrain Freedom Movement

22nd  May 2024

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