Bahrain Freedom Movement Statements

NGOs to Bahrain: Release prisoners, AI to Saudis: Free Yemeni detainee

In a letter on 30th May, 31 human rights groups urged the Bahraini regime to release all remaining political prisoners and human rights defenders. The signatories welcomed the recent releases but much more is needed, they said. The joint letter on human rights situation was sent to member and observer stated of the UN Human Rights Council. It said: Ahead of and during the upcoming 56th Session of the Human Rights Council, we urge you and your delegation to raise concerns over the human rights situation in Bahrain, particularly regarding the continued arbitrary detention of human rights defenders and opposition leaders in Bahrain, many of whom have been wrongfully imprisoned since 2011. It further added:  Thirteen years since Bahrain’s popular uprising, systemic injustice has intensified and political repression targeting dissidents, human rights defenders, clerics and independent civil society has effectively shut any space for the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression or peaceful activism in the country.

The regime of Bahrain has imposed a new rule requiring religious visitors to Iraq and Iran to acquire a “security permit” before embarking on their journey. The new draconian rule was issued a few days after Bahrain’s official carrier, Gulf Air resumed its flights from Bahrain to the holy city of Najaf. At first, the step was viewed favourably, only to be followed by the regime’s new rule aimed at inducing fear in the hearts of the would-be visitors and hindering their religious rights. This is seen as further attempts to curtail the religious freedom of the native Bahrainis.

A senior religious scholar, Sheikh Fadel Al Zaaki was summoned by the regime’s security services for mildly criticising the new rules requiring visitors to the holy shrines in Iraq and Iran to acquire a “security permit” before embarking on their journey. This morning the house of another scholar, Sheikh Ali Hbail, from Sitra was raided and searched. Both have opposed the “security permit” condition.

The protests by the political prisoners at the notorious Jau Prison has continued for the third month. In a statement on 2nd June, the organising committee of the protest accused the prison officers: Hisham Al Zayani, Ahmad Al Emadi and Yousuf AlQawati of violating the prison rules and the rights of the detainees. The political prisoners have been denied family visits or purchases from the prison shop. The prisoners demand their own release arguing that their trials were unfair.

Political prisoner, Mohammed Abdul Hussain Al Shehabi has completed his prison term but is still kept behind bars. He was arrested on 30th May 2017 and sentenced to seven years. Despite being a civilian prisoner, he was jailed at Al Qurain military prison. It is now almost a week since he completed his jail term.

Political prisoner, Abdulla Habib Swar said that the political inmates are not allowed to go out for physical exercise. A football fan has been detained for chanting what appears to be a religious song. Ali Hassan Mansoor, from Al Malkiya exercised his right to sing but was immediately snatched by khalifi forces.

Isolation is the name of the new means of torture now widely used by Bahrain’s prison officers. The prisoner simply vanishes into a secluded cell as a punishment. This is extreme form of sadism, as the prisoner is left to rot lonely without access to any form of human contact. Last week eight young native Bahraini political prisoners were moved to isolation after some of them visited a clinic, the others sat for exams. They are: Mohammed Al Raml, Sayed Faisal Al Alawi (of Bloc8), Hassan Ali Reda AlSheikh, Sayed Sadeq Sayed Ni’ma, Ali Dawood Ahmed and Faisal Ibrahim (Bloc 9), Muntadar Fawzi and Ahmed Isa Al Hamali (Bloc 10)

On 29th May Amnesty International said Saudi authorities must release arbitrarily detained Yemeni-Dutch national. Fahd Ramadhan, was arbitrarily detained without charge or access to legal representation for over six months, it said. On 20 November 2023, two days after arriving in Saudi Arabia, Ramadhan received a call from the Criminal Investigation Department in Jeddah, asking him to report to the police, without further explanation. Upon arrival at the police station that day, security forces arbitrarily detained him without giving him a reason or allowing him to contact a lawyer. He was allowed to make a brief call to his wife but was not allowed to inform her where he was being detained.

The wife of Saudi activist Mohammed al-Qahtani recently received a concerning phone call, during which she heard her husband’s voice but was unable to speak to him before the call was abruptly cut off. She said: Last Thursday on May 30, at 6:30 am, we received a call and we heard overlapping voices, my husband’s voice said, “you better leave it”. Then he said, “Hello, hello,” and the call was cut off without talking to him. Al-Qahtani’s been forcibly disappeared since October 2022, after completing a 10-year prison term.

Three years ago, the Saudi authorities arrested medical doctor Lina al-Sharif for her peaceful social media activism. Al-Sharif faces charges under the draconian Counter-Terrorism Law, which has been used to criminalise freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

Bahrain Freedom Movement

5th June 2024

Back to top button