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Saudis condemn two activists to death, Rajab re-joins struggle to free Bahrain
The human rights world has been shocked by the Saudi decision to execute two prisoners for protesting against the regime and calling for political reforms. Yesterday a court in Jedda passed the sentence of death on Ali Mohamad Baqir Al Nimr, 18, for protesting against the regime and for allegedly pointing a gun at a policeman. On Monday, Redha Al Rebh, 26, from Qatif, had also been sentenced to execution by the same court. A wave of anger in the Eastern Province has led to protests and demonstrations against these oppressive verdicts.
The release of Nabeel Rajab on Saturday 24th May has focused the world’s attention on the Bahraini prisoners of conscience languishing behind bars, most of whom have been jailed for expressing their opinion. It has also served to highlight the lawless judicial system and its role as a tool of repression and subjugation in the hands of the ruling Alkhalifa family. Mr Rajab’s first step after his liberation was to visit the family of Martyr Sayed Mahmood Sayed Mohsin who had been killed on 23rd May by members of Death Squads. They used shotguns to spray his body with pellets in three places including near his heart. Nabeel Rajab has called for the immediate and unconditional release of the political prisoners and all other Bahrainis. Among his main observations after his ordeal of psychological and mental torture was that the situation in Bahrain has deteriorated sharply in terms of human rights and the absence of the rule of law.
Despite Mr Rajab’s remarks, the regime has continued its ferocious attacks on Bahrainis. Yesterday, Ali Saeed Khalaf was sentenced to 60 days detention under the notorious terrorism laws. He had been snatched last week as he arrived at Bahrain Airport. Ahmad Al Asmakh, has been given prison sentences that have now surpassed 80 years. The latest charge is in relation to the protests that had taken place in 2011 at the Financial Harbour in the capital, the heart of prime minister’s financial empire. Another Bahraini victim has accumulated more than 100 years of jail sentences. Redha Al Ghasra has been repeatedly given harsh prison sentences for opposing the hereditary dictatorship. Together, the total has now surpassed 100 years. It is widely known in the legal systems that one sentence of life imprisonment encompasses all other sentences. Another victim of this vicious judiciary is Hussain Obaid whose prison sentence matched his own age of 15 years.
Meanwhile the mass arrests affecting the natives have continued. From Northern Sehla two brothers, Sayed Hashim and Sayed Younis Sayed Talib Al Abbar were arrested at dawn yesterday. A young cleric, Sayed Sadiq Al Shakhouri has been languishing in jail for more than 18 months and has been forgotten by the human rights world.
As the repression inside the torture dungeons intensifies the prisoners have resorted to protests and hunger strikes. On Sunday 25th May Hussain Al Banna started hunger strike after the prison authorities banned any clothing or sanitary materials from entering his cell. He has been held in solitary confinement for the past 30 days, shackled in hands and feet. His family and that of Redha Al Ghasra have confirmed that their sons have become skeletons due to ill-treatment and lack of nourishing food. Another detainee at Jaw Prison, Ibrahim Al Demstani, who is part of the medical team which had been persecuted for treating the injured, has started hunger strike. His health is deteriorating and has not been able to meet his family during their scheduled visit last week.
On 23rd May Amnesty International issued a statement calling on the Bahraini authorities to launch a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the death of Sayed Mahmood Sayed Mohsin who was sprayed with shogun pellets. The organization has urged the Bahraini authorities to ensure the investigation is transparent, that its results are made public and that anyone found responsible is brought to justice. After it presented a legal argument in support of its demands Amnesty concluded its statement saying: Amnesty International urges the authorities to launch prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into all cases of torture and other ill-treatment, deaths during protests and deaths in custody, make the results public and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials.
Bahrain Freedom Movement
28th May 2014