As the Bahraini people continue their revolt against staging the Formula 1 race under the patronage of the Alkhalifa, the regime has intensified its crackdown against the pro-democracy activists, detaining and torturing them in revenge. At least fifteen people were arrested on Wednesday, taken to the torture dungeons and abused. More were snatched from Duraz, Sitra and other towns as pre-emptive desperate steps to stop people exposing Alkhalifa crimes to the world during the race. The walls in several towns and villages were decorated with paintings and cartoons highlighting the people’s predicaments as the regime’s mouthpieces went into full swing to present deceptive image of a country ravaged by Revolution. “Don’t race on our blood” is the main message to the teams and drivers of the F1, with cartoons depicting Bahrain’s dictator using people’s blood as fuel to the cars.
One of the victims of the decision to hold F1 race in Bahrain is Abdul Ghani Hassan Al Rayes, 66 from Duraz Town. He was martyred on Monday night 31st March as he waited for his son to be released from the torturers hands. The son had been arrested earlier in the day together with other young boys for chanting anti-regime slogans. They were taken to Budayya’s police station where they were interrogated, tortured and abused as their families waited outside. The martyr was in agony as he heard the cries of his son being tortured. He was suffering in silence. As the cries of the victims intensified, he started feeling pain in his chest. When his other son requested his father be seated or offered water the torturers refused. He was rushed to hospital by his son but died on the way. The way he lost his wife has touched Bahrainis who are dying in silence as their anger boils inside them at the way their country is being raped by the Alkhalifa dictators and Saudi occupiers. H is funeral was savagely attacked by members of the Death Squads operated by the dictator’s royal court.
Meanwhile, the Saudi regime has put one of its most famous victims on trial. Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr is accused of “spreading corruption on earth” for calling for democratic rights and an end to the Al Saudi hereditary dictatorship. On 8th July 2012 he was arrested after being seriously wounded by the regime’s forces. He was taken to hospital under military guard where he was surrounded by soldiers. He was then transferred to jail where he was abused and ill-treated. He is accused of opposing the regime and plotting to overthrow the tyrannical AlSaud dynasty. This serious development comes at a time of heightened tension in the land of Arabia as a result of regime’s intensification of repression and dictatorship. The Prosecution has called for beheading Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr, who is from the down-trodden Eastern Province and who had wholeheartedly supported the Bahraini Revolution. Scholars in several countries have issued statements warning the Saudis of di re consequences if the respected spiritual leader is executed by a regime that has always lacked popular legitimacy. The Saudis must release Sheikh Al Nimr lest they inflame the situation further. The country is facing increasing tension as the people, both Shia and Sunni, continue their calls for release of their prisoners.
Meanwhile, in a pre-emptive move, the Saudi authorities have placed a prominent religious figure under house arrest. Sheikh Hassan Al Saffar from Qatif, has been targeted for signing a petition against recent arrest and accusation of 15 Saudi nationals on purported charges of spying for Iran and Hezbullah, a mantra repeatedly used to justify attacks on Shia Muslim natives of the Eastern Province. Sheikh Al Saffar has been viewed by the regime as “moderate” after his return from exile in 1993 and taking a less confrontational attitude towards the regime. Tens of religious scholars and prominent figures signed the petition last month.
On 3rd April Amnesty International issued Urgent Action appeal calling for the release of Zainab Al Khawaja and other human rights defenders. Ms Al Khwaja and her father have been denied family visits because they refused to wear clothes used for prisoners accused of criminal offences. The statement called for her immediate release and an end to the arrest and harassment of human rights defenders. Amnesty International said: “Two years after the uprising in Bahrain, and beneath the fanfare of subsequent reform, prisoners of conscience, including some arrested during the protests, remain behind bars and the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly continue to be suppressed. In recent months, not only have prisoners of conscience not been released, but more people have been jailed simply for daring to express their views, whether via Twitter or on peaceful marches. Bahraini courts have appeared more concerned with toeing the government’s line than offering effective remedy to Bahrainis and upholding the rule of law.”
Bahrain Freedom Movement
5th April 2013