The Saudi ruling family has decided to kill Sheikh Nimr Al Nimr for speaking out against their absolute rule and hereditary dictatorship. Their court today confirmed the death sentence that had been passed on him last year. In 2012 Sheikh Al Nimr had openly supported the Bahraini Revolution and opposed the Saudi occupation of Bahrain. He also criticised the antiquated regime of Al Saud. The confirmation of his death sentence is likely to ignite more local and regional protests and international condemnation.
The situation in Bahrain has been much polarised in the past few days following the official and final decision by the four main political societies to boycott Alkhalifa elections. On Sunday 12th October, Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of Al Wefaq Society, the largest political block, announced the decision not to take part in the proposed elections of the powerless “parliament” which had, in the past 12 years, proven to be a tool in the hands of the ruling family, rubber-stamping the decisions imposed by the regime on the people. The stage has now been set for serious political activities to end the tribal dictatorship that has ruled native Bahrainis with coercion and repression.
On Monday 13th October, Privacy International, held a Press Conference to announce that it was taking legal action against a British company that had it accuses of helping Alkhalifa regime to spy on its opponents. Adriana Edmeades, for Privacy International said the action was necessary following the confirmation of earlier reports that the Gamma Group, based in Andover, Hampshire, had supplied the regime with FinFisher spyware which was implanted in the computers of several Bahraini exiles. Last year Gamma denied that it had supplied the spyware to Bahrain, but in July new information became available on the internet. It confirmed that Bahrain’s security staff and the company’s technical assistants had been discussing matters relating to the operation and problems of the spyware. It provided with irrefutable evidence that Gamma had sold the spyware to Bahrain despite its initial denial. On the basis of this new information, Privacy International has decided to ta ke the matter to the police and possibly to the courts.
Meanwhile the regime has intensified its repression against native Bahrainis. Yesterday Zainab AlKhawaja was arrested again for expressing her opinion during a court session she had been asked to attend on trumpeted charges. During the session, Ms AlKhawaja (who tweets with the name AngryArabiya) tore a picture of Bahrain’s tyrant, Hamad Alkhalifa, prompting an immediate arrest and abuse. She is eight months pregnant and concern is growing for her safety and that of her unborn baby.
Freedom House has ranked Bahrain among the worst in the world in terms of press freedom. Alkhalifa regime has been ranked 188 among 197 countries, almost at the bottom of the league. Many journalists are behind bars and thousands of native Bahrainis are imprisoned for expressing their political opinion and calling for fundamental political change.
Meanwhile Nabeel Rajab will be tried, once again, for speaking out against the regime in peaceful way. Since his detention the human rights world has reacted angrily to his arrest and demanded his immediate release. He is accused of undermining the interior ministry by suggesting that it was grooming terrorism and extremism. A native Bahraini artist has also been arrest and is danger of persecution. Mahmood Suroor, 24, a famous painter, was snatched on Friday 10th October in a dawn raid on his father’s house. Nothing has been heard of him since his arrest.
English PEN, the renounced UK NGO which “works to defend and promote free expression” has issued a statement on one of Bahrain 13, the leaders of the Revolution languishing behind bars. Under the title Abdul Jalil Al Singace’s health continues to deteriorate” it said: PEN is seriously concerned for the well-being of prominent academic, activist and blogger Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace. Dr. Al-Singace, who is serving a life sentence for his peaceful opposition activities, requires urgent specialist medical treatment for ongoing health problems, some of which have resulted from his being subject to torture and ill-treatment in prison. English PEN joins PEN International in calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Al-Singace and all others arbitrarily detained in Bahrain in violation of Articles 9 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain is a state party. We also demand that Dr. Al-Singace receives full access to the necessary medical attention as a matter of urgency, and that his reports of ill-treatment whilst in Jau Prison are fully investigated.
Bahrain Freedom Movment
15th October 2014