Envoyer à un ami

USCIRF: Saudi is as repressive as ever; Alkhalifa not faring better

Alwihda Info | Par Bahrain Freedom Movement - 14 Mai 2016 modifié le 14 Mai 2016 - 15:05

Last week the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its annual report detailing the state of religious freedom in the world.� It said that �Saudi Arabia remains uniquely repressive in the extent to which it restricts the public expression of any religion other than Islam, and a number of high profile cases during the past year demonstrated the government�s continued disregard for freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief. The government continues to prosecute, imprison, and flog individuals for dissent, apostasy, blasphemy, and sorcery, and a 2014 law classifying blasphemy and advocating atheism as terrorism has been used to prosecute human rights defenders and others. In addition, authorities continue to repress and discriminate against dissident clerics and members of the Shi�a community who criticize the government and call for equal rights. Based on the Saudi government�s systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, USCIRF again recommends in 2016 that Saudi Arabia be designated a �country of particular concern,� or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). The State Department has designated Saudi Arabia a CPC repeatedly since 2004.

The chapter on Bahrain details the ongoing abuses by the government against a large portion of the kingdom�s population. Currently, the majority Shia population in Bahrain continues to experience increased interrogations, detentions, and arbitrary arrests by the government. In an effort to criminalize dissent, the government targets Shi�a Muslims, including clerics, �for peaceful protests and criticizing the government�s human rights and religious freedom record.�. It added that Bahrain had failed to meet some its own self-imposed deadlines on the implementation of the recommendations from the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI). Additionally, the Shia population continued to face cultural, economic, educational, and social discrimination in 2015. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia has been given the rank of 165 by Reporters Without Borders in its �2016 World Press Freedom Index�. This reflects the nature of what is commonly called �Kingdom of Silence� which condemns its opponents to executions and beheadings if they speak out against the most reactionary regime in the world.

A scandalous behaviour has exposed the reality of the Alkhalifa ruling tribe. Cherif Bassiouni visited Bahrain this week to assess how much of his commission�s 26 recommendations have been implemented. He had headed the Bahrain Independent Committee of Investigation (BICI) in 2011 charged with investigating regime�s crimes in March and April 2011. For the past five years; torture, sectarianism, repression have continued unabated. Last week the US Commission on International Religious Freedom said in its 2016 Annual Report said that: �Bahrain had failed to meet some its own self-imposed deadlines on the implementation of the recommendations from the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).� Yet the regime claimed that Dr Bassiouni �Praised� it for implementing the recommendations. This caused an outcry among the people who have witnessed sharp deterioration in Alkhalifa treatment of the native majority. When pressed about what he said he replied: �The English is wrong,� he wrote in an email sent in the early hours of Tuesday, adding: �I have asked them to correct it.� Bassiouni was given the same medal that had been bestowed by the dictator on Ian Henderson in 2001.

Meanwhile the regime has escalated its attacks on natives. On 9th May Moosa Jaffar, from Dair Town was arrested in a vicious raid on his house. Last week at least seven people were arrested from the Town of AlGhuraifa: Jassim Ahmad Abdulla, his brother, Abdulla, Sayed Mohammad Sayed Saleh Sayed Khalil, Sayed Mohammad Sayed Habib, Sayed Ahmad Sayed Hadi Alawi and his two brothers, Sayed Baqir and Sayed Hassan. Yesterday regime�s courts issued terms sentences of ten years on six natives. A child was given three years for protesting against the regime. On 5th May regime�s courts sentenced three natives to life in jail for opposing the hereditary dictatorship. Six others were given ten years each. Three more were sentenced to three years. In a separate case, two natives were sentenced to three years; Sadiq Jaffar AShoor and Ahmad Ali Khamis.

Pressure is mounting on the regime to release Zainab AlKhawaja, one month after its foreign minister promised to do so. He was speaking on 7th April with visiting American Secretary of State, John Kerry when he said that she wou ld be released on �humanitarian� grounds. After a month, Zainab remains behind bars. She has written an open letter from her cell calling for people�s freedom from this criminal regime.

While people were happy to see Rayhana AlMousawi released from her three year incarceration for protesting against Formula 1 blood race in Bahrain, new shocking revelations have caused anger against the regime. It has now been confirmed by Rayhana that she had been subjected to severe torture including sexual harassment. She was ordered to take off her clothes on two separate occasions while police officers were watching. She was also subjected to various forms of torture including beating, swearing and deprivation of sleep. There are calls for the UN Human Rights Commissioner to take the case personally.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
11th May 2016