Today The Times newspaper has revealed that British police are teaching the Saudi Arabian regime to use high-tech detection skills despite accepting that they could “identify individuals who later go on to be tortured”. Senior MPs called last night for the suspension of the programme amid concerns about the human rights record of the Saudi interior ministry. The potential for British-taught forensic skills to be misused was outlined in an internal police report on the College of Policing training programme, which began in 2009. It has continued despite the arrests and executions of pro-democracy activists, including children, after the Arab Spring. Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, said: “After these revelations, we cannot have any involvement in this project with a clear conscience. The home secretary should suspend this arrangement immediately and prevent British police officers playing any part.” Last week fourteen native citizens were sentenced to death in the Eastern Province for protesting against Al Saud tribal rule. Saudi human rights defender Abdulaziz Al-Shubaili has been sentenced to eight years for his legal activities.
Worldwide anger against UN’s secretary General is threatening to cause an international crisis and lead to un-calculable damage to the world body. This is caused by what is widely seen as Ban Ki Moon’s unwarranted submission to Saudi demand to be absolved of responsibility for killing Yemeni children. Last week Mr Moon slammed the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen for killing and maiming children by adding it to an annual blacklist of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights during conflict. The coalition was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries last year, killing 510 and wounding 667, according to Ban’s report released on Thursday 2nd June, which also said the coalition carried out half the attacks on schools and hospitals. The Saudis reacted angrily and mobilised their worldwide networks of corrupt politicians and lobbyists to force Moon to remove the kingdom of silence from the list. , Deputy Director for Global Advocacy at Human Rights Watch, Phillippe Bolopion said: The UN Secretary General’s office hit a new low today by caving in to brazen pressure from Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s children deserve better. As the UN list of shame gives way to political manipulation, it loses its credibility and taints the Secretary-General’s legacy on human rights”.
Last week, The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) was able to document a total of 36 arbitrary arrests including two children. On 5th June Hussain Alkhayyat of Bilad Al Qadeem, was snatched and taken to unknown location, believed to be one of the torture houses run by the Alkhalifa regime. Abbas Ahmed Marzooq of AlMa’amir Town was detained at the Bahrain-Saudi causeway. Mohammed alQabendi, 21, from Bani Jamra was also arrested. He had been on the list of the wanted people. He had received death threats before. House raids were carried out in various locations resulting in the arrest of at least five people: Hussain Hassan Abdulla, Hussain Abdulla Habib, Abdula Hussain Yassin, Hussain Habib Ali and Fadelh Ali Sammani. Ahmad Ali from Bilad Al Qadeem was arrested from Alkhalifa court after he had been sentenced to three months in jail for protesting against the tribal rule.
On 1st June The UN’s special rapporteur on torture accused Britain of playing Bahrain’s “game” by funding its human rights institutions while allowing it to act with “impunity” by not pressuring the kingdom to let him visit. Juan Méndez, whose 2013 visit was postponed by Bahrain, told BuzzFeed News the kingdom had “played the UK’s support to maximum effect”. While Méndez does not have legally binding, enforceable powers, the public nature of his reporting could potentially damage the kingdom’s standing on the world stage. “They tell everyone, ‘We have an inspectorate of prisons,’ but they won’t invite me,” Méndez said. “The UK should not be a party to it. Bahrain considers itself shielded [from scrutiny] due to its relations with Britain and America.”
On 30th May Bahrain’s dictator had more than doubled the prison sentence of Sheikh Ali Salman, from four years to 9 years, on May 30, 2016. The appeal court overturned a trial court’s decision to acquit him of advocating the overthrow of the government by force. “Sheikh Salman is the latest casualty of Bahrain’s war on dissent, but he won’t be the last unless Bahrain’s allies in London and Washington loudly protest this travesty of justice,” said Joe Stork deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “This level of repression will not create stability for Bahrain, but quite the opposite.” On 1st June the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, condemned the sentence. “The arbitrary sentencing of such a prominent political leader to nine years of detention inevitably has a strong chilling effect for the entire society.” He called the sentence “deeply disappointing.”
Bahrain Freedom Movement
8th June 2016