Posts Tagged Injustice of Atmariar Dictators
DUBAI – Bahrain’s top military court sentenced six men to death on Monday after convicting them of charges including plotting to assassinate the Gulf state’s armed forces chief, state media reported.
It was the first official mention of any plot against the life of Field Marshal Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, who is a member of the ruling family, but the Bahrain News Agency gave no further details of when or where it was alleged to have taken place.
Tiny but strategic Bahrain has been gripped by unrest for years as its Sunni royal family has resisted demands from its Shiite majority for a constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister.
A judicial source said that all six of those sentenced to death on Monday were Shiites.
BNA said that one of them was a serving soldier before his arrest and that all six were also stripped of their citizenship.
The court sentenced seven other defendants to seven-year jail terms and deprived them too of their citizenship. Five men were acquitted.
Only 10 of the defendants are in custody, BNA said. The other eight are on the run — either inside Bahrain or in Iran or Iraq.
Since crushing Shiite-led street protests in 2011, Bahraini authorities have cracked down on all dissent, banning both religious and secular opposition parties and jailing hundreds.
Human rights watchdogs say that counter-terrorism legislation has been abused to prosecute many peaceful opposition figures.
The United States has criticized Bahrain for its human rights record but the kingdom holds a strategic position just across the Gulf from Iran and provides the home base for the US Fifth Fleet.
Source: Middle East Online.
MANAMA – A Bahraini citizen convicted of “insulting the king” and stripped of his nationality has been deported to Iraq after serving a two-year jail sentence, Amnesty International said on Friday.
Ibrahim Karimi was released from the notorious Jaw prison on Monday and “deported to Iraq the next day”, Amnesty said in a report.
He had served a sentence of two years and one month for allegedly “insulting the king” of Bahrain as well as Saudi Arabia and its ruler, and for possession of a stun gun.
Karimi was sentenced in 2016 but his citizenship had been revoked by the Bahraini authorities more than three years earlier.
Amnesty said Karimi had been found guilty of “publicly inciting hatred and contempt against the regime” and of “publicly insulting the king”.
He was also convicted of “insulting Saudi Arabia and its king” in a tweet, following the deadly 2015 collapse of a massive construction crane at the Grand Mosque in Mecca that killed more than 100 people.
Karimi has denied ownership of the twitter account.
Amnesty has described Karimi as a “prisoner of conscience”.
Authorities in Manama have stepped up prosecution of dissidents in recent months, granting military courts the right to try civilians for charges including terrorism as protests demanding an elected government in the Sunni-ruled monarchy near their seventh year.
Dozens of mostly Shiite protesters have been jailed and number of high-profile activists and clerics stripped of their citizenship since protests erupted in 2011.
Bahrain, a key ally of the United States and home to the US Fifth Fleet, accuses Shiite Iran of training “terrorist cells” that aim to overthrow the Bahraini government.
Iran denies the allegation.
Source: Middle East Online.
January 15, 2017
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Bahrain on Sunday carried out its first executions since an Arab Spring uprising rocked the country in 2011, putting to death three men found guilty of a deadly bomb attack on police.
The executions of the Shiite men drew swift condemnation from human rights groups and sparked outrage among opponents of the Sunni-ruled government, who see the charges as politically motivated. Activists allege that testimony used against the condemned men was obtained through torture.
Bahrain’s public prosecution said the death sentences were carried out by firing squad. Photos shared by activists purporting to show the bodies of the men showed a tight grouping of multiple gunshot wounds to the heart.
The executions were the first in the U.S.-allied nation since 2010 and followed a spike in protests in solidarity with the convicted men. Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima and Ali al-Singace were found guilty in 2015 of killing two Bahraini policemen and an Emirati officer deployed to bolster the country’s security forces in a bomb attack the previous year. A court upheld their death sentences last Monday.
Bahrain is a tiny island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia that hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols the waters around the Arabian Peninsula and is the naval counterweight to nearby Shiite powerhouse Iran.
Government forces crushed the 2011 uprising with help from allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but the country continues to face low-level unrest led by a majority Shiite population that feels marginalized by the Sunni monarchy.
Bahrain also maintains close ties to Britain, which is building a naval base of its own in the country. Over the past two and a half months, Prince Charles, Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have all paid visits to the island.
Johnson made a point of underscoring Britain’s opposition to the death penalty hours after the sentences were carried out. “The Bahraini authorities are fully aware of our position and I have raised the issue with the Bahraini government,” he said in a statement.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets Saturday in solidarity with the condemned men as rumors spread that their executions were imminent. Images shared on social media showed activists blocking roads with burning debris and hurling petrol bombs in clashes with police.
Nicholas McGeehan, a researcher who monitors Bahrain for Human Rights Watch, called the executions inflammatory and unjust as he urged the kingdom’s allies to “publicly and unequivocally condemn these killings.” Amnesty International deputy director Samah Hadid called the executions “a deeply regressive step.”
Protests and clashes continued Sunday despite a heavy presence of riot police deployed in predominantly Shiite areas. Witnesses said shops were shuttered in Daih, where the 2014 bombing happened. Garbage bins were seen overturned and set alight in the streets.
One police officer was wounded when several people shot at a police patrol in Bani Jamra, west of the capital Manama, the Interior Ministry said Sunday. It gave no further details. The Ashtar Brigade, a Shiite militant group that claimed the 2014 police attack and a number of other bombings in Bahrain, took responsibility for the attack on the police officer on social media. The Associated Press could not immediately verify the post, though it came in a forum often used by the group.
Iran, which supported the 2011 uprising but denies any role in the violence, condemned the executions. “The lack of transparency in the unfair trial of the three Bahraini citizens was confirmed by the international community, human rights and all popular bodies all around the world,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said in remarks carried by state-run media.
Lebanon’s Iran-backed Shiite group Hezbollah also condemned the execution of the three men, calling it “a crime” and “extrajudicial killing” that would undermine any chance for a political solution in Bahrain.
The militant group, which has been critical of the Bahraini government’s crackdown on the Shiite uprising, said international silence toward what takes place in Bahrain must be met with the “largest solidarity campaign.”
Al-Samea and Mushaima alleged they were subjected to electric shocks, beatings, cigarette burns, sleep deprivation and sexual assault while in custody, Amnesty International reported in 2015. Al-Singace’s mother says her son was also tortured, according to British rights group Reprieve.
“It is nothing short of an outrage — and a disgraceful breach of international law — that Bahrain has gone ahead with these executions,” Reprieve director Maya Foa said. “The death sentences handed to Ali, Sami and Abbas were based on ‘confessions’ extracted through torture, and the trial an utter sham.”
Government officials did not respond to a request for comment Sunday on the torture allegations. Bahraini officials have previously said the government is opposed to any kind of mistreatment and has safeguards in place to prevent it.
Bahrain’s last execution was of a Bangladeshi man in 2010. A number of death sentences have been issued since then. The three put to death Sunday were the first who had held Bahraini citizenship executed since 1996, according to Reprieve, though they were technically stateless at the time of their deaths after being stripped of their citizenship when convicted.
Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai and Sarah El Deeb in Beirut contributed to this report.
September 10, 2016
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Close to 2 million people from around the world began performing the first rites of the Islamic hajj pilgrimage on Saturday, which calls for entering into a state of physical and spiritual purity and circling the cube-shaped Kaaba with their palms facing upward in supplication and prayer.
Notably absent this year are Iranian pilgrims. Last year, some 64,000 Iranians took part in the hajj, but disputes with the Saudi government prompted Tehran to bar its citizens from taking part this year.
Saudi Arabia has blamed Iranian officials for the decision and suggests it was politically motivated to publicly pressure the kingdom. Iran says Saudi “incompetence” caused a crush and stampede during last year’s hajj that killed more than 460 of its citizens. On Friday, thousands of Iranians marched through the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities to protest Saudi Arabia, chanting prayers against the kingdom’s Sunni rulers after midday prayers.
The hajj is one of the world’s largest pilgrimages. It draws the faithful to the holy city of Mecca and areas around it for five intense days of rituals and prayers aimed at erasing past sins and drawing Muslims closer to God. The pilgrimage is required of all Muslims to perform once in their lifetime.
To begin the hajj, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims circle the Kaaba in Mecca’s Grand Mosque. In a sign of humility and equality before God, the pilgrims shed symbols of materialism, entering a state of “ihram.” Women forgo makeup and perfume and wear loose-fitting clothing and a head covering, while men dress in seamless, white terry cloth garments.
Since arriving in Mecca over the past several weeks, hundreds of thousands have chanted, “Labayk Allahuma Labayk,” or “Here I am, God, answering your call. Here I am.” While following a route the Prophet Muhammad once walked, the rites of hajj are believed to ultimately trace the footsteps of the prophets Ibrahim and Ismail, or Abraham and Ishmael as they are named in the Bible.
The Interior Ministry says more than 1.3 million people from 160 different countries have arrived to the kingdom to perform the hajj this year. Most pilgrims will spend the evening outside Mecca in a valley called Mina that houses more than 160,000 tents. They will head to an area called Arafat on Sunday for the pinnacle of the pilgrimage, an emotional day of repentance and supplication.
For the first time in more than three decades, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric will not be delivering this year’s prestigious hajj sermon on Sunday. Al-Riyadh newspaper reported Saturday that Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, who has delivered the sermon since 1981, will be replaced by Sheikh Saleh bin Hamid.
Hamid previously served as chairman of the top consultative Shura Council and was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Council before serving as a royal adviser. The newspaper did not give a reason for the change.
The mufti sparked controversy this week when, in response to the Iranian criticisms, he was quoted as saying that Iran’s Shiite leaders “are not Muslims.”
January 03, 2016
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s top leader on Sunday warned Saudi Arabia of “divine revenge” over the execution of an opposition Shiite cleric while Riyadh accused Tehran of supporting terrorism, escalating a war of words hours after protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.
Saudi Arabia announced the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday along with 46 others, including three other Shiite dissidents and a number of al-Qaida militants. Al-Nimr was a central figure in protests by Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority until his arrest in 2012, and his execution drew condemnation from Shiites across the region.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the execution Sunday in a statement on his website, saying al-Nimr “neither invited people to take up arms nor hatched covert plots. The only thing he did was public criticism.” Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said Saudi Arabia’s “medieval act of savagery” in executing the cleric would lead to the “downfall” of the country’s monarchy.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry said that by condemning the execution, Iran had “revealed its true face represented in support for terrorism.” The statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, accused Tehran of “blind sectarianism” and said that “by its defense of terrorist acts” Iran is a “partner in their crimes in the entire region.”
Al-Nimr was convicted of terrorism charges but denied ever advocating violence. Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are locked in a bitter rivalry, and support opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen. Iran accuses Saudi Arabia of supporting “terrorism” in part because it backs Syrian rebel groups, while Riyadh points to Iran’s support for the Lebanese Hezbollah and other Shiite militant groups in the region.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Saudi envoy in Tehran to protest, while the Saudi Foreign Ministry later said it had summoned Iran’s envoy to the kingdom to protest Iran’s criticism of the execution, saying it represented “blatant interference” in its internal affairs.
In Tehran, the crowd gathered outside the Saudi Embassy early Sunday and chanted anti-Saudi slogans. Some protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the embassy, setting off a fire in part of the building, said the country’s top police official, Gen. Hossein Sajedinia, according to the semiofficial Tasnim news agency. He later said police had removed the protesters from the building and arrested some of them, adding that the situation had been “defused.”
Hours later, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said 40 people had been arrested on suspicion of taking part in the embassy attack and investigators were pursuing other suspects, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
The cleric’s execution could also complicate Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the Shiite-led government in Iraq. The Saudi Embassy in Baghdad reopened for the first time in nearly 25 years on Friday. Already on Saturday there were public calls for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to shut the embassy down again.
Al-Abadi tweeted Saturday night that he was “shocked and saddened” by al-Nimr’s execution, adding that “peaceful opposition is a fundamental right. Repression does not last.” Hundreds of al-Nimr’s supporters also protested in his hometown of al-Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia, in neighboring Bahrain where police fired tear gas and bird shot, and as far away as northern India.
Also Sunday, the BBC reported that one of the 47 executed in Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Dhubaiti, was convicted over a 2004 attack on its journalists in Riyadh. That attack by a gang outside of the home of a suspected al-Qaida militant killed 36-year-old Irish cameraman Simon Cumbers. British reporter Frank Gardner, now the BBC’s security correspondent, was seriously wounded in the attack and paralyzed, but survived.
Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Joseph Krauss and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.
RIYADH – Saudi Arabia has jailed four of its citizens for up to nearly three years after convicting them of joining or trying to join the conflict in Syria, media reported Sunday.
Two of the men, who were not identified by name, had traveled to Yemen and then Turkey using falsified passports with the intention of joining rebel groups, news website Sabq.org reported.
It did not clarify whether the pair had surrendered to authorities, a possibility that would explain the lenient jail terms of four months for the first and two years and 10 months for the second, handed down by a special court in Riyadh.
King Abdullah in February decreed jail terms of up to 20 years for citizens who travel to fight abroad, as the country struggles to deter young Saudis from becoming jihadists.
The other two men made it to Syria but later gave themselves up to Saudi authorities after they were shocked by the extremist ideologies of the groups they had joined, Sabq said.
One was jailed for 18 months, and the second for two a half years, the website said.
The report did not mention which groups fighting in the Syria conflict, that has attracted foreign militants to fight mainly against the Syrian regime, had recruited the four Saudis.
The Sunni-majority conservative kingdom in the Gulf has been a key backer of the more than three-year revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which is dominated by the Alawite offshoot of Shiite Islam.
There are no official figures on the numbers of Saudis who have joined jihadist ranks in Syria, but they are estimated at several hundred.
In 2011, Riyadh set up specialized terrorism courts to try dozens of Saudis and foreigners accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda or of being involved in a wave of bloody attacks that swept the country from 2003.
The interior ministry had urged those wanting to “repent” to hand themselves in at Saudi embassies, saying they would be repatriated and reunited with their families.
Source: Middle East Online.
DUBAI – Bahrain has filed a lawsuit to suspend Al-Wefaq’s activities for three months after the largest Shiite opposition group violated the kingdom’s law on associations, the official BNA news agency reported Sunday.
Political parties are banned in Bahrain, as in other Gulf Arab monarchies, and Al-Wefaq has the status of an association.
The ministry of justice said Al-Wefaq must rectify its “illegal status following the annulment of four general assemblies for lack of a quorum and the non-commitment to the public and transparency requirements for holding them,” as per Bahraini regulations, said BNA.
The ministry said it “filed the lawsuit following the insistence of Al-Wefaq on breaking the law… as well as its failure to amend violations related to its illegal general assemblies and the consequent invalidity of all its decisions,” BNA reported.
Al-Wefaq has led the protest movement that started in February 2011 by Bahrain’s Shiite majority against the ruling Sunni regime and has repeatedly called for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.
Earlier this month, Bahrain’s chief prosecutor charged the head of Al-Wefaq, cleric Ali Salman, and his political assistant, ex-MP Khalil Marzooq, with violating a law on foreign contacts after they met the US Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski.
Bahrain has said the meeting at the US embassy violated the law stipulating that contacts between political associations and foreign parties “should be coordinated with the foreign ministry and in the presence” of its representative.
Manama had told Malinowski, who is the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour, that he was “unwelcome” and should “leave immediately.”
Bahrain is a strategic archipelago just across the Gulf from Iran. Washington is a long-standing ally of the ruling Al-Khalifa dynasty, and Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Source: Middle East Online.