Bahraini human rights organisations welcomed the statement by four UN experts calling for full respect for the rights of the country’s top senior Shiite leader, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, 76 years old.
The organisations demand that Bahraini authorities respond to what the experts called for which is to ensure that medical staff could monitor Sheikh Qassim’s health condition without any kind of pressure, and allow him to receive visitors freely, as well as ensuring that he will continue to receive the medicines he needs after leaving the hospital.
The organizations also stressed on his right to freedom of movement that should not be violated and the house arrest is terminated.
The human rights organisations pointed out that the security authorities deliberately restricted the right to receive treatment, which, according to the expert statement, took three hours to allow the doctor to enter the house of Sheikh Isa Qassem for examination on 26 November 2017.
That is as well as the measures of house arrest (without a judicial ruling) which resulted in disabling his doctors from adequate access to him for more than 500 days. A clear violation of the right to adequate and necessary treatment.
The human rights organisations also stressed on the need to enable an independent, reliable and UN cooperating medical body to oversee the health condition of Sheikh Isa Qassim. They also called in the government to completely withdraw any security presence around his area and urged it to effectively remove all forms of police around his residence in Al Duraz.
They urged the government to lift the house arrest, and demanded the drop of all charges against him and restore his Bahraini citizenship and civil rights.
According to international reports, Bahrain’s majority Shiites are persecuted by the government’s policies, as patterns of persecution take place at various levels, affecting their political and religious rights.
The Supreme Court and Riyadh and the Specialized Court of Appeals upheld the death sentences against a number of citizens from Qatif, Al-Ahsa and Madinah AlMonawara in Saudi Arabia on the grounds of their conviction on political and malicious charges, bringing the total death sentences imminent to execution during these days to 36 death sentences against Shi'a citizens.
In contrast, the three signatory human rights organizations condemn the issuance of these judgments under trials not in conformity with international standards for fair trials, which target not only human rights activists and opponents, but also a specific religious nature. That is in the continuation of the systematic punishment policy practiced by the Saudi authorities against citizens belonging to certain regions on basis of reform demands and as an instrument of persecution and political revenge.
The signatories condemn in the strongest terms the continued use of the non-independent judiciary in Saudi Arabia for political and reprisal purposes and the manipulation of the right to life through the standardization and implementation of the death penalty, despite claims by international human rights organizations that such punishment should be suspended for the cases related to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The signatory organizations also recall that most of the confessions on which the Saudi authorities base their unjustified death sentences upon are extracted under coercive conditions and under torture, including severe beatings, humiliating practices that degrades human dignity as well as prolonged incommunicado detention. Saudi Arabia's policy of turning a blind eye to the perpetration of its human rights abuses is due to the lack of international pressuring will.
As a result, we call on human rights organizations to freeze Saudi Arabia's membership in the Human Rights Council for the authorities' persistence in their transgressions and their implementation of the death penalty for retaliation in flagrant violation of the international human rights laws.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights
SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights
Bahrain Forum for Human Rights.
The Saudi Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday (July 11th, 2017) the execution of four activists; residents of the Qatif area, who it claims are 'convicted of terrorism'. The Victims are: Amjad Naji Al Mu'aybid, Zaher Abdul Rahim Al Basri, Yousuf Ali Al-Meshaishe and Mahdi Mohammad Hassan Al Sayegh.
Indeed, the Saudi Interior Ministry utilizes the 'Terrorism' charge to retaliate against a number of conscience activists and social equality advocates, which constitutes an extrajudicial killing, especially practiced in the aftermath of unfair trials.
Thus, the number of executions in Saudi Arabia has risen up to 48 cases, since the beginning of 2017. It is noteworthy that 153 people were executed in Saudi Arabia in 2016. Additionally, in the previous year, Saudi Arabia executed the same number of people, which is the highest rate in nearly 20 years.
Bahraini human rights organisations condemn this execution including: Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR), Salam of Democracy and Human Rights(SALAM) and Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR).
The organisations define the execution as a part of the continuum repressive campaign by the Saudi authorities against all citizens and activists who oppose it, based on their demands for civil and political rights. Moreover, these executions for political reasons are not the first case, but they fall within the series of measures, particularly targeting the Qatif area, and its residents who led an opposition movement.
The organisations add, "The Saudi authorities exploit the charge of 'terrorism' against its opponents at any time, and without hesitation." The organisations stress that the 'Anti-Terrorism Legislation' can not serve as a pretext to justify this kind of illegal and unjust judgments, especially that this accusation is directed against activists and citizens, merely because they exercise their due rights for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which are guaranteed by international covenants.
Further, the signatory organisations mention that the execution sentences in Saudi Arabia is strongly rejected by International Human Rights organizations; including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. These organisations consistently urge Saudi Arabia to halt the death penalty for its violation of human rights. They, in addition, point that what exacerbates the situation is the absence of judicial transparency. They state that this situation raises a lot of questions over the lack of justice and integrity, especially in terms of utilizing the judiciary, by the Saudi authorities, on political issues in a blatant violation of fair trials.
Besides, the signatory human rights organizations condemn the international silence over the deterioration of human rights in Saudi Arabia, and call upon the international community to act immediately to put pressure on Saudi Arabia government to halt the death penalty against political activists and opponents, and to reconsider the minimum standards of human rights and due freedoms, stipulated by various covenants and international conventions.
A Bahraini court has sentenced the prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, Head of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), to two years imprisonment over television interviews in 2015 and 2016, which the authorities claim it would "undermine its image."
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) condemns the unfair sentence against the human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, and considers it a political verdict; primarily aims at retaliating against a prominent human rights defender who is well known for consistently monitoring the human rights violations, and exposing the actual face of the government of Bahraini.
GIDHR considers Rajab's sentence to be an additional proof that the Bahraini authorities are not willing to accept any free opinion, and that the judiciary has been a tool utilised by the government, motivated by its will, and serves its agenda. GIDHR considers this verdict a crime against freedom of expression in Bahrain, particularly for trying Rajab on statements he made. GIDHR demands the immediate suspension of the verdict, and the release of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab.
GIDHR calls on the international community to act vigorously and immediately to enact international legislation to prevent the exposure of all human rights defenders, to put an end to the frequent and illegal campaigns by the authorities against human rights activists, and to urge the allies of Bahrain to pressure the regime to respect human rights and stop all types of persecution.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights
Al-A'awameya is one of the villages of Al Kateef district, it is located in the eastern side of Saudi Arabia. The village has been tightly besieged by the Saudi Security Forces. Access points to the village have been blocked. Besides, Al-Maswara historical and tourist quarter has been destructed, and the residents have been displaced.
No doubt, the village which has been besieged since 3 days, has become a battle zone. The offensive campaign is targeting the civilians by shooting fire guns and attacking residential areas. Houses, shops, and cars have been burnt. Furthermore, medical teams are not allowed to reach the wounded.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) expresses its utmost condemnation of the imposed siege by the Saudi Forces against the civilians of Al-A'awameya which violates basic standards of human rights and international conventions. The Institute considers this blockade as a collective sanction, systematically led by the security forces against the residents of the entire village. This orchestrated campaign aims at frightening civilians, isolating them and suspending their daily activities.
GIDHR slams these violations by the Saudi forces during its current offensive blockade, through targeting civilians and damaging their properties. These arbitrary violations are not but atrocities against humanity. It is worth mentioning that among the victims children and old people. GIDHR calls upon the secretary general of the United Nations, and the Human Rights council to take immediate and urgent measures to save the lives of civilians in Al-A'awameya, and to cease these heinous violations. In addition, it urges International Human Rights Organizations to fulfill its responsibilities, in order to put an end to the imposed aggressive siege against the village of Al-A'awameya.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human rights (GIDHR)
May 12th 2017
To his Excellency Mr. Antonio Guterres
Greetings to you and hope you are well.
We write to you on an urgent matter regarding the death penalties that have been issued by Bahrain’s courts after the February 2011, following the Arab Spring Uprising.
Numerous reports and cases have demonstrated that Bahrain’s courts have largely contravened Article 10 (fair hearing by impartial court) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 6 (right to not have life arbitrarily deprived) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The courts have continually ignored claims that the security apparatus caused the deaths, tortured prisoners, extracted false confessions and fired live rounds during the crackdown on peaceful protests.
We implore you, in light of the strong claims that these death penalties are being carried arbitrarily and discriminately, especially against political prisoners Sami Mushaima, Ali Al-Singace, and Abbas Al-Samea’, to urgently intervene in this matter, help release these prisoners, and oblige Bahrain to properly follow standards and laws set out by international human rights laws.
We thank his Excellency for his efforts and interests, and wish he would take these concerns with the upmost care and concern.
1. Bahrain Centre for Human Rights
2. Bahrain Forum for human Rights
3. Bahraini German Organization for Human Rights
4. Bahrain Human Rights Observatory
5. Bahrain Human Rights Society
6. Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights
7. SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights
8. The European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights
Article 22 of the Bahraini Constitution states that “the State shall guarantee the sanctity of places of worship, freedom to practice religious rights, take out processions and hold religious congregations according to the custom observed in the country.” Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” In addition Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”
Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affair denied the presence of any practices or discrimination that target the Shiites, in the same time the security authorities in Bahrain tighten their grip and restrictions on the religious practices, attack Ashura commemoration rituals, and violate the sanctity of these rituals according to the Shiite sect. The security forces shot the citizens who were protesting against these measures, in addition to the continuous siege imposed on Duraz, and preventing the clerics from reaching the obsequies.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) condemns the Bahraini authority targeting of the religious freedoms, and calls on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the international community and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt to press on the Bahraini Government to put an end to the violations that target the Shiite citizens.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights in Australia
The Bahraini authorities have persistently insist on breaching the international covenants and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and violating the international standards for fair trial. Today, the Bahraini regime began the trial of the head of the largest religious body for Shiites in Bahrain Sayed Majeed Al-Meshal suddenly without any prior notice. This step is one of the severe clampdown on the Shiite clerics, the escalating sectarian persecution, and the continuous restrictions on the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
The Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) in Australia strongly condemns these practices which contradict with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that protects the freedom of religion and belief. These judicial proceedings are the sword of the Bahraini authority for revenge of its opponents. GIDHR calls for the United Nations and the international community for urgent action to take the necessary measures to put an end for the systematic targeting against one of the most important components of the Bahraini society.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights in Australia
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) in Australia urges the United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban-Ki Moon, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Mr. Michel Forst, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to take prompt actions in order to rescue the human rights activists Mr. Nabeel Rajab, the president of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR). Mr. Rajab was arrested over a tweet on the Social Media outlets.
Mr. Rajab’s health situation has deteriorated and he was transferred to the hospital. According to Mr. Rajab’s family, he is subjected to isolated detention in an attempt to isolate him from the outer world; which may has severe impacts on his heath.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights