Saudi crucifixion death penalty for free speech

This video says says about itself:

Live execution by beheading in Saudi Arabia. WARNING GRAPHIC!!!!

Execution of Indonesian woman Ruyati Binti Sapubi by a single stroke of the sword taking the head clean off (June 18 2011).

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Saudi court hands death sentence to Shia cleric

Wednesday 15th Ovtober 2014

A SAUDI Arabian court sentenced Shia cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr to death today, setting what his family described as “a dangerous precedent.”

Mr Nimr was accused of “sedition” because of his vocal support for Bahrain’s 2011 Shia uprising, which was violently suppressed by the Saudi armed forces.

He did not deny the political charges but insisted he had never carried weapons or called for violent resistance to Saudi Arabia’s fundamentalist Sunni monarchy.

But unmoved prosecutors called for “execution followed by crucifixion.”

Defence lawyers were unable to cross-examine prosecution witnesses as they were not told when the hearing involving them took place.

Two of Mr Nimr’s brothers were arrested after the trial — Mohammed al-Nimr, who announced the verdict on Twitter, and Jaafar al-Nimr, who was detained after going to police to ask what had happened to Mohammed.

Saudi activist Jaafar al-Shayeb said the verdict might spark unrest in parts of eastern Saudi Arabia populated by Shias.

Again, Bahraini human rights defender arrested

This video says about itself:

Zainab Al-Khawaja: On the Front Line in Bahrain

12 December 2011

Interview with Bahrain human rights defender Zainab Al-Khawaja, daughter of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja who was the former Front Line Defenders Protection Coordinator for the Middle East & North Africa. Zainab, known on twitter as AngryArabiya, talks about family, human rights, Abdulhadi and the difficulties of struggling for human rights in Bahrain.

From the Gulf Center for Human Rights:

Update: Bahrain: Zainab Al-Khawaja arrested


Zainab Al-Khawaja was arrested today, 14 October 2014, during a court hearing where she was scheduled to face charges related to tearing a photograph of the King.

According to witnesses present at the trial, Zainab asked to speak, and stated to the court that “I am the daughter of a proud and free man. My mother brought me into this world free, and I will give birth to a free baby boy even if it is inside our prisons. It is my right, and my responsibility as a free person, to protest against oppression and oppressors.” Zainab Al-Khawaja then tore a photograph of the King of Bahrain in the court, and placed it in front of the judge. The court was immediately dismissed, and everyone was made to leave the court room while Zainab Al-Khawaja was placed under arrest.

Zainab Al-Khawaja was taken to Alhoora police station, and was allowed to telephone her family. She is currently almost nine months pregnant, and could give birth at any time.

The charges against Zainab Al-Khawaja are entirely related to freedom of expression, and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Gulf Center for Human Rights reiterate their calls for the immediate dismissal of these cases and all other politically motivated charges against her.

See also here.

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) calls for the immediate release of human rights defender and activist Zainab Al-Khawaja who was arrested and detained for “publicly insulting the [Bahrain's] King” after tearing up a picture of him during a court hearing. The arrest of Mrs. Al-Khawaja comes after a series of arrests targeting prominent human rights defenders in Bahrain for peacefully expressing their opinions. She was already facing charges of destroying government property after tearing up a picture of the King in 2012. She also faces freedom of expression charges including insulting a policewoman, illegal gathering and inciting hatred against the regime. The crime of “insulting the King” in Bahrain can carry a prison sentence of up to seven years alongside a 10000BD fine. It was formally implemented in the Bahrain Penal Code last year running contrary to international human rights law and standards: here.

Foreign Secretary: Use UK influence on Bahrain to free Nabeel Rajab, Zainab Al-Khawaja and Ghada Jamsheer: here.

An Irish Medical Council delegation has visited the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) campus in Bahrain, following criticism from human rights groups about alleged abuses in the country’s medical facilities. The inspection took place on Monday and Tuesday, but concerns have been expressed that the visiting team would be given a sanitised view of facilities. Ceartas, the Irish Lawyers for Human Rights organisation, has called for the campus to be denied accreditation because of allegations of torture and discrimination against medics by state forces: here.

Bahraini dictatorship’s hacking of computers in Britain

This 13 May 2013 video is called UK spyware used against Bahraini activists – Ala’a Shehabi.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

UK police asked to investigate alleged Bahraini hacking of exiles’ computers

Rights group Privacy International files complaint that officials illegally monitored devices of pro-democracy trio in UK

Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent

Monday 13 October 2014 11.16 BST

The police National Cyber Crime Unit has been asked to investigate claims that computers and mobile phones used by exiled Bahraini pro-democracy activists living in the UK are under illegal surveillance.

A complaint about Bahraini officials’ alleged monitoring of the devices was compiled by the civil liberties group Privacy International (PI) and submitted to the Metropolitan police on Monday.

The remote interference is said to have started after Dr Saeed Shehabi, Jaafar al-Hasabi and Mohammed Moosa Abd-Ali Ali inadvertently downloaded malicious software or had their machines infected by the programs. The intrusive technology is able to copy and transmit documents, remotely turn on cameras and microphones to record, as well as send emails from other people’s accounts, according to PI.

It said the technology involved was FinFisher, software once owned by Gamma International, a company that used to be based in Andover, Hampshire, but is now run by a firm based in Germany.

The complaint is partially based on evidence published in August by Bahrain Watch and WikiLeaks, which, it is said, details exchanges between Bahraini officials and Finfisher staff who were providing technical support.

The three men allegedly targeted are human rights activists who oppose the current regime in Bahrain and have been granted asylum in the UK.

Moosa Abd-Ali Ali and Hasabi had both been detained and tortured in Bahrain. Shehabi has been sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia and had his Bahraini citizenship revoked.

“We often had the feeling that they were spying on us but we had no physical evidence of intrusion,” said Shehabi, 60, who is a journalist. “I have lived here since 1971. I thought I was under British protection.”

His only direct evidence of computer interference was when his Twitter account inexplicably began following more and more people; on another occasion, he said, his daughter’s travel plans were disclosed to Bahraini government officials. Three years ago his home in the UK was the target of an arson attack.

Hasabi, 43, an IT specialist, said he had received numerous emails which he did not open because they appeared suspicious. He was alarmed to see his computer’s details appear in the WikiLeaks list online.

Moosa Abd-Ali Ali, 33, a TV camera operator, said: “Many times I received notices from my friends that I had sent them emails when I had not. Once I opened up my Facebook page and found that someone was writing it. Later I found it had been deleted. On other occasions I received notices from Gmail saying someone had tried to hack into my account.

“When I first came to the UK I felt safe but I don’t any more. They have hacked my computer.”

PI said: “It is clear from the Gamma documents published online that among those targeted by the Bahraini government with FinFisher technology were Mohammed, Jaafar and Saeed, along with prominent Bahraini opposition politicians, democracy activists and human rights lawyers.

FinFisher was developed and produced by the British company Gamma International. Promotional material for FinFisher shows that it allows its user full access to a target’s infected device and everything contained within it, even enabling them to turn on functions such as cameras and microphones.

“Reports from the Citizen Lab suggest that FinFisher command and control servers have been found in 35 countries, including Ethiopia, Turkmenistan, Bahrain, and Malaysia.”

The National Cyber Crime Unit is part of the National Crime Agency. Earlier this year PI made a similar complaint to police about alleged surveillance of the computer of an Ethiopian activist living in the UK.

Commenting on the alleged surveillance of the Ethiopian, a Metropolitan police spokesperson said: “On 28 February 2014, we received an allegation that a man in Islington had had his computer accessed without authorisation. This matter is currently under investigation by Islington CID.”

PI alleges that surveillance carried out by Bahraini authorities amounts to unlawful interception of communications under section 1 of the UK’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) 2000.

FinFisher and its previous owner Gamma have previously claimed they only sold their products to responsible governments. The German-based firm did not respond to requests for a comment, nor did the embassy of Bahrain.

See also here. And here.

Bahraini government, with help from FinFisher, tracks activists living in the UK: here.

FinFisher spyware used to snoop on Bahraini activists, police told. Gamma International on the end of UK criminal complaint: here.

Privacy International files criminal complaint on behalf of Bahraini activists targeted by spyware FinFisher: here.

G4S Bahrain to provide manned and electronic security to [Saudi] Al Arab News: here.

Bahraini government news agency mourns ‘dead’ ISIS fighter

This video says about itself:

Bahrain: Rights Activist Speaks Out Before Arrest

3 September 2014

Maryam al-Khawaja, speaking in May 2014 in London, expresses her fears that she will be arrested on her return to Bahrain, and her intent to continue to engage non-violent activism and civil resistance.

From Al-Manar daily in Lebanon:

Bahrain Official News Agency Mourns ISIL Dead Gunmen

Local Editor

Despite the involvement of Bahraini warplanes in strikes against the positions and goals of the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri organization and other terrorist groups, policies adopted by Bahraini authorities confirm they sponsor terrorist groups, according to accusations repeated by activists.

Considering the fact that the majority of those recruited in terrorist organizations are elements who came from Bahraini security and military institutions, the-kingdom-run news agency (BNA) mourned the Bahraini gunmen Abdulaziz Al-Jowder, 19 years, dubbed as Abu Hajar, one of ISIL members who was killed recently in Iraq.

BNA published official announcement of condolence entitled “Abdul Aziz Nizar Ali Mohammad Al-Jowdar … passed away.”

It said that Abdulaziz Nizar Ali Mohammad Al-Jowder, 19 years, has passed away. Men condolences to be received in the Jassim Al Zayani lounge starting from this afternoon, and that of women are to be received in his father’s house.

Later, BNA omitted the news from its website, after knowing that Jowdar has communicated with his family denying his death.

11-10-2014 – 14:35

Bahrain: Arbitrary Detention of Nabeel Rajab | Letter: here.

Bahrain rights activist charged over insulting tweets: here.

The source, who agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity, claimed that the penetration of IS ideology into Bahrain’s security organisations has been made easier by an ongoing government policy to recruit Sunni police officers from Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Pakistan, many of whom the source said shared the same belief system as IS: here.

Egyptian, Bahraini human rights activists speak

This video says about itself:

GV Face: Alaa Abd El Fattah and Maryam Al Khawajah on Hunger Strikes and Protests in Egypt and Bahrain

9 October 2014

Hundreds of political prisoners are currently on hunger strike in Egypt and Bahrain.

Up until a few weeks ago, both our guests in the episode of GV Face, Maryam and Alaa were on hunger strike and in jail because of their activism.

We will be talking to them about their activism, the struggles they face in Bahrain and Egypt and the hopes that keeps them resilient about their country’s future.

In Egypt, some hunger strikers have been in jail since anti-regime protests broke out on January 25, 2011. In Bahrain, which has been witnessing anti-regime protests since February 14, 2011, more than 600 political prisoners have gone on hunger strike to protest torture in jail.

Hunger strikes are frequently used as a method of non-violent resistance during which activists fast as an act of political protest to raise awareness about pressing issues they support — or their own plight. During the fast, hunger strikers refuse to take solid food and rely on liquids only, putting their own lives at risk.

Among them is political activist Mohamed Soltan, a 26-year-old Egyptian-American, who has been on hunger strike in an Egyptian prison for more than 250 days in an effort to fight for his freedom. He was arrested on August 25, 2013, and is facing trial for a number of terror charges in connection to his involvement in demonstrations at Rabaa Square on August 14, 2013, where more than 800 Egyptian protestors opposed to the ousting of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi were killed in one single day. Soltan was shot in the arm and arrested a few days later from his home.

Another political activist who started a wave of hunger strikes across Egyptian prisons and outside the walls of detention centres is Alaa Abd El Fattah, who was released on bail on September 15, 2014, after being sentenced for 15 years in prison. He was convicted of attacking a police officer and violating a 2013 protest law that prohibits unauthorised demonstrations.

In late August, Abd El Fattah began a hunger strike, days before the death of his father, prominent human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif El Islam.

After an appeal by his lawyers, Abd El Fattah was issued a retrial in August 2014. On Sept 15, 2014, the presiding judge recused himself from the case after an incident a week earlier, in which the prosecution presented a video depicting Manal Hassan, Abd El Fattah’s wife, dancing. Taken from Hassan’s laptop, which confiscated by police when Abd El Fattah was arrested and taken from his family’s home in November of 2013, the video bears no discernible relationship with his political activities. In another twist during the trial, the judge ordered that the aforementioned video be presented to the prosecutor general and placed under investigation for violating Abd El Fattah’s privacy.

Abd El Fattah has been jailed or investigated under every Egyptian head of state who has served during his lifetime. In 2006, he was arrested for taking part in a peaceful protest. In 2011, he spent two months in prison, missing the birth of his first child. In 2013, he was arrested and detained for 115 days without trial. And he now faces 15 years in prison. He is now out on bail, awaiting a re-trial.

In Bahrain, which has been witnessing anti-regime protests since February 14, 2011, more than 600 political prisoners went on hunger strike to protest against being tortured in prison.

Among them is human rights defender Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah, who has been jailed since April 9, 2011, and sentenced to life imprisonment for calling for the overthrow the regime. On February 8, 2012, Al Khawajah started an open-ended hunger strike “until freedom or death” protesting the continuing detentions. His protest lasted for 110 days, until his health deteriorated and he was force-fed by the authorities. In August this year, Al Khawajah entered his second hunger strike, which lasted a month. On the 27th day of his hunger strike, his daughter, human rights activist Maryam Al Khawajah, who like hundreds of other Bahrainis is forced to live outside her country, returned to Bahrain to see her father. She was arrested at the airport, and detained, accused of hitting a member of the police force. Maryam denies the charges. In detention, she started a hunger strike. Both she and her father have since stopped their strike. Her father remains in prison, while she has once again left the country after her release and the lift of a travel ban imposed upon her after her arrest.

In this edition of GV Face, we will speak to both Maryam and Alaa about their experiences, as they both continue to champion for the rights of the men and women in their countries.

See also here.