Bahraini activist gets 5 years for opposing torture, war

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Activist in Bahrain jailed for five years

A court in the island state Bahrain has sentenced activist Rabeel Najab to five years in prison for criticizing his treatment in prison and the war that Saudi Arabia is fighting in Yemen.

The International Federation for Human Rights, based in Paris, and others have criticized the trial in Bahrain.

Rajab was arrested in June 2016 in a major operation against dissidents in Bahrain. In July last year, he was sentenced to two years in prison for spreading rumors and [so called] fake news about Bahrain. The court then accused him of undermining the prestige of the state.


After his arrest he was admitted to a hospital several times. Sympathizers of Rajab feared for his life because he shared a cell with ISIS supporters. Rajab is both against the rulers in Bahrain and against extremist Muslims. …

Rajab‘s problems in Bahrain began in 2011 when he joined the protest movement in the context of the Arab Spring.

Bahrain lies off the coast of Saudi Arabia, north of Qatar. The American Fifth Fleet has a base in Bahrain.

See also here.


Free Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab now

This video says about itself:

Bahraini faces 15 years in prison for tweeting about Yemen war

8 August 2017

The co-founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights​, Nabeel Rajab​, is facing up to 15 years in prison for tweeting about the war in Yemen, with charges including “spreading false rumours in a time of war“.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Campaigners call for release of Bahraini prisoner of conscience

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

HUMAN rights campaigners gathered outside the Bahrain embassy in London yesterday calling for the release of a man jailed for criticising the regime on Twitter and an end to reprisal attacks.

Nabeel Rajab faces 15 years in prison for exposing torture in Bahrain’s Jau jail where he is already serving a two-year sentence for “spreading fake news” after giving interviews to journalists.

Mr Rajab’s “offences” also include tweets he sent criticising the devastating war in Yemen waged by the Saudi-led coalition. At least seven million people are on the brink of famine in the war-torn country thanks to a blockade on food and fuel imports imposed by the nine-nation coalition — which includes Bahrain.

Speaking at the protest was Sayeed Alwadei who fled Bahrain for Britain in 2011 after being tortured for taking part in peaceful anti-government protests.

Three of his relatives have been sentenced to three years in a Bahrain prison after confessions made under torture and others continue to be targeted by the authorities.

He said: “The imprisonment of my family is a cowardly attack on human rights defenders. I believe the Bahraini ambassador has direct responsibility for their imprisonment and torture, which is the latest in a campaign of reprisals that has affected my entire family.”

Despite widespread oppression and attacks on human rights, Britain has sold £81 million of weapons to the regime since an uprising began in 2011.

Mr Alwadei added that the British government must tell its “repressive ally” the violent campaign to silence him and his family is unacceptable.

Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Andrew Smith said Bahrain should be condemned, not armed and supported by Downing Street and Whitehall.

Silencing Bahraini women and activists: here.

Top Samantha Power Aide is Now Lobbying to Undermine Opponents of Yemen War: here.

Bahrain dictatorship keeps violating human rights

This 2013 video shows an interview with Bahraini human rights activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Bahrainis ‘target’ activist’s family

BAHRAIN: Exiled rights activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei revealed yesterday that his mother-in-law, brother-in-law and cousin have been jailed for three years on charges of planting a “fake bomb” in January.

The campaigner said that the three have been held since March and questioned extensively about his work in Britain.

He said the Bahraini government is targeting his family because of his work to expose its “horrific rights abuses”.

Bahrain human rights abuses with British government support

This Amnesty International video says about itself:

6 September 2017

Since mid-2016, the Bahraini authorities have dramatically stepped up their crackdown on dissent. By June 2017, Bahrain’s formerly thriving civil society had found itself reduced to a few lone voices brave enough to speak out. The majority of peaceful critics, whether they are human rights defenders or political activists, now feel the risk of doing so has become too high.

Over the course of a year, the authorities increasingly resorted to a wide range of repressive tactics including arrest, harassment, threats, prosecution and imprisonment to silence peaceful critics. Amnesty International’s research concludes that the security forces have even resorted to torturing or otherwise ill-treating human rights defenders, both men and women.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Britain ‘failing people of Bahrain by whitewashing rights abuses

Thursday 7th September 2017

BRITAIN must stop “lending cover” to human rights abuses in Bahrain, Amnesty International said yesterday as it published a new report on the Gulf kingdom.

It warned of a “disastrous decline” in Bahrain’s human rights situation, saying that families have been targeted by the authorities after their relatives protested peacefully in London.

Amnesty slammed the British government for failing to investigate the reprisal attacks and whitewashing of abuses by the regime. It has written to Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt demanding answers.

The human rights group said Bahrain continues to crush dissent, with a violent crackdown on protests against the government that killed six people — including a child — along with mass arrests, the torture of detainees and the elimination of free expression.

In the last year, at least 169 critics of the Bahraini government or their family members have been detained, tortured, threatened or banned from travelling, according to the report.

The main opposition party has been dissolved, politicians have been jailed and Bahrain’s last independent newspaper has been closed down.

Despite this, the British government’s latest assessment on human rights in Bahrain refers to a “mixed picture,” with praise for the country’s “progress on its reform agenda.”

But Amnesty points to a “disturbing development” after Bahraini authorities targeted the family of prominent government critic Sayed Ahmed Alwadei, who lives in exile in Britain.

Hours after a peaceful protest in London during a visit by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa last year, his wife and young child were arrested in Bahrain, with interrogators making specific reference to his presence at the London demonstration.

Amnesty director Kate Allen said the people of Bahrain felt betrayed by the British government.

She called on the kingdom to allow representatives of the United Nations and human rights organisations into the country.

“There’s been a disastrous decline in human rights in Bahrain over the past year, but you’d never know it from the UK’s rosy pronouncements on Bahrain,” Ms Allen said.

“By accentuating the supposed positives, the UK is lending cover to Bahrain as it pursues a frightening and ever-intensifying crackdown on human rights.”

She said Britain needs to wake up to the reality of what is happening in Bahrain and must go beyond so-called “quiet diplomacy” to speak out against the regime’s human rights abuses.

The Foreign Office had not responded to the Star’s request for comment at the time of going to press.

Being pro-democracy is ‘terrorism’ in Bahrain

This video says about itself:

Ebtisam Al Saegh: We are looking forward to a decision that protects human rights defenders

23 September 2016

A Bahraini human rights defender who works for Salam for Human Rights and Democracy, Ebtisam Al Saegh was recently prevented from leaving her home country.

That was then. Now, things are even worse for her.

From Amnesty International:

Bahrain: Human rights defender charged with terrorism

19 July 2017, 18:08 UTC

Her only ‘crime’, is her bravery in challenging the government’s appalling human rights record.

Samah Hadid, Middle-East director of Campaigns for Amnesty International

The Bahraini authorities’ decision to bring terrorism charges against Ebtissam al-Saegh, a human rights defender detained since 3 July 2017, is a chilling blow to human rights in the country, said Amnesty International.

Ebtisam al-Saegh was previously tortured, including by being sexually assaulted by members of the Bahrain National Security agency while she was held in custody last May.

“Ebtisam al-Saegh is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released. Her only ‘crime’, is her bravery in challenging the government’s appalling human rights record. By charging her with terrorism for her work on human rights, the Bahraini government is itself attempting to intimidate and silence civil society in Bahrain,” said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for the Middle-East at Amnesty International.

“Amnesty International has strong reasons to believe that Ebtisam al-Saegh is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. When she was arrested in May 2017 she was beaten and sexually assaulted by members of the National Security Agency. We are deeply concerned for her well-being.

“There must be public outcry over the deteriorating situation in Bahrain. The silence of the UK government, which continues to insist that Bahrain is on a path to human rights reform, is deafening and shameful, and appears to have played a part in emboldening the Bahraini government to commit more human rights violations.”

Ebtisam al-Saegh was charged on 18 July 2017, in the presence of a lawyer, by the Terrorism Crimes Prosecution office, with “using human rights work as a cover to communicate and cooperate with Al Karama Foundation to provide them with information and fake news about the situation in Bahrain to undermine its status abroad”. She has been detained for six months pending completion of the investigation.

Ebtisam al-Saegh was arrested on 3 July 2017 after tweeting about the abuse of female detainees in Isa Town detention centre for women. She has been on hunger strike since, in protest at her arrest, her lack of access to her family and the fact that her lawyer is not allowed to attend her interrogation despite her requests to this effect.

Amnesty International learned that she was being interrogated for 12 to 13 hours daily at an undisclosed location. When not interrogated, she is being held in solitary confinement at the Isa Town detention centre for women, on the outskirts of Manama.

On 15 July, prominent human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, Nabeel Rajab, told his family that he had seen Ebtisam al-Saegh on a stretcher at the Ministry of Interior medical facility in al-Qalaa and asked them whether she had been involved in a car accident. He was unaware of her arrest.

Ebtisam al-Saegh’s husband who was able to visit her for a few minutes on 16 July said she was in a wheelchair at the time.

Bahraini jihadists lure young Indians to death for ISIS

This video from the European Parliament, of Irish Fine Gael center-right MEP Sean Kelly says about itself:

10 July 2015

I spoke in plenary this week about the breach of human rights in Bahrain, particularly in the case of Nabeel Rajab. Rajab is imprisoned in Bahrain currently for tweeting about ISIS.

More specifically, Rajab tweeted about links between the Bahraini autocratic regime and ISIS. There are many such links.

Most people in Bahrain are against its absolute monarchy. To prop up its wobbly position, the royal family relies on the Saudi autocracy and its armed forces. And also on the fanatical Saudi wahhabist state ideology, the model for the ISIS ideology.

Twitter is a social conversation! We need to exercise every pressure we can to release him. Furthermore, I think it would be prudent to set up a working group between Bahrain and the EU to work on human rights– in particular, media freedom.

From the Times of India:

Keralites radicalised youth before being killed fighting for Islamic State [ISIS] in Syria

TNN | Updated: Jul 6, 2017, 09.50 PM IST

KOZHIKODE: The Kerala youth, who were killed while fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, were the members of an extreme Salafi group in Bahrain before they joined the outfit (IS) [ISIS].

Sources told TOI that the two Salafi preachers from Kerala – one from Mankada in Malappuram and the other from Perumbavoor in Ernakulam – were instrumental in radicalising the youth. Four members of the group, including Muhadis from Vandoor, were killed in military operations within a span [of] four months in Syria.

The Salafi preachers had organised classes at a religious centre in Bahrain and at other places where they injected the extreme Salafism in the youth. A few members of the group were working with a catering company in Bahrain.

Sources said the preachers are members of a splinter group among the Kerala Salafis and have no connection with any of the established Salafi organisations in the state. One among them is currently in Mangaluru and his activities are closely monitored by the security agencies.

After getting initiated into extreme Salafism, the youth were learnt to contact some well-known Salafi scholars from Kerala who went to Bahrain at different times. “The Salafi scholars did not entertain the youth as they were found to have strong leanings towards the Islamic State,” sources said.

The youth later came into contact with Abdul Rashid Abdulla, the former employee of the Peace International School in Kozhikode, who had already become a full-fledged IS cadre. It is suspected that the Salafi preachers had a role in helping the youth in establishing contact with Abdul Rashid, who is learnt to have steered them to the IS stronghold in Syria. Rashid himself has landed in Afghanistan and is coordinating the propaganda activities of [the] Kerala module.

The unravelling of the Bahrain group has confirmed the suspicion of the security agencies that the influence of the IS runs deep[er] in Kerala than it was initially thought to be. The number of Malayalis who joined the terror outfit could be much higher than the official estimate which is based on missing cases. IS is suspected to have recruited more Malayalis working in the Gulf countries. Authorities feel that the members of the families of the IS recruits are either unaware of their migration to IS strongholds or are keeping mum due to fear of being ostracized by the society.

Insights gained regarding the Bahrain group have once again forced the law enforcing agencies to sharpen their focus on the Salafi groups in Kerala. Many youth in the Salafi organisations have lost sense of direction after the innumerable splits in the movement.

… Many of the youth who are associated with these extreme Salafi groups finally end up in the tentacles of the Islamic State [ISIS].