British government complicit in Bahrain atrocities


This 13 July 2020 video says about itself:

Death sentences for two Bahraini activists Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa have been upheld by the kingdom’s highest court.

Rights groups say the two men were convicted of a 2014 bombing of a police convey based on confessions gained by torture.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain today:

Government silent as execution looms for tortured pro-democracy campaigners in Bahrain

BAHRAIN’S highest court upheld death sentences against two tortured pro-democracy protesters today after the British government refused to intervene in their cases.

Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, who were both tortured by security services and convicted on the basis of forced “confessions,” could now be executed at any time, warns human rights organisation Reprieve.

Director Maya Foa said that Britain must “loudly and publicly intervene” by calling for the sentences to be commuted.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, branded the court’s ruling “yet another dark stain in the struggle for human rights in Bahrain.”

He added: “This horrendous injustice could not have happened without the tacit acceptance of Bahrain’s Western allies.”

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen called on the British government to “denounce this court decision in the strongest possible terms” as there was “clear evidence of brutal torture” to force “confessions.”

The Court of Cassation’s verdict was announced by the Bahraini Public Prosecutor’s Office on Instagram and Twitter.

Last week, British ministers repeatedly declined to make public representations to Bahrain, a former British protectorate with which it has a close relationship.

Labour is now calling on Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to urgently address the situation in the Commons on Tuesday.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy said: “In a case where the UK is clearly able to exert influence, the government must not remain silent.

“The torture of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa was horrific and clear evidence presented that their confessions [were] coerced.

“The UK government cannot claim to be standing up for pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong but fail to apply the same principles to Bahrain.

“Last week, ministers acknowledged the ‘close and important’ relationship between the UK and Bahrain. The Foreign Secretary must come to the House of Commons [on Tuesday] and assure MPs that we will not be bystanders when we have the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to defending human rights.”

Last week, ministers insisted that they would only intervene after the court had made a decision.

This was despite demands from thousands of members of the public, MPs and peers of all parties for action before the court’s likely decision to uphold the death sentences was announced.

On Thursday, Liverpool Riverside Labour MP Kim Johnson urged the government to make “effective representations” in the cases before the court published its verdict.

Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly replied: “I assure her that if the death penalties are upheld through the Court of Cassation process, the UK will publicly and loudly remind Bahrain of our opposition to the death penalty, and we will continue to seek to have it set aside.”

Since 2012, Britain has provided £6.5 million of technical assistance to Bahrain, including training Bahrain’s Prisons Ombudsman and its Special Investigations Unit (SIU), two institutions which failed to properly investigate the torture of Mr Ramadhan and Mr Moosa.

The two men were granted a case review and their original death sentences were overturned after they made credible claims that they had been tortured.

But in January, the high court reimposed their death sentences, stating that the SIU investigation had shown that Mr Moosa’s confession, implicating Mr Ramadhan, had not been obtained through torture and could be relied upon.

An assessment by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims concluded that the SIU investigation “fails to meet the minimum professional standards and minimum international legal standards to which the kingdom of Bahrain is subject.”

It raised additional concerns that the SIU is neither independent nor impartial and found that the January court judgement was “critically flawed.”

Coronavirus and Bahraini political prisoners news


Banner by Zaanstad prisoners, photo by Jolanda van Velzen

This photo by Jolanda van Velzen in Zaanstad in the Netherlands shows a banner made by inmates of the local prison. It says: ‘We stay inside. So should you‘. Apparently, in the Zaanstad prison there is space for spatial distancing during the coronavirus crisis. So, the prisoners don’t lose their sense of humour.

The situation in many prisons all over the world is much worse.

From Reuters news agency:

In overcrowded cells, Bahrain’s political prisoners fear coronavirus threat

9 April 2020

DUBAI – When jailed Bahraini activist Abdullah Habeeb Swar developed a bad cough that lasted several days, his 14 cellmates feared he might have contracted the coronavirus and would spread it through their overcrowded wing.

They share a cell designed to sleep eight in one of three wings in Manama’s Jaw prison reserved for detainees sentenced on security-related charges.

“You can imagine how scared they were,” Swar told Reuters by telephone, referring to last month’s coughing fits.

He is one of hundreds of opposition politicians, activists, journalists and human rights defenders sentenced in mass trials. Detained in 2019 after six years in hiding and serving a 40-year term, Swar said he was not seen by a doctor.

Western-allied Bahrain has come under pressure from human rights organisations over prison conditions including overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of medical care.

In common with other countries in the Middle East and beyond, it has freed some prisoners … in response to the epidemic. The country has recorded more than 800 COVID-19 cases with five deaths.

But the around 1,500 freed so far exclude individuals jailed on national security grounds.

Rights groups including Amnesty International last week jointly called Bahraini authorities to release those who “peacefully exercised their rights to freedom of expression”, especially elderly prisoners or those with existing health conditions.

“The authorities don’t like to be seen to bend to political pressure,” said Marc Owen Jones of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.

Mass trials became commonplace in Bahrainhome to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet – after a failed uprising in 2011 … Since then, the country has seen sporadic clashes between protesters and security forces

OPPOSITION LEADERS

Rights group have particularly voiced concern for ageing detainees or those with medical conditions, including opposition leader Hassan Mushaima and activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja.

Al Khawaja turned 60 this week and he is the youngest,” said Ala’a Shehabi, a researcher at University College London.

Prominent among younger political detainees are Sheikh Ali Slaman, leader of dissolved opposition group al-Wefaq, and human rights defender Nabeel Rajab.

Prison authorities have banned family visits as a precaution, inmate Ali Hussein al-Haji told Reuters by telephone. But he and other prisoners said most prison guards and other staff do not wear protective gear.

“If coronavirus were to spread in Bahrain’s overcrowded prison, the effect will be catastrophic,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.

Lords call on government to save Bahraini torture victims from execution: here.

British military collaboration with torturing Bahrain dictatorship


This video is called Systematic torture in Bahrain.

British General Paul Nanson (fourth left) dines with other commanders in Bahrain

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Sandhurst commander flies to Bahrain for jolly with alumni

THE commander of Sandhurst has flown to the Middle East to dine with foreign alumni from the British military academy.

General Paul Nanson spent time this week in Bahrain, a Gulf monarchy whose autocratic ruler King Hamad trained at Sandhurst and is now patron of the Sandhurst Trust.

Leaders of the Royal Navy’s officer academy in Dartmouth and the Royal Air Force College in Cranwell also took part in the trip to Bahrain for an “inaugural tri-service Middle East alumni event.”

Military personnel from Gulf dictatorships routinely train at armed forces academies in Britain, especially Sandhurst.

Sayed AlWadaei from the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird) told the Morning Star: “King Hamad, himself a Sandhurst graduate, has donated millions of pounds to the school and in return one of the halls of residence now bears his name.

“Sandhurst has a long history of training the Middle East’s most vicious dictators and King Hamad is exemplary in this regard.

“Make no mistake, this toxic relationship should never be normalised.”

The dictators of Jordan and Oman both have buildings at Sandhurst named after them.

Bahraini Khashoggi-style murder prevented in London, England


This 10 August 2019 video from England says about itself:

Bahraini activist says he feared for his life at London embassy

A Bahraini activist says he feared being thrown from the roof of his country’s embassy in London during a protest in July.

Moosa Mohammad scaled the roof of the Gulf state’s embassy to protest against the executions of two Bahraini activists.

Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports from London.

Another ‘Khashoggi’ murder prevented in London, England?


This 9 August 2019 video says about itself:

London police break into Bahrain Embassy and possibly save Moosa Mohammed’s life

New Evidence Reveals Bahraini Embassy Staff [in London] Threatening Life of Protester: here.

This was not the Saudi embassy in Turkey, where Khashoggi was murdered. It was the embassy of the kingdom of Bahrain, a Saudi vassal monarchy, in London.

This 7 August 2019 British TV video says about itself:

Police break down door of Bahrain Embassy in UK after roof protester ‘threatened’

Moosa Mohammed was so keen to protest the imminent execution of two men in Bahrain last month that he climbed onto the roof of the Bahraini embassy in London to unfurl a banner.

Then, as other protestors and police watched from below, the embassy staff appeared to struggle with him. In an unprecedented move police broke in and arrested him. He claims the Bahrainis threatened his life … Mr Mohammed has spoken to our Senior Home Affairs Correspondent Simon Israel who has been investigating what really happened.

French Macron meets Bahraini absolute monarch


Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, right, is greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron before a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, today

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Macron urged to demand Bahraini king releases political prisoners during state visit

Failing to raise the issue would be ‘a stain on France’s historical commitment to human rights’, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said

Hundreds of thousands of French workers demonstrated on Thursday as part of a nationwide public sector strike to oppose the Emmanuel Macron government’s draft law on the “modernization” of the public sector: here.

British Conservatives train Bahraini prison torturers


British Conservative prime minister Theresa May poses with Bahrain's tyrannical king Hamad Bin Isa Khalifa

By Phil Miller in Britain:

Friday, April 26, 2019

Bahraini jail guards visit Britain for training

PRISON guards from a brutal Middle Eastern dictatorship visited Britain for training shortly before Easter, it has emerged.

Their visit was reported in Bahraini newspaper Akhbar Al Khaleej, which supports the regime.

The delegation was led by Brigadier General Abdul Salam al-Araifi, a senior figure in Bahrain’s prison system, it said.

The small Gulf island has the one of the largest proportions of people behind bars in the Middle East.

Many of them are political prisoners jailed for opposing the country’s king Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa.

The newspaper report said the visit was designed “to exchange experiences” and “discuss various aspects of co-operation in developing the work of correctional institutions.”

The visit has alarmed a Bahraini exile in Britain.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), said it was “appalling.”

Bird is especially concerned that senior officials from Jau prison could have been part of the delegation.

“Multiple reports have highlighted mistreatment and torture in Jau Prison and there are countless recorded cases of authorities denying inmates adequate medical care,” Mr Alwadaei said.

It is not known which prisons in Britain the Bahrainis visited.

The Scottish and Northern Irish prison services told the Morning Star no-one from Bahrain had visited in April.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it received international visitors “all the time” and did not keep a central log of visits.

However the MoJ said it was not involved in arranging this particular visit, and directed the Star to the Foreign Office – which then did not respond to requests for comment.

Bird said: “It is highly ironic that Bahrain has shown a greater openness about British involvement than the [British] government.

“Parliamentarians must not allow this scandal to pass without asking serious questions.”

Bahraini regime torturers’ British training


This November 2015 video says about itself:

Human Rights Watch Accuses Bahrain Of Torturing Detainees

A new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says that security forces in Bahrain are still torturing detainees.

By Phil Miller in Britain:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Human rights campaigners warn academics not to train Bahraini police

‘Instead of training torturers, perhaps the Huddersfield University academics should focus on Bahrain’s unjust criminal justice system,’ Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy says

ACADEMICS from Britain are teaching at a police academy in the Middle East despite concerns that its officers are involved in human rights abuses.

Two Huddersfield University lecturers are visiting Bahrain’s Royal Police Academy to discuss interview techniques.

Psychologists Dr John Synnott and Dr Maria Ioannou are delivering a masters programme in security science on behalf of the university.

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy advocacy director Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei told the Morning Star: “It’s really shocking to see academics from Huddersfield University equipping the Bahraini police force – which boasts a record of murdering individuals through torture without accountability – with techniques that will only empower state repression.

“Last week, 138 individuals, including children, were sentenced and revoked of their citizenship in a single trial.

“Is this the standard that Huddersfield University expects from their partner?

“Instead of training torturers on how to break victims more efficiently, perhaps academics should focus their efforts on assessing the unjust operations of the Bahraini criminal justice system.”

The Huddersfield scheme was inaugurated by the university’s chancellor Prince Andrew last April.

A spokesperson for Huddersfield University confirmed that it was working with Bahrain’s Interior Ministry, adding: “The masters programme covers subjects including investigative psychology, forensic psychology, computer science (cyber security), forensic science and criminology and includes a dissertation.

“The course is delivered at the academy by Huddersfield staff who usually spend approximately two weeks in the country teaching the students.

“The first cohort of 26 police officers graduated in March this year.”

Bahraini human rights violations protest in London


Bahraini Ali Mushaima protesting at London embassy

By Phil Miller in London, England:

Monday, April 1, 2019

Bahraini opposition leader’s son resumes London embassy protest

THE son of a jailed Bahraini opposition leader has resumed his vigil outside the country’s embassy in London after a six-month gap.

Ali Mushaima returned to Belgrave Square today where he previously spent 46 days on hunger strike.

He re-erected a banner of his father, 71-year-old Hassan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court in 2011 during the Arab Spring.

Mr Mushaima said: “I find myself having to come back to the embassy as the Bahrain government is deliberately denying my 71-year-old father his human rights, including medical care.

“I don’t want to wait until his health completely fails. I will do whatever I can to fight for justice for my father.”

Mr Mushaima is a cancer survivor who still suffers from diabetes, erratic blood pressure, prostate issues and an ear injury.

The British government has paid to train Bahraini jailers in prison medical procedures, but the Mushaima family says healthcare at Jau prison is inadequate.

Dutch government helps Bahraini torture regime


Ali Mohammed al-Showaikh with a child, Amnesty photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Deported Bahraini sentenced to life imprisonment without a fair trial

A Bahraini asylum seeker who has been deported by the Netherlands has been sentenced to life imprisonment without a fair trial in his native country. Amnesty International and the Refugee Foundation report this, based on conversations with his family and lawyer.

The citizenship of 27-year-old Ali Mohammed al-Showaikh was also taken away and he was fined 1000 euros.

Brother

Showaikh fled to the Netherlands in 2017 because he was afraid of reprisals because of the political activities of his brother. He received no asylum and last October he had to return to Bahrain.

There, according to Amnesty, he was arrested and jailed on arrival without confidential access to a lawyer. He is said to also have signed a confession under pressure and was tortured. Last Thursday he was convicted on the basis of “broadly and vaguely formulated terrorism legislation“.

Human rights violation

Amnesty and the Refugee Foundation say that the Netherlands is guilty of a serious human rights violation, because Showaikh was sent back while “it is known how Bahrain deals with relatives of political activists“.

Since 2016, the human rights situation has deteriorated and more than 150 critics or their family members have been subjected to severe repression, Amnesty reported earlier.

NRC daily has asked the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) to respond to this life imprisonment, but the IND says they “never go into individual cases.”

Dutch goverrnment criticized about this: here.