Saudi Arabian beheadings, more and more

This video is called How Bad Are Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Violations?

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Saudi Arabia executions: Kingdom to behead 50 men convicted of terrorism offences despite Shia revolt threat

Impervious to international opinion, the desert kingdom is poised to execute more than 50 people, three of whom were under 18 when their alleged crime took place. All because of a power struggle within the ruling family

Bill Law

27 November 2015

Saudi authorities appear set in the next few days to carry out a series of beheadings across the country of more than 50 men convicted of terrorism offences. Among those facing execution are three young men who were juveniles when they were arrested.

The publication earlier this week of an article in the newspaper Okaz, which has close links to the Saudi Ministry of the Interior, has convinced families of the accused and concerned human-rights organisations that the executions are imminent.

Sources have said that the plan is to behead the men in several cities across the kingdom, most likely after Friday prayers.

Already this year Saudi Arabia has carried out at least 151 beheadings but these would be the first that deal with allegations of terrorism. Last year a total of 90 were executed but none were for terrorism offences. It is believed that seven of the condemned men are Shia from the region of Al-Awamiyah in the oil-rich Eastern Province. Saudi Shia have long protested over discrimination and mistreatment by the Sunni central government.

A leading Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al Nimr, arrested in a shootout with security forces in 2012, is among those thought to be facing execution.

The mothers of five Shia released a letter on Wednesday alleging that their sons, three of whom were juveniles at the time of their arrest, were subjected to torture while in custody. The letter says: “We affirm that our children did not kill or wound anyone. The sentences were based on confessions extracted under torture, trials that barred them from access to defence counsel and judges that displayed bias towards the prosecution.”

Baqer al Nimr, the older brother of Ali al Nimr and a nephew of Sheikh Nimr, told The Independent his brother was 17 and a juvenile when he was detained in February 2011. “Ali is a smart kid, he likes to play football, he is a photographer. He wasn’t political, he was just asking for his rights, for the rights of the Shia.”

ix months after the arrest, he saw Ali in jail. “I could see his nose was broken and I asked him what happened. He said ‘they punch everybody in here’.” Ali’s mother told Baqer that when she had first seen her younger son “she saw a lot of bruising on his face, she told me she didn’t recognise him”.

Saudi authorities consistently dismiss such claims.

Sevag Kechichian, Amnesty International’s researcher on the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Denials are absolutely not enough when there is clear evidence that points to the contrary.”

He called for a thorough and impartial investigation of the torture allegations: “These executions should not happen. Amnesty International is against the death penalty in all circumstances.”

Last month, the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said he did “not expect [Ali] al Nimr to be executed”, indicating the decision would be a victory for British diplomacy, after the UK was criticised for its links with the Saudi government. Campaigners have called on the British Government to take a more proactive stance in raising human rights issues with the kingdom.

A group of UN experts and the European Parliament have also urged Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of Ali al Nimr. The timing of the executions, should they be carried out, has much to do with a power struggle going on between Mohammad bin Nayef, the Interior Minister and crown prince, and Mohammad bin Salman, Minister of Defence, deputy crown prince and favoured younger son of King Salman.

For several years, the 30-year-old Mohammad bin Salman has served as his ailing father’s gatekeeper – the king is believed to be suffering from dementia. But since the king ascended to the throne in January his son has amassed vast new powers. In addition to his appointment as Defence Minister, he serves as chief of the royal court, and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs.

Saad al Faqih is a Saudi critic of the ruling family living in London. “Mohammad bin Salman has taken everything,” he said, adding: “Mohammad bin Nayef wants to make a statement. He wants to be seen as very strong by killing 52 people in one go.”

Mr Faqih says that Okaz would not have gone ahead with the article without clear guidance from the Ministry of Interior: “If Okaz published, it is authentic. They would not have been allowed to publish without the express permission of Mohammad bin Nayef.” He described the condemned men as “pawns in a political game”. …

Baqer al Nimr says that if his brother and the others are beheaded, he hopes there will be no violence. “We do not want to be held responsible for any blood,” he said.

For now, though, his thoughts are with his kid brother. “I taught him how to ride a bike and now he is in solitary confinement and every time they open the door he must be thinking, ‘Is now the time that they have come to kill me?’”

British Conservatives, Saudi Arabia and ISIS

This video from the USA says about itself:

ISIL/Daesh terrorists armed by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE

4 October 2014

US Vice President Joe Biden openly admits at a speech in Harvard University that ISIS terrorists were armed and funded by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Ashdown: PM must put pressure on Gulf rulers to block Isis funds

Wednesday 25th November 2015

DAVID CAMERON’S cosy connections with rich Gulf rulers means he is scared to pressurise them into cutting off funding to Islamic State (Isis), Lord Ashdown said yesterday.

The Tory PM is being told to urge Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to stem the flow of cash financing weapons and assets that end up in the hands of Isis murderers.

Mr Cameron needs to address this “failure” when he announces tomorrow how and when RAF air strikes would target Isis in Syria, the former Lib Dem leader said on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German said there is “no question” that the British monarchy and some Tories have “appalling long-standing” relationships with Saudi Arabian rulers.

Ms German added: “When the Saudi king died, the Union Jack was flown half mast and Prince Charles and the Prime Minister rushed with haste to the capital Riyadh to attend the funeral.

“When there have been human rights outcries, Mr Cameron usually defends the Saudis. Now, he is happy to tell us we need to spend billions on another war while forcing austerity.

“More people are becoming aware of this and I hope enough MPs have enough sense to vote against Syria air strikes.”

Saudi warplanes have been inactive [against ISIS; while being very active killing civilians in Yemen] for three months and Qatari ones have not flown for almost a year despite both countries being members of the US-led coalition against Isis, Lord Ashdown added.

Saudi Arabia unashamedly championed in UK security review. UK defence and security review places emphasis on human rights. Yet describes es yet describes Saudi Arabia as “vital partner”: here.

Saudi Arabian government killing more and more people

This video is about the horrible beheading of Ms Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim in Saudi Arabia. Not fit to watch for children and sensitive people.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

‘Highest number of executions in Saudi Arabia in twenty years’

Today, 01:15

Saudi Arabia this year, according to Amnesty International, executed at least 151 people. That’s the highest number since 1995, when in one year 192 people were put to death.

In May, Saudi Arabia had already the ninetieth death penalty this year. That was as many as in all of 2014.

The conservative Islamic kingdom after China and Iran

where far more people live than in not densely populated, so comparatively worse, Saudi Arabia

the country that carries out the most executions. Many people are sentenced to death for non-lethal crimes. A large majority of executions is for drug offenses.

And for ‘crimes’ like ‘witchcraft‘, or being gay, or sex outside marriage, or free speech against the dictatorial government.

The condemned people are usually beheaded in public. In January human rights organizations asked for attention to that by putting a video on the Internet of an execution of a woman from Myanmar, formerly Burma.

Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents: here.

British government helps Bahraini human rights violations

This video says about itself:

Britain, Bahrain, and torture

26 March 2015

The leader of the largest party in Bahrain is in court today for promoting political change. The UK continues to support the gulf state, with Cameron refusing to even countenance the boycott of the Bahrain Grand Prix. With recent footage showing a protest apparently shot for holding up a picture of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, will Britain step away from a regime dogged with accusations of a human rights record that includes torture. And the government also failed to respond to calls to arrest Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, who posted a selfie video of him running in Hyde Park last week.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Royal Navy base construction begins in Bahrain as Britain seeks a return to ‘East of Suez

The major strategic shift has dismayed human rights campaigners

Jamie Merrill

Sunday 1 November 2015

Construction has begun on a controversial Royal Navy base in Bahrain, as Britain’s seeks a return to “East of Suez” in a major strategic shift that has dismayed human rights campaigners.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond travelled to the Gulf kingdom this weekend to break ground on HMS Juffair, the first major naval base opened by Britain in the east of the Suez canal since 1971.

The ceremony [at] Mina Salman Port in Bahrain comes as the UK is pushing to strengthen economic and military ties in the region, but has prompted outcry from human rights campaigners who say the ruling Al Khalifa family in Bahrain is overseeing an on-going crackdown on human rights and freedom of expression.

Mr Hammond said the beginning of construction at Mina Slaman Port marked a “watershed moment” in the UK’s commitment to the region and ensuring stability in the Gulf.

The Royal Navy base was first announced in December last year, amid allegations the base was “reward” for Britain’s silence over on-going human rights violations in the Gulf state. Since then Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have noted with growing concern that the Bahraini government has arrested a sting of political leaders.

This weekend’s announcement that construction has started on the base, which will support four UK minesweepers as well as visiting frigates and destroyers, has provoked fresh criticism as it comes after a major Amnesty International report found that human rights abuses continued “unabated” in Bahrain.

The report, which was released earlier this year, documented dozens of cases of detainees being beaten, deprived of sleep and adequate food, burned with cigarettes, sexually assaulted and subjected to electric shocks.

“All the British government’s policies show is a commitment to military expansion at the cost of human rights,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of Advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy. “Bahrain continues to systemically arbitrarily arrest, torture and silence any critic of the government. This new base is totally inappropriate.”

Campaigners are also dismayed that the Royal Navy has chosen to name HMS Juffair after a 1930s colonial base in the country, amid suggestions that the UK is “celebrating a legacy of repression”. …

The base will provide support and accommodation for around 80 UK military personnel based in Bahrain, and end a British reliance on the facilities of the far larger US Navy Fifth Fleet which is also based at the port. It is expected to be complete by autumn 2016 and will eventually provide port facilities for the Royal Navy’s new generation of aircraft carriers.

It is expected to be opposed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who put down an Early Day Motion in Parliament against the new base in February. It argued that the base would be “deeply upsetting for those who suffered human rights abuses by the government of Bahrain” and would “exacerbate tensions in the region.”

See also here.

Questions raised over legality of new UK base in Bahrain: here.

Top Bahrain activist Nabeel Rajab calls for release of al-Singace to attend his mother’s funeral: here.

Also from The Independent, 1 November 2015:

UK-Saudi talks on ‘judicial co-operation’

Britain is still in discussions with Saudi Arabia about co-operating on justice issues despite cancelling a bid to run prison training services in the Gulf state, the Human Rights minister has revealed.

Dominic Raab said the British Embassy in Riyadh was in “ongoing discussions” with the Saudi authorities on possible areas of judicial co-operation but that the Government has not yet carried out any work in the country.

The talks relate to a memorandum of understanding signed in September 2014 designed to foster “dialogue on human rights and an exchange of expertise on justice and legal matters”, according to the Government.

The admission – in a series of written parliamentary answers to Labour’s justice spokesman Andy Slaughter – comes just weeks after the Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, succeeded amid cabinet opposition in cancelling the £5.9m prison training bid in Saudi Arabia – a country notorious for public beheadings, floggings and torture.

Arj Singh