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

Persecuted Saudi blogger wins human rights prize

This video, recorded in Canada, says about itself:

10 Years in Jail & 1,000 Lashes: In Conversation with Ensaf Haidar

18 August 2015

In June 2012, the creator of the Free Saudi Liberals blog Raif Badawi was accused of apostasy and insulting Islam, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1 000 lashes by the General Court of Jeddah.

Vice meets with Badawi‘s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who sought refuge in Sherbrooke QC with her 3 children in 2013. They discuss the message her husband was trying to get across in his writings, … and the life she left behind in Saudi Arabia.

From the BBC in Britain today:

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi awarded Sakharov human rights prize

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose flogging sentence caused an outcry, has been awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov human rights prize.

Parliament President Martin Schulz urged Saudi King Salman “to free him, so he can accept the prize”.

Mr Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes in Saudi Arabia for “insulting Islam”.

Another example of the Saudi regime using religious pretexts to silence political criticism of itself.

Earlier this month he also won the Pen Pinter Prize for championing free speech.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded by the European Parliament since 1988 to individuals or organisations for their contribution to the fight for human rights and democracy.

It is named after the Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov.

Flogging postponed

Mr Badawi, author of the website Free Saudi Liberals, was convicted of insulting Islam in 2012 and fined £175,000.

He received the first 50 lashes of his sentence in January, but subsequent floggings have been postponed.

In June, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld the verdict despite a foreign outcry.

“This man, who is an extremely good man, an exemplary man, has had imposed on him one of the most gruesome penalties,” Mr Schulz told a packed European Parliament assembly in Strasbourg, France.

“I call on the Saudi king to immediately free him. Relations depend on human rights being respected by our partners… they are not only not being respected but are being trodden underfoot.” …

Mr Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, now living [in] Canada with their children, said the award was a “message of hope and courage”.

“I thank the European Parliament,” she told AFP news agency.

Mr Badawi was one of three nominees for this year’s prize along with assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and the Venezuelan opposition movement Mesa de la Unidad Democratica.

Fortunately, at least this year the prize goes to a genuine human rights fighter. To someone who is up against dictatorial allies of the Pentagon, NATO and the European Union. If one of the two other candidates would have won, then it would have been more of a geopolitical move to embarrass governments with which the Pentagon, NATO and the European Union have economic and/or strategic issues. As sometimes happened with the Sakharov Prize before.

Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Myanmar activist Aung San Suu Kyi and Pakistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

Two winners who deserved a human rights prize without any doubt: Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai. And one winner who half-deserved it: Ms Aung San Suu Kyi did stand up to the military regime in her country; but is silent on the state terrorism against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar (Burma).

Is your name now ‘banned’ in Saudi Arabia? Kingdom releases 50 names parents are forbidden from calling their children, such as Linda, Alice and Elaine: here.