Newsletter #133

Bahrain | Updates from the Ground | News & Opinion

Saudi Arabia | Other Gulf States | UN Complaint Program



Urgent Action: Detention of Ali Isa al-Tajer

Ali Isa Ali al-Tajer is a Bahraini citizen and the brother of Mohamed al-Tajer, a prominent human rights lawyer and human rights defender in Bahrain. Security forces arrested Ali on 5 November 2015 and held him almost entirely incommunicado for 25 days. On 30 November, the public prosecution brought Ali to court on terror charges based on a coerced confession. When he was finally given access to his lawyers, Ali reported that the authorities tortured and forced him to sign documents while blindfolded. Mohamed fears that the Government of Bahrain may have targeted Ali in retaliation against Mohamed’s human rights work and assistance to international human rights organizations. His reports of torture are consistent with the pattern most recently documented by Human Rights Watch and in ADHRB’s latest report, Shattering the Facade.

International attention may be Ali’s only hope to end his abuse and secure his release. Help us stop the abuse by sending letters to Bahrain’s king urging Ali’s immediate release..

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More from ADHRB

December Champions for Justice: The al-Khawaja Family

Updates from the Ground

  • Authorities arrested 10 individuals; 2 were later released.
  • Courts upheld, altered, or sentenced 10 individuals to 34 years in prison, collectively, and postponed the trials of 5 individuals.
  • The public prosecution renewed pretrial detention periods for Ebrahim Karimi and former MP Sheikh Hasan Isa for an additional 30 days each.
  • The parliament approved an amendment that expands the anti-terrorism law, granting police officers greater arrest authority.

Click here for the full report.

News and Opinion

Is the Ironman Triathlon Becoming a Sport for Dictators?

On 5 December 2015, the U.S. triathlon promoter Ironman held its first competition in the Middle East. But by choosing Bahrain as its host, Ironman is teaming up with a royal family that has arrested top athletes and thousands of others who called for political reforms.  Read More

Lawyers Targeted, Prisoners Tortured; This is Bahrain

Brian Dooley of Human Rights First (HRF) writes that Bahrain’s latest PR effort, the ‘This is Bahrain’ showcase, presents a “parallel universe version of the repressive kingdom.” In reality, as evidenced by the government’s recent refusal to support a UN resolution aimed at protecting human rights defenders, Bahrain is a place where “lawyers continue to be targeted, dissidents arrested and prisoners tortured.” Read More

Zainab al-Khawaja At Risk of Arrest After Appeals Court Upholds One Year Sentence

Amnesty International reports that Zainab al-Khawaja’s one-year sentence for speaking out in defense of another prisoner while she was in prison in June 2013, and her four-month sentence for ripping up photos of the King of Bahrain in May 2012 have been upheld on appeal. She has been sentenced to a total of three years and one month in prison and is at risk of immediate rearrest. Read More

Arabic Sources

Bahrain: Reports of Torture and Strict Security Measures in Building 14 at Jau Prison

Click here for a PDF of this article in English

Saudi Arabia

Tell Congress to say NO to providing more arms for the Saudi-led war in Yemen!

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led an airstrike campaign in Yemen that frequently targets residential neighborhoods and civil infrastructure, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths. The U.S. State Department recently approved a sale of $1.29 billion worth of munitions to Saudi Arabia to restock its air force, despite clear evidence of human rights and laws-of-war violations by Saudi-led coalition forces. By refusing to investigate the Saudi government’s violations of international humanitarian law and providing additional arms to Saudi Arabia, the United States would be complicit in these violations. But with your help, we can stop this weapons sale. Click the link below to tell your representative NO to more arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition!

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News and Opinion

Saudi Arabia sentences maid to death by stoning for adultery – but the man she slept with will escape with 100 lashes

A Saudi court has sentenced a female Sri Lankan domestic worker in Riyadh to death by stoning for adultery. Her male partner, however, was sentenced to only 100 lashes, purportedly because he is unmarried. The Sri Lankan government is now calling on the kingdom to issue a pardon. Read More

Saudi Arabia uses terrorism as an excuse for human rights abuses

Arjun Sethi, a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, argues that the Saudi government “uses the law as a tool to maintain and consolidate power,”  erroneously justifying the increased use of torture and capital punishment against dissidents as part of its war on terror. The kingdom often escapes moral condemnation in large part because of its close relationship with the US. Read More

Saudi Arabian divorced women and widows to get greater legal powers

The Guardian reports that Saudi Arabia is to allow divorced women and widows to manage family affairs without approval from a man or a court order. This would be a major step towards lifting some of the legal powers men hold over female relatives.  Read More

Other Gulf States

100 Days Later: Where is Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith?

Dr. Nasser bin Ghaith is a prominent economics professor and human rights defender in the United Arab Emirates. The government first arrested Dr. bin Ghaith in April 2011, after he petitioned the government to institute democratic reforms. On 27 November 2011, the Federal Supreme Court sentenced bin Ghaith and four others to between two and three years in prison. However, President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan pardoned Dr. bin Ghaith and his co-defendants the next day. Dr. bin Ghaith managed to avoid re-arrest until 18 August 2015, when plain-clothes police officers reportedly searched his home, forced him into the back of a car, and disappeared him into the Emirati security apparatus. It has been over 100 days since he was last seen or heard from. The authorities’ continued refusal to disclose Dr. bin Ghaith’s location, or even acknowledge his arrest, violates his right to freedom from arbitrary detention and puts him at especially acute risk of ill treatment.

Read More…

News and Opinion

The Tip of a Bloody Iceberg: Colombian Mercenaries in Yemen

In the wake of reports that 800 Colombian special forces veterans will be fighting alongside the UAE military in Yemen, W.T. Whitney of Counterpunch discusses Colombia’s history of providing security assistance to “countries within the U.S. orbit.” Read More

Yemen peace talks to start December 15 alongside ceasefire: UN

The United Nations special envoy to Yemen announced on 7 December 2015that the parties to Yemen’s ongoing conflict are “expected to observe a humanitarian truce” and engage in peace talks beginning on 15 December. Read More

Qatar rejects rights group report on ‘rampant’ labor practices

According to Reuters, Qatar’s Government Communications Office claims that a recent Amnesty International report detailing the violation of the rights of migrant laborers in the country “does not accurately reflect the progress” Qatar has made in reforming its labor system. Read More

Are you a victim of a human rights abuse in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or other GCC states?

Document your case with the Special Procedures of the United Nations through ADHRB’s UN Complaint Program.

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