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UK to investigate Saudi use of cluster bombs, regime’s crimes continue in Bahrain


Britain is investigating reports that cluster munitions have been used by a Saudi-led coalition during the ongoing war on Yemen, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told parliament on Tuesday 24th May. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies have been mercilessly bombing Yemen illegally and in criminal ways. “The MoD (Ministry of Defence) is now urgently investigating the allegations that have been made,” Hammond told parliament. He said the weapons described in Amnesty’s report were decades old, and that it was now illegal to use or supply such bombs under British law. Amnesty International said on Monday it had documented Saudi use of cluster bombs in Yemen that had been manufactured in Britain. Banned UK-manufactured cluster bombs have been found in Yemen leading to calls for the UK to come clean on its weapon sales and military support to Saudi Arabia. An unexploded BL-755 cluster bomb, designed to be dropped from the UK-made Tornado aircraft used by the Saudi Air Force was found in a village in the north of Yemen. Several NGOs confirmed that Saudis had committed war crimes in their aggression on Yemen.


A district judge in London has refused to allow the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to appeal against the acquittal of eight anti–arms trade activists including one Bahraini victim of repression, who were charged with blockading the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair in London last September. In April, the campaigners were cleared after district judge Angus Hamilton at Stratford magistrates’ court accepted their defence that they were taking action to prevent a crime because of the possibility that illegal weapons were being sold. The five men and three women argued they had been trying to stop the sale of weapons to regimes accused of human rights abuses when they were charged with wilful obstruction of the highway after blocking military vehicles from entering the ExCel centre in east London. Hamilton accepted this defence, saying: “[There is] clear, credible, and largely unchallenged evidence from the expert witnesses of wrongdoing at DSEI and compelling evidence that it took place in 2015.” The ruling has wider political significance, because MPs from the committee on arms export control have confirmed illegality at arms fairs which will now become part of an inquiry into the trade.


Another native Bahraini has been persecuted by Alkhalifa tribal rule. Senior laywer, Taimoor Karimi has been ordered by their court to leave the country. His nationality had been revoked earlier, together with more than 250 native Bahrainis. Yesterday Amnesty International (AI) issued an Urgent Action about Mr Karimi’s case. It said: The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness also prohibits, bar a very small number of tightly drawn exceptions, any loss of nationality which results in statelessness. Subsequently, the obligation to avoid statelessness has been recognized as a norm of customary international law. International human rights law and standards also prohibit arbitrary deportation and the exiling of persons from their own country.  AI urged people to write immediately in Arabic English, or your own language: Urging the Bahraini authorities not to proceed with the expulsion of Taimoor Karimi; Urging them to rescind the decision to strip him of his nationality.


Yesterday Alkhalifa court passed one year jail sentence on Sheikh Mohammad Al Mansi for criticising Alkhalifa tribal dictatorship. He has been in detention for the past two months. The verdict came amid growing institutionalised repression by the regime. Last week a new draconian law, proposed by the royal court and endorsed by regime’s cronies at the powerless parliament bans religious scholars from membership of political societies. On 16 May 2016, members of Alkhalifa parliament were ordered to pass a draft amending article 5 of the Political Societies Law (2005), which prevents any religious figure who delivers a sermon from joining political societies or from participating in political activities. This is another example of the harassment the regime exercises on opposition members based on their religious beliefs. On 19th May five native Bahrainis from Sitra were sentenced to seven years: Sayed Hussain Abdulla Alawi AlAlawi, Mansoor Abdul Karim AlTauq, Ahmad Mohammad Ain Draboh and Mahmood Jassim AlTawq. Five others from Sanabis Town were given similar sentences: Ammar Mirza AlSadiq, Qassim Mohammad Ahmad, Mohammad Abdul Shahid Ibrahim and Sayed Jaffar Al Falla.


The past week has seen many arrests and home raids. Yesterday ten people were detained in house raids in Sitra. On 20th May, Mohammed Ahmed Abdulatheem was arrested in Manama. Alkhawaja added. From Sitra Ahmad Abdul Sadiq, 22, was snatched from his father’s house. Prisoners at the notorious Jaw Prison have begun hunger strike to protest the criminal treatment by Alkhalifa mercenaries of native Bahrainis.


Bahrain Freedom Movement

25th May 2016


(info@vob.org , www.vob.org)

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