6/30/2018

ALI SALMAN PROSCIOLTO: UNA VITTORIA STORICA PER LA LIBERTÀ NEL BAHRAIN

https://caffedeigiornalisti.it/9119-ali-salman-libero/

Una sentenza storica per la libertà di espressione in un Paese che certo non fa scuola per i diritti civili: Ali Salman, sceicco dal noto attivismo per i locali in Bahrain, è stato prosciolto da tutte le accuse di spionaggio insieme a due colleghi bahreniti, Hassan Ali Juma Sultan e Ali Mahdi Ali al-Aswad. Si tratta di una rara vittoria, nel panorama sconcertante delle politiche repressive del Governo del Bahrain.
Ali Salman è l’uomo che aveva guidato il partito politico Al-Wefaq, il più grande gruppo di opposizione sciita in Bahrain, ed è riconosciuto come figura centrale nelle proteste della primavera araba del Bahrain del 2011. L’avvocato di Salman, Abdulla al-Shamlawi, ha dichiarato che il chierico sarebbe stato rilasciato dopo aver scontato circa quattro anni di prigione per un altro caso giudiziario aspramente criticato a livello internazionale. “Stanno disinnescando la protesta”, ha dichiarato al-Shamlawi all’Observer: “E questo è molto buono.” Il governo del Bahrain e i media statali non hanno immediatamente commentato il verdetto della corte, così come non si trova – perché la libertà di stampa è una chimera, nel Bahrain – nessuna traccia di report sui media locali.
Salman ha 52 anni ed è stato preso di mira dal governo da tempo: già nel 1994, quando fu arrestato, torturato e detenuto per mesi senza processo, prima di essere deportato e costretto a vivere in esilio per oltre 15 anni. Era una figura di spicco nelle proteste della primavera araba del Bahrain nel 2011, in cui la maggioranza sciita dell’isola e altri oppositori richiedevano più libertà dalla monarchia sunnita.
Nel dicembre 2014, due giorni dopo essere stato rieletto come segretario generale di Al-Wefaq, Salman era stato nuovamente arrestato dalle forze di sicurezza. Questa volta, i pubblici ministeri lo avevano portato sotto processo con l’accusa di aver insultato il ministero dell’Interno, incitato altri a infrangere la legge, all’odio contro i cittadini sunniti naturalizzati, molti dei quali operavano nelle forze di sicurezza dell’isola. Salman e altri due funzionari di Al-Wefaq, lo sceicco Hassan Ali Juma Sultan e Ali Mahdi Ali al-Aswad, sono stati accusati di spionaggio. Le accuse sono arrivate dopo che la televisione di Stato del Bahrain, in agosto del 2017, aveva trasmesso le telefonate registrate tra Salman e l’allora primo ministro del Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, durante le proteste del 2011.
Le accuse riguardavano anche il coinvolgimento dei media qatarini nel caso di spionaggio e di come il Qatar abbia “usato” politicamente tali informazioni, alcune molto riservate, che riguardavano  spostamenti e logisicta della famiglia regnante al Khalifa. Il Bahrain è uno dei quattro Paesi arabi che hanno boicottato il Qatar da oltre un anno, come parte di una più ampia disputa diplomatica. L’appello tra Salman e l’ufficiale del Qatar all’epoca mirava a risolvere pacificamente le proteste del 2011, che si sono concluse quando le forze di sicurezza del Bahrain, degli Emirati e dell’Arabia hanno represso violentemente le manifestazioni.
L’ 11 giugno scorso, re Hamad Al Khalifa ha emanato una legge che vieta la candidatura alle elezioni ai membri di partiti politici, criminali e detenuti che hanno ricevuto il perdono reale. Questa decisione pare essere ad hoc, in vista delle prossime elezioni che si terranno a novembre in Bahrain.

6/21/2018

Imprisoned Bahrain opposition leader acquitted in spy case


BY JON GAMBRELL
Associated Press


DUBAI, 

A prominent Shiite cleric in Bahrain who led a now-shuttered
opposition party was acquitted Thursday of spying charges with two
colleagues, marking a rare victory for activists in the island kingdom
amid a yearslong clampdown on dissent.

Sheikh Ali Salman headed the Al-Wefaq political party, the largest
Shiite opposition group in the kingdom, and served as a central figure
in Bahrain's 2011 Arab Spring protests.

A lawyer previously involved with Salman's case, Abdulla al-Shamlawi,
said the cleric would be released after he finished serving some four
years in prison in another case widely criticized internationally.

"It is defusing unnecessary circumstances," al-Shamlawi said. "It is very good."

Bahrain's government and state-run media did not immediately comment
on the court's verdict.

Salman, 52, long has been targeted by Bahrain's government. In 1994,
he was arrested, tortured and detained for months without trial before
being deported and forced to live in exile for over 15 years,
according to the United Nations.

He was a prominent figure in Bahrain's Arab Spring protests in 2011,
in which the island's Shiite majority and others demanded more
freedoms from the Sunni monarchy.

In December 2014, two days after being re-elected as Al-Wefaq's
secretary-general, Salman was again arrested by security forces. This
time, prosecutors brought him to trial on charges he insulted the
Interior Ministry, which oversees police, incited others to break the
law and incited hatred against naturalized Sunni citizens, many of
whom serve in the island's security forces. While Bahrain's
constitution guarantees freedom of expression, authorities routinely
arrest and charge activists over their comments.

The U.N.'s Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions issued a report in
November 2015 criticizing the arrest and calling for Salman's release.
The report also described its decision as "only one of several
opinions that have found Bahrain to be in violation of its
international human rights obligations."

In Thursday's case, Salman and two other officials from Al-Wefaq,
Sheikh Hassan Ali Juma Sultan and Ali Mahdi Ali al-Aswad, faced spying
charges. The charges came after Bahrain state television in August
aired recorded telephone calls between Salman and Qatar's then-Prime
Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani during the 2011 protests. It
remains unclear who gave state television the recordings, though
activists suspect the island's intelligence services leaked the call.

Bahrain is one of four Arab countries that have been boycotting Qatar
for over a year as part of a wider diplomatic dispute.

The call between Salman and the Qatari official at the time were aimed
at peacefully resolving the 2011 protests, which ended when Bahraini,
Emirati and Saudi security forces violently put down the
demonstrations. 

6/14/2018

Bahrain king enacts law on banning candidates from elections

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/bahrain-king-enacts-law-on-banning-candidates-from-elections/2018/06/11/b1391a58-6d82-11e8-b4d8-eaf78d4c544c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.156d58582aeb

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bahrain’s king has enacted a law banning members of banned political parties, felons and convicts who later had received royal pardons from standing as candidates for elections.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s decision Monday effectively blocks Bahrain’s opposition from taking part in parliamentary elections likely to take place in November. His decision was announced by the state-run Bahrain News Agency.
Opposition political parties have been disbanded by court order in Bahrain, part of a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent in the island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain’s parliament, stacked with government loyalists, earlier passed the law enacted by the king.
Activists have been imprisoned and forced into exile as part of the crackdown.
Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet and a British naval base.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

6/11/2018

Shaikha Hala of Bahrain passes away

https://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/shaikha-hala-of-bahrain-passes-away-1.2234313

Shaikha Hala Bint Daji Al Khalifa, the mother of Prince Issa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, passed away late on Saturday night

Dubai: Shaikha Hala Bint Daji Al Khalifa, the mother of Prince Issa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, passed away late on Saturday night, according to Bahrain News Agency.
Shaikha Hala was married to Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The couple had four children, including their son Prince Issa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, who is second in line to the throne after his father. Shaikha Hala kept a low profile, but launched an anti-child abuse programme in the island kingdom in 2003.She also did other charity work.

Statement

In a statement released on Sunday, Bahrain's Royal Court said: "The Royal Court has mourned the demise of Her Highness Shaikha Hala Bint Duaij Al Khalifa, the mother of His Highness Shaikh Isa Bin Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, praying unto Allah to grant His mercy and bliss upon her in His vast paradise."President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan sent a message of condolences to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on the death of the late Shaikha Hala Bint Daij Al KhalifaHis Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, also sent similar condolence messages to King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.

6/06/2018

Bahrain’s King Hamad, backed by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, seeking to unseat Prime Minister: Report


http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/06/05/564022/Bahrains-King-Hamad-backed-by-Crown-Prince-of-Abu-Dhabi-seeking-to-unseat-Prime-Minister-Report

Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, supported by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, is reportedly devising plans to get rid of the kingdom’s long-serving Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifah, and replace him with a member of his inner circle.
According to a report published by the London-based pan-Arab daily newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, Bahrain’s 68-year-old monarch is mulling over dismissing his paternal uncle, who has been the country’s prime minister since 1970, and appointing his fourth son Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifah in his place.
Informed sources, requesting anonymity, said King Hamad would resort to changes in the mandate of the state Covenant as a more plausible scenario to fulfill his ambitions, otherwise, he and Al Nahyan have to concoct another scheme.
The same source further noted that the dismissal of the Bahraini prime minister will undoubtedly plunge the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom into great turmoil.
Political pundits see two reasons for the agreement between Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan on favored changes in Bahrain’s political arena.
Firstly, the Bahraini ruler would remove a person, whose presence in the country’s political scene has long been haunting him, and created the notion that the real administration of the country is in the hands of the prime minister.
Secondly, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi would get rid of a strong man, who tends to resist the absolute dominance of the United Arab Emirates on Bahrain.
It is not yet clear whether Saudi Arabia, which considers Bahrain as its backyard, would come on board and support a change in Bahrain’s political leadership, or whether it would exercise utmost caution about such a move.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.   
The Bahraini monarch ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3 last year.

Bahrain Court Upholds Man Death Sentence Convicted of Killing Security Officer


https://www.albawaba.com/news/bahrain-court-upholds-man-death-sentence-convicted-killing-security-officer-1141636


The Bahrain Court of Cassation on Monday upheld a death sentence against a Bahraini national convicted of killing a security man as a result of a terrorist act.
The convicted man had planned with a cell of 12 members to target security personnel. The Court of Cassation also upheld sentences ranging from life terms to 10 year-imprisonment against members of the cell and the revocation of the Bahraini nationality from all convicted persons.
Attorney General Ahmed Al-Hammadi, head of the Prosecution of Terrorist Crimes, said the High Cassation Court upheld the death sentence against the first defendant in the terror case and confirmed life terms and imprisonment sentences against the other defendants.
The first convict established a terrorist organization with others in order to target and kill the police by means of bombings, after they planted bombs in the parking areas of the security forces.
On July 4, 2017, the main convict and other collaborators planted an explosive device on Al-Eker Road near the Applied Science University (ASU) and when a police armored vehicle arrived, they detonated it, resulting in the death of a policeman.
The case was deliberated in the presence of the lawyers of the defendants, who were provided with all the legal guarantees. The ruling was also approved by the First Criminal Court of First Instance in March.


Bahraini court upholds 5-year prison term for opposition figure Nabeel Rajab

http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/06/05/564032/Bahrain-Nabeel-Rajab-court-jail-term-Amnesty-Al-Khalifah

The Bahraini Court of Appeal has upheld the five-year prison term against the Persian Gulf island country’s prominent opposition figure and pro-democracy campaigner Nabeel Rajab over his tweets deemed critical of the Manama regime and the deadly Saudi-led war against Yemen.
The court ruling was issued on Tuesday, prompting the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calling it only an attempt to silence Rajab and stop his human rights activities and a retaliatory move against his influence in raising awareness about the human rights violations taking place in under the Al Khalifah regime.
Meanwhile, the Amnesty international condemned the court ruling in a statement, saying, “It is absolutely outrageous that he has to spend another single day behind bars solely for expressing his opinion online.”
The Supreme Criminal Court sentenced the 53-year-old top opposition figure to five years in prison on 21 February. Bahrain’s Court of Cassation, which has the ultimate say in the case of appeals in the country, had also upheld a two-year jail sentence against Rajab on January 15.
He faces a further 15 years in prison over a separate set of charges related to his criticism of the ruling Al Khalifah family and Wahhabism.
On December 22, 2016, Bahraini authorities accused Rajab of making comments that “harm the interests” of the Manama regime and other Persian Gulf kingdoms through an article attributed to him and published by French daily Le Monde.
The article slammed the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group for its crimes against humanity. It also condemned Persian Gulf Arab countries for their failure to stop the spread of the violent Wahhabi ideology.
Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by its clerics, fuels the ideological engine of terror organizations such as Daesh and Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda's Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front. Takfiri terrorists use the ideology to declare people of other faiths “infidels,” justifying the killing of their victims.
International rights groups have repeatedly called for Rajab’s immediate and unconditional release. They accuse Manama of violating freedom of expression and human rights.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
The Al Khalifah regime has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.