10/30/2018

Jamal Khashoggi

L'ultimo tributo a Jamal Khashoggi: giornaliste e giornalisti leggono
il suo ultimo, postumo editoriale per il Washington Post.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUq9OOI5wlU&feature=youtu.be


10/28/2018

Iran comes under criticism over hegemonic plans


https://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/iran-comes-under-criticism-over-hegemonic-plans-1.2294595


Mattis reiterates US commitment to Gulf security, warns Tehran

Manama: Iran was heavily criticised at an international security conference in Manama where it was accused of representing the dark side.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa said at the Manama Dialogue here yesterday that the underlying theme tying all the crises in the region was the attempt by Iran’s decades-long quest to impose its hegemony on others, spread its revolution and control more territory through proxies.
“Iran’s interference in the affairs of Yemen and its support to the terrorist Al Houthis has prolonged the conflict and contributes to Al Houthis’ unwillingness to return to the political process that all Yemeni parties agreed to in 2012 and to abandon their armed rebellion,” Shaikh Khalid said.
Leaders in Iraq, and in Lebanon, are attempting to guide their nations towards the path of prosperity, but they are confronted by Iranian-backed groups or individuals who place loyalty to Tehran over the national interest of their countries, resulting in bad governance, inefficiency, and ultimately political paralysis, he added.
“Hezbollah and associated groups continue to use bases in Lebanon and Iraq to destabilise the region.
"Young men and women are recruited from across the region and trained in bomb-making, weapons smuggling and military tactics and then sent back to destabilise their countries and advance the Iranian regime’s hegemonic ambitions.”
Such ambitions in the region contribute to a constant source of tension and distrust among regional states and make existing crises even worse, he warned.
In response to the problem of regional hegemonic ambitions, countries that have a role and a stake in the region such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Russia must engage with the region and with one another to help restore stability, Shaikh Khalid added

Middle East Stragegic Alliance

“I would like to point out the importance of the proposal from the US to establish the Middle East Strategic Alliance (Mesa) as part of the solution to the problems we face in the region. Mesa is not against anyone, it is an alliance for security and prosperity in the region and it will be open to those who accept its principles.
"Through Mesa, we aim to boost the collective security of the region and make sure our defence partnerships are ready to withstand the challenges of the 21st century — including terrorism, cyber security and the effects of rogue states,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said the current crises plaguing the region are driven by regional actors bent on changing the regional order, rather than outside powers trying to dominate the Middle East.
“The primary regional actor of stability has been Khomeini’s revolutionary Iran and the behaviour and the actions of the Iranian state ever since,” Al Jubeir told the Manama Dialogue at the Bahraini capital on Saturday.
There are significant changes in the region, and there is a focus on economic growth and diversification, innovation, technology, efficiency, youth, women empowerment, the creation of transparent and accountable governments that can provide a better future for citizens and in the process improve the standards of living, which will contribute to stability, he added. “We are now dealing in the Middle East with two competing visions. One is a vision of light that seeks all the things I mentioned. The other vision is of darkness, which seeks to spread sectarianism, encourage terrorism, dominate other countries and destabilise the region. One is what we stand for in Saudi Arabia and in the Gulf countries; the other is what Iran stands for,” he said, adding that throughout history, light has always triumphed over darkness.
Al Jubeir said he was confident the region will overcome the challenges like it has done for decades.

Forces of darkness

“I have no concerns where the region will end up. It will end up in a better, more prosperous and peaceful place.
"The challenge we have is how we deal with the forces of darkness, how we push back against them and how we persuade them either to evolve into something else or how we will defeat them,” he said.
Al Jubeir insisted that the Saudi strategy has been “fairly effective”.
“In the past few years, we have isolated Iran in the Islamic world and in Africa. Iran’s friends and relationships are shrinking. Now, the Iranians are facing severe sanctions that will become worse in November. Iran, as the primary sponsor of terrorism in the world, cannot continue with business as usual.”

Stability, security

In his keynote address, US Defence Secretary James Mattis reiterated US support for the stability and security of the region and warned that Washington would not remain idle if Tehran sought to pursue nuclear weapons.
“The US is committed to working alongside to reinforce dynamic international response to regional challenges,” he said.
“A stable Middle East underpins a stable world. Instability does not respect international borders. It grows and spreads if left unchecked.
"Like-minded nations here today do not seek war or conflict. Yet, we cannot ignore the malign influence and destabilising behaviour pursued by violent extremist organisations and by Iran‘s outlaw regime.”
Mattis listed some of the “negative actions” taken by Iran in several countries in the region, including supporting Al Qaida leaders and offering them safe havens.

Iran's unsafe, reckless behaviour

“We stand against Iran’s unsafe and reckless behaviour that flouts freedom of navigation and disrupts maritime security and global trade,” he said.
He added that the fact that Iran operated through proxy forces did not lessen its culpability or their accountability towards the international community.
“We will not stand idly by as Iran attempts to pursue nuclear weapons,” he warned.
He backed Saudi Arabia against Iranian-backed Al Houthi rebels in Yemen. “I reiterate US support for our partners’ right to defend themselves against Iranian-supplied [Al] Houthi attacks on their sovereign territory,” he said.

Saudi Arabia says kingdom to prosecute Khashoggi killers, lauds US ties

https://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/saudi-arabia-says-kingdom-to-prosecute-khashoggi-killers-lauds-us-ties-1.2294321


Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the administration of US President Trump has a 'rational, realistic' foreign policy that all Gulf Arab states can support

Reuters

MANAMA: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Saturday that those behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would be prosecuted in the kingdom and that the investigation would take time.
Jubeir told a security summit in Bahrain that Riyadh’s relations with the United States were “ironclad” amid what he described as “media hysteria” over the killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, which sparked a global outcry and strained the kingdom’s ties with the West.
The minister also said the administration of US President Donald Trump has a “rational, realistic” foreign policy that all Gulf Arab states can support.
He said Saudi Arabia was combating Iran’s vision of “darkness” in the Middle East.

10/24/2018

Body Parts on the Bosporus

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/12/opinion/jamal-khashoggi-donald-trump.html


Donald Trump’s Saudi infatuation and the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.
Opinion Columnist







10/23/2018

After Khashoggi killing, Saudi Arabia's PR machine shows cracks

https://mg.co.za/article/2018-10-23-after-khashoggi-killing-saudi-arabias-pr-machine-shows-cracks

Shaun Tandon 

When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001 by 19 hijackers — 15 of them from Saudi Arabia — the kingdom switched into lobbying overdrive, determined to preserve a critical relationship.
After devoting well over $100-million to influencing Washington, the oil-rich state is facing a PR crisis it didn’t see coming — US lawmakers who once eagerly hobnobbed with Saudi princes, and institutions that were once only too happy to accept Riyadh’s money — are looking to distance themselves.
The killing of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi — a regular presence on the Washington think tank circuit who died after entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul — has led to outrage at a level unseen in years against the kingdom.
Lawmakers have proposed once-unthinkable actions such as suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the largest buyer of US weapons, and expelling the kingdom’s ambassador, although major repercussions look unlikely for now as President Donald Trump has called for preserving ties.
The Saudis had earlier looked confident of their lobbying might in Washington. In March, the Senate narrowly defeated a proposal to end US support for the Saudi-led campaign against rebels in Yemen, which according to the United Nations has killed thousands of civilians.
Soon afterwards, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a 33-year-old who had billed himself as a reformer, triumphantly visited the United States where he met figures ranging from Trump to talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.
“A lot of Americans don’t really know much about Saudi Arabia. It’s not a big destination for travel, for a lot of reasons, and it was easy for PR firms to fill that role,” said Ben Freeman, director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy.
“I think what happened is that this case really brought it home,” he said. 
“Jamal Khashoggi was living here and I think a lot of journalists took this personally in that one of their own was attacked.”

Wooing powerful

Even if the values of the austere Muslim state would seem alien to most Americans, Saudi Arabia has penetrated Washington’s power-centres by opening its cheque book to influential think tanks, wooing journalists and hiring former senior politicians who stand to earn more money as lobbyists.
Among those former lawmakers, according to legally required filings with the Justice Department, are Norm Coleman, a former Republican senator from Minnesota, who signed a $125 000-a-month deal this year to represent the Saudi embassy, and Buck McKeon, until 2015 the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, whose firm is paid $50 000 a month by Riyadh. Neither responded to requests for comment.
CNN’s chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, one of the most visible US television journalists, tweeted that the Saudi embassy contacted him after his favourite football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, qualified for this year’s Super Bowl and offered to fly him to see the championship game as its guest. He said he declined, “But I wondered: who said yes?”
Since Khashoggi’s disappearance, at least four lobbying firms have said that they will no longer represent Saudi Arabia. Among those terminating involvement is leading lawyer Theodore Olson, who argued for former president George W. Bush before the Supreme Court and whose firm would have pocketed at least $250 000.
Washington think tanks have quietly backed away from Saudi Arabia. The Middle East Institute, which has long partnered with Riyadh, voiced “shock and outrage” over the death of Khashoggi, who frequently participated in the group’s panels, and cut back ties.
Among two of the most prestigious think tanks, the Brookings Institution ended a Saudi contract while the Center for Strategic and International Studies said only that it was reassessing its relationship with Riyadh.

Stepping up spending

Saudi Arabia spent more than $18-million last year and $6-million so far in 2018 either through its government or affiliates to seek influence in Washington, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which compiles data.
An even bigger spender has been Saudi ally the United Arab Emirates, although the top-paying are South Korea and Japan, which largely focus on trade promotion.
While US law forbids foreign agents from funding US candidates, Freeman said his research spotted a gray area.
Firms that represent Saudi clients gave nearly $400 000 to congressional candidates last year, sometimes donating after raising Riyadh’s concern with lawmakers, he said.
The Saudis boosted spending with Trump’s election after rocky relations with his predecessor Barack Obama, who eased tensions with the kingdom’s regional rival Iran.
Obama, however, sided with the Saudis on one of the kingdom’s biggest legislative defeats — a bill that lets families of September 11 victims sue Saudi Arabia, a move Obama argued could trigger lawsuits abroad against the United States.
Jamie Fly, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, expected congressional pressure only to grow over weapons sales.
“The administration is going to have to respond in some way to that congressional pressure and to show concerned members of Congress that they are taking this seriously,” he said.
© Agence France-Presse

10/22/2018

ADHRB and NGOs Send Letter to UN High Commissioner on Conditions in Bahrain’s Isa Town Prison for Women

https://www.adhrb.org/2018/10/adhrb-and-ngos-send-letter-to-un-high-commissioner-on-conditions-in-bahrains-isa-town-prison-for-women/


18 October 2018 – Today, Americans for Human Rights & Democracy in Bahrain (ADHRB) in cooperation with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), CIVICUS, European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR), Front Line Defenders, Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Index on Censorship, and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) sent a letter to Michele Bachelet, the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UN experts calling on them to condemn the appalling conditions faced by female human rights defenders in Bahrain’s Isa Town Prison for Women. Please find the PDF link to the full letter here.

Dear High Commissioner and UN Experts,
The undersigned organisations are writing to urge you to publicly condemn the appalling reprisals facing women human rights defenders Hajer Mansoor, Najah Yusuf and Medina Ali in Bahrain’s Isa Town Prison for women, which we believe are in retaliation to the attention their cases received from the United Nations and British Parliament. Concurrently, our organisations raise grave concern for the total inefficacy of Bahrain’s human rights mechanisms and urge you to publicly call for the end of these punitive measures as well as the immediate and unconditional release of the three women.
On 16 September 2018, Mansoor, Yusuf and Ali were assaulted soon after the publication of a report by theUN Secretary-General and a Westminster Debate raising their cases. The three women had been unjustifiably denied access to religious participation in previous weeks and, before the assault, they were attempting to join their fellow Bahraini inmates in the commemoration of Ashura.
In response, prison guards, led by the head of Isa Town Prison, Major Mariam Albardoli, harshly beat Mansoor, Yusuf and Ali, and then kept them in solitary confinement for two hours. En route to the isolation cell, Following the incident, Mansoor was unable to stand and was hospitalised, having suffered a dangerous drop in her blood sugar levels and bruises on her hands and back. In addition Ali says Major Albardoli also punched her on her back in an area without any CCTV monitoring.
Following the assault, authorities have exacerbated their retaliation by applying restrictions on all inmates. Prison conditions have been made unbearable, prompting an inmate to attempt suicide. Family visits must now be conducted behind a glass barrier, which impedes any meaningful contact with family members. Furthermore, inmates are now locked in their cells for 23 hours a day, and their phone calls have been reduced to twice a week, when formerly it was three times a week. These changes significantly reduce the frequency with which families hear updates on the condition of inmates, especially since calls with legal representation are also deducted from allocated calls to family members. We are also concerned that 13 Russian inmates have deemed it necessary to launch a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. We fear that the protest may soon extend to a collective hunger strike of all Bahraini inmates if the situation does not improve.
This collective punishment has triggered international criticism, with members of the UK Parliament raising concerns and international media outlets reporting on the events. However, we are deeply alarmed by Bahrain’s response. Oversight bodies have thus far failed to support Mansoor, Yusuf and Ali by ensuring they conduct independent investigations into their allegations. Furthermore, the claims of Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior that Mansoor “tried to hurt herself by hitting her body and lying on the floor” is implausible. We also condemn the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR)’s statement of 2 October which only whitewashedthe assault by Major Albardoli and the prison guards, as “within reasonable use of force”, even though it led to the hospitalisation of an inmate. Their investigation continues by claiming that there was “no case of intentional denial” of basic rights such as family visitations and phone calls, which is in stark contradiction with the testimony provided by the three women.
Last month, the UN Secretary-General detailed the “ongoing trend of harassment and intimidation” against representatives of Bahrain’s civil society who cooperate with the UN, and noted the persecution of family members of Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, the son-in-law of Mansoor, who is Director of Advocacy of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD). The timing of these recent reprisals against Mansoor, Yusuf and Ali suggests, once again, a coordinated effort by the Bahraini authorities to avert international criticism by intimidating and punishing prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders.
Bahrain is now a member of the UN Human Rights Council, and while its oversight bodies have completely failed to address the situation, it is vital that you make your position clear by publicly condemning these abusive restrictions, which violate the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
On 3 October, Mansoor, Yusuf and Ali called for the urgent intervention of “UN Special Rapporteurs to stop the violations we are subjected to, and to expose the falsity of the human rights organisations and institutions that follow the regime in Bahrain.” In support of these demands, they began a hunger strike on 14 October, and are now being held at the prison clinic in critical conditions. It is imperative, now more than ever, to use the weight of your office to publicly defend them, by:
  • Issuing a public statement calling for an end to the reprisals against Hajer Mansoor, Najah Yusuf and Medina Ali, as well as the ongoing restrictions on phone calls, family visits and time outside the cell imposed on all inmates;
  • Calling on Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release those women who are imprisoned on politicised charges related to their human rights activities, and those of their relatives;
  • Publicly calling for an independent investigation into the allegation of torture and mistreatment against female prisoners, to ensure perpetrators, including Major Albardoli, are hold to account.
  • Urging the Government of Bahrain, in light of its recent appointment as Member of the Human Rights Council, to strictly abide by its international obligations, including by allowing the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to visit the country.
Yours Sincerely,
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB)
Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)
Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD)
CIVICUS
European Centre For Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR)
Front Line Defenders
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
Index on Censorship
The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Brian Dooley, Senior Advisor, Human Rights First (HRF)

10/21/2018

Siemens boss expected to pull out of Saudi conference over Khashoggi death

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/21/siemens-boss-joe-kaeser-expected-to-pull-out-of-saudi-conference-over-jamal-khashoggi-death?CMP=twt_gu

Joe Kaeser poised to reverse decision to attend Future Investment Initiative event

The head of German engineering firm Siemens, Joe Kaeser, is poised to become the latest business leader to pull out of next week’s investment conference in Saudi Arabia following the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
Kaeser had initially indicated he would still attend the “Davos in the sun” event, but after pressure from senior German politicians over the weekend, he appears to have had second thoughts. A spokesman said on Sunday he was still undecided and would make a final decision by Monday at the latest.
Business leaders have been abandoning the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh in droves. Most of the big-name executives due to attend, including the heads of Deutsche Bank, Uber and Siemens’ rival ABB have dropped out as outrage over the Saudi journalist’s death at the country’s Istanbul consulate grows.
Kaeser and the head of the French electricity giant EDF, Jean Bernard Levy, were among the few CEOs still planning to attend last week.
Siemens has around 2,000 employees working on several contracts in Saudi Arabia, and claims that a third of the country’s energy is generated using its technology. The company was awarded a $2bn contract to build trains, signals and communications equipment for the new Riyadh underground network in 2013.
The leader of Germany’s Social Democratic party, Andrea Nahles, had called on Kaeser to cancel his plans to attend the conference. The country’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, also from the SPD, told German public television on Saturday evening that cancellations sent the right signal.
“I certainly wouldn’t participate in an event in Riyadh at the moment,” he said. “And I have great understanding for those who have cancelled.”
Executives from across business, including many of those on the event’s advisory board, have withdrawn from the event, which is due to start on Tuesday. The conference organisers removed all the names of attendees from its website as the number of cancellations grew.
The US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, pulled out on Friday after previously saying he would attend. The Financial Times, Bloomberg, CNN and CNBC have withdrawn as media sponsors.
Several British accountancy firms, including Deloitte, EY and PricewaterhouseCoopers are listed as the event’s “knowledge partners”. An EY spokeswoman said she understood the firm’s position had not changed and it would still attend. Deloitte and PwC were unavailable for comment.

10/19/2018

JAMAL KHASHOGGI E QUELLE 24 ORE AD AL-ARAB

https://caffedeigiornalisti.it/khashoggi-al-arab/

by Adriana Fara 19 ottobre 2018


Il 1 ° febbraio 2015, il primo giorno di programmazione della rete televisiva al-Arab in Bahrain, era stata prevista la messa in onda di un’intervista con il politico del Bahrain sciita Khalil al-Marzooq,  che aveva da subito affrontato le cancellazioni della cittadinanza a decine di cittadini del Bahrain. Le trasmissioni del canale erano state sospese dopo l’intervista. al-Arab è nata e morta in un giorno.
Al-Arab aveva dichiarato, all’epoca, che la sospensione era dovuta a “ragioni tecniche e amministrative”, mentre il quotidiano Akhbar al-Khaleej aveva attribuito la causa della sospensione di al-Arab al fatto che non fosse “aderente alle norme prevalenti nei paesi del Golfo”.
Il direttore del canale era Jamal Khashoggi, ex direttore di Al Watan, quotidiano dell’ Arabia Saudita. Khashoggi fu rimosso come redattore nel 2010, dopo che pubblicò un articolo in cui criticava il salafismo, movimento fondamentalista islamico della religione ufficiale saudita.
La sede del canale televisivo, tanto “desiderata” da tutta la parte dell’opposizione sciita di al-Wefaq (e dai redattori del quotidiano, ormai sciolto e cancellato, Al Wasat) era nata finalmente nella City di Manama. Giornalisti da tutto il mondo lavoravano nelle redazioni, era terminata un’era e iniziata un nuova voce politica nata nel settembre del 2011 sull’onda lunga delle primavere arabe e della rivolta mai sopita del piccolo stato del Bahrain.
Al-Arab era di proprietà privata del principe Al-Waleed bin Talal e assolutamente indipendente da “Kingdom Holding Company” e “Rotana Group” , due società controllate dal principe.
 Al-Waleed aveva annunciato, il 13 settembre 2011, il lancio di al-Arab come impresa privata personale e aveva sostenuto che il canale nasceva “ispirato dai recenti eventi politici che hanno trasformato la regione, con particolare attenzione alla libertà di parola”.
Da Al Jazeera, 9 febbraio 2015
IL BAHREIN HA SOSPESO UN CANALE D’INFORMAZIONE PANARABA CHE HA PROMESSO DI PRATICARE IL GIORNALISMO “OBIETTIVO”, ACCUSANDOLO DI NON FARE ABBASTANZA PER COMBATTERE L’ESTREMISMO. JAMAL KHASHOGGI, DIRETTORE GENERALE DI AL-ARAB, NON È STATO IMMEDIATAMENTE RAGGIUNGIBILE PER UN COMMENTO. DI PROPRIETÀ DEL NIPOTE DEL RE SALMAN DELL’ARABIA SAUDITA, AL-ARAB È ANDATA IN ONDA SOLO PER  POCHE ORE DOPO AVER INTERVISTATO KHALIL AL-MARZOUQ, UN CRITICO DEL GOVERNO E MEMBRO DEL PARTITO AL-WEFAQ, L’OPPOSIZIONE SCIITA DEL BAHRAIN. LO SCEICCO ALI SALMAN, LEADER DI AL-WEFAQ, È DETENUTO DA DICEMBRE CON L’ACCUSA DI PROMUOVERE IL CAMBIO DI REGIME CON LA FORZA, UN’ACCUSA CHE LUI NEGA.
Gli articoli dell’epoca, non così lontana nel tempo, sono molti e tutti condividono la stessa linea; non c’era spazio in Bahrain, e in Saudi, per una testata indipendente voluta da Jamal Khashoggi e da Al-Waleed bin Talal, lo stesso principe tenuto dal giovane Mohammad bin Salman dal 4 novembre 2017 agli arresti domiciliari insieme a undici principi e trentotto ex ministri nell’Hotel Ritz Carlton di Riad, con l’accusa di corruzione e riciclaggio di denaro. Le autorità saudite pretesero una penale pari a sei milioni di dollari statunitensi. La scarcerazione è poi effettivamente avvenuta, il 27 gennaio 2018.
Jamal Khashoggi era un giornalista molto stimato in Bahrain. Aveva rapporti stretti  con l’Associazione dei Giornalisti Bahreniti e con la famiglia reale Al Khalifa, nonostante ciò manteneva equidistanza e ascoltava la popolazione sciita, intervistando e incontrando i leader dei movimenti di opposizione. Correva una battuta: “Se cerchi Al Wefaq, vai in ambasciata americana: troverai l’ufficio”. Erano i tempi di Jamal Khashoggi.
Era una posto ambìto da tanti giornalisti del Golfo Persico, il nuovo canale di Khashoggi. Era la nuova visione del mondo mussulmano, tanto e troppo vicina al Qatar, all’epoca già in pesante discordia con il Bahrain e, con i Fratelli Mussulmani. Solo 11 ore di apertura della televisione per parlare di un’attualità
ancora sconcertante; a oggi, le revoche della cittadinanza sono tante. Solo in Bahrain sono 749 i casi documentati.
Dietro le sbarre, gli stessi attivisti che venivano ascoltati dai giornalisti di al-Arab prima della chiusura: Ali Salman,Nabeel Rajab e Abdulhadi al Khawaja, con accuse ritenute assurde all’epoca dei fatti e tuttora aspramente criticate dalle più importanti organizzazioni sulle libertà di opinione e sul rispetto dei diritti umani.

10/18/2018

Jamal Khashoggi’s final appeal

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/jamal-khashoggis-final-appeal/2018/10/17/3cd67974-d21f-11e8-83d6-291fcead2ab1_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.3c4c6720db15


JAMAL KHASHOGGI’S last column for The Post, written shortly before his Oct. 2 disappearance and published today on the opposite page, espouses the cause that animated most of his life: free expression in the Arab world. The absence of that freedom, he wrote, means that Arabs “are either uninformed or misinformed. They are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives.”
Mr. Khashoggi made it his mission to fill that gap. To speak freely, he left Saudi Arabia, where he held comfortable positions in the ruling establishment, and moved to Washington, where he began contributing columns to The Post. He was planning ways to create space for other uncensored Arab voices that could advocate for democratic reforms. His final column calls for “the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda.”

Mr. Khashoggi, who would have turned 60 this past weekend, held numerous positions during his career, including as an adviser to a Saudi ambassador to the United States. But he was first and foremost a journalist — one who relentlessly tried to push the boundaries of free speech. He was twice fired as the editor of the most progressive Saudi newspaper, Al Watan, in one case for publishing sharp critiques of Islamist extremists. A television news network he helped to found in Bahrain in 2012 was taken off the air after one day, after it broadcast an interview with a critic of that country’s authoritarian regime.
A turning point for Mr. Khashoggi came in 2016, when he warned the regime of King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, about “an overly enthusiastic embrace of then-President-elect Donald Trump,” as he later described it in The Post. His column with the Saudi-owned international Arabic daily Al Hayat was canceled, and he was forced off Twitter. “I spent six months silent, reflecting on the state of my country and the stark choices before me,” he wrote in his first Post column, published 13 months ago this week.
Then he acted. “I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice,” he declared. “I can speak when so many cannot.”
In the columns he published in The Post before his disappearance, Mr. Khashoggi offered a consistent message: Saudi Arabia desperately needed the liberalizing reforms being promised by Mohammed bin Salman, but they could not be combined with repression. “Replacing old tactics of intolerance with new ways of repression is not the answer,” he wrote in April .
He frequently aimed his commentaries at the crown prince, whom he was hoping to influence for the better. He wanted the regime’s governing program to succeed, and he argued that would be more likely if liberal advocates were free to speak. By “encouraging public debate and discussion by relaxing his grip on the country’s media, as well as releasing those jailed for expressing their views, [Mohammed bin Salman] would prove that he is indeed a true reformer,” Mr. Khashoggi wrote.
His columns belie the despicable propaganda, spread by Saudi trolls and some U.S. conservatives, that Mr. Khashoggi was himself an Islamist extremist. Though he joined the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth, believing it was the best vehicle for reform in the Arab world, he later came to the conviction that “democracy and freedom were the Arabs’ best hope of purging the corruption and misrule he despised,” as The Post’s David Ignatius put it.
Mr. Khashoggi’s exile from Saudi Arabia to a position of public critic caused him “anguish,” he wrote. He would “wake up every morning and ponder the choice I have made to speak my mind.” In the end, he paid far too dearly for that principled and courageous decision.

10/15/2018

German, French, British FMs issue statement on Khashoggi's disappearance


https://en.mehrnews.com/news/138692/German-French-British-FMs-issue-statement-on-Khashoggi-s-disappearance


The following is the full text of the three European countries' foreign ministers' statement on the disappearance of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi:
"Defending freedom of expression and a free press and ensuring the protection of journalists are key priorities for Germany, the United Kingdom and France. In this spirit, light must be shed on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose family has lost contact with him since October 2nd.  Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini, and UNSG Guterres and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness.  There needs to be  a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and – if relevant – to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, and ensure that they are held to account.  We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response.  We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities."
MNA/PR

Bahraini Court Revokes 6 Bahraini Nationals of their Citizenship and Sentences 5 to Life


http://birdbh.org/2018/10/bahraini-court-revokes-6-bahraini-nationals-of-their-citizenship-and-sentences-5-to-life/


15 October 2018 - The Fourth High Criminal Court handed prison sentences to seven Bahraini nationals and revoked the citizenship of six over terrorism charges related to the bombing of an oil pipeline in the area of Buri on 10 November 2017, the Public Prosecution announced today. This takes the current number of citizenship revocations in Bahrain to 749 since the use of this tool of repression began in 2012, of which an unprecedented 243 have occurred in 2018 alone.
The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) condemns the outcome of this deeply unfair trial in the strongest possible terms and urges the authorities to quash the sentences and restore the citizenships.
The seven defendants are accused of forming a terrorist organisation and possessing and using explosive materials and weapons. In addition to the revocation of citizenship imposed on six of them, all the defendants were issued harsh prison sentences, ranging from a minimum of five years to life imprisonment, and also imposed fines. The Court sentenced:
  • 5 defendants to life imprisonment – BHD 200,000 fine (approximately £400,000)
  • 1 defendant to 10 years’ imprisonment
  • 1 defendant to 5 years’ imprisonment – BHD 100,000 fine (approximately £200,000)
BHD 64,577. 041 is the overall cost of the damages caused.
Commenting, BIRD’s Director of Advocacy, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, said: “In Bahrain, the use of confessions extracted under torture has become the norm in trials. The arbitrary revocation of citizenship is also a developing into a dangerous pattern, as the implications extend beyond individuals and have dramatic impacts on the whole family, particularly children born to those who are stateless”.
Background Information:
Citizenship Revocation in Bahrain
Withdrawing nationality has become a growing tool of repression against critical voices in Bahrain. The power of citizenship revocation was officially formalised by the July 2014 Amendments to the 1963 Citizenship Law, which allowed the government to withdraw Bahraini citizenship from those who were charged on terrorist-related activities. Predominantly, this trend has affected political activists who have sought to speak out about human rights abuses in the country.
Records of Citizenship Revocation per Year
According to BIRD’s documentation, there have been 749 cases in which the citizenship of a Bahraini national has been revoked by the government since 2012.
  • 243 in 2018
  • 156 in 2017
  • 90 in 2016
  • 208 in 2015
  • 21 in 2014
  • 31 in 2012