Bahraini Regime Court Overturns Sheikh Salman Acquittal, Hands Him Life Term

Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Bahraini opposition group, al-Wefaq

Bahraini Regime Court Overturns Sheikh Salman Acquittal, Hands Him Life Term

November 4, 2018

Bahrain’s appeals court sentenced the head of the country’s main opposition movement to jail for life Sunday over charges of alleged spying for rival Gulf state Qatar.

Sheikh Ali Salman, who headed the now-outlawed Al-Wefaq movement, had been acquitted by the high criminal court in June, a verdict the public prosecution appealed.

The latest ruling on Sunday can also be appealed.

Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, severed all ties with Qatar in 2017, banning their citizens from travel to or communication with the emirate over what they say are Doha’s ties to both Iran and radical Islamist groups.

Salman is currently serving a four-year sentence in a separate case — “inciting hatred” in the kingdom, which has seen mainly pro-democracy protests against the monarchy since 2011.

In November, Salman and two other members of Al-Wefaq were charged with working for Qatari intelligence with the aim of “overthrowing the Bahraini government.”

King Hamad has announced parliamentary elections on November 24 in Bahrain. Members of dissolved opposition parties, including Al-Wefaq and the secular Al-Waad group, are banned from running.

The Sunni-ruled Gulf state has been hit by waves of pro-democracy protests since 2011, when security forces crushed demonstrators demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

Opposition movements have been outlawed and hundreds of dissidents have been imprisoned — with many stripped of their nationality.

The United Nations and rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized the Bahraini monarchy over its treatment of protesters.

Amnesty and HRW categorize Salman and other jailed opposition leaders as prisoners of conscience.

SourceAFP

Amnesty: Sheikh Salman Conviction “Unlawful, Politically Motivated”

November 4, 2018

Protestor Raising Sheikh Salman's Photo

Amnesty International described as “unlawful” Bahraini regime’s overturning the acquittal of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman.

Shortly after it was announced that Bahraini Appeal Court has overturned the acquittal of Sheikh Salman and sentenced him instead to life in prison, the watchdog called for the direct release of the Bahraini opposition leader.

“This verdict is a travesty of justice that demonstrates the Bahraini authorities’ relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent. Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression,” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director Heba Morayef said.

“The Bahraini authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Sheikh Ali Salman and quash his politically motivated conviction and sentence”.

Morayef also slammed the international community over keeping silence on the human rights record in Bahrain.

“The international community’s silence on the continued crackdown on dissent must also come to an end. Instead of ignoring criticism of Bahrain’s human rights record, the country’s political allies must use their influence to push for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain”.

SourceAmnesty International

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Syrian War Report – October 19, 2018: ISIS Captures 700 Hostages Including US, EU Citizens

South Front

19.10.2018

ISIS has captured 700 hostages, including US and European citizens, in Syria and is killing 10 people a day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the Valdai Discussion Club’s 15th Annual Meeting on October 18. He criticized US forces for this “catastrophic” failure adding that the terrorists “have delivered ultimatums and made certain demands, threatening … to shoot ten people every day.” According to Putin, the terrorists already started carrying out their threats and executed ten hostages two days ago.

On October 17, the Russian news agency TASS reported citing a military diplomatic source that the hostages were captured by ISIS in the province of Deir Ezzor during a failed advance of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the US-led coalition.

On October 18, the SDF repelled an ISIS attack near the village of al-Baghuz al-Fawqani in the Euphrates Valley. During the recent clashes in the Hajin pocket, the SDF destroyed a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device and 15 ISIS members. 2 SDF members also died.

According to the Syrian state media, US-led coalition warplanes bombed civilian buildings in the village of al-Susah killing and injuring multiple civilians. The US-led coalition is often avoiding to comment on such reports. However, even Amnesty International says that Washington is hiding the real number of civilian casualties as a result of its operations in Syria.

Meanwhile, Russia and Turkey informed the UN that the timeline for the implementation of the Idlib de-confliction agreement had been expanded. One of the key problems behind the delay is the unwillingness of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and similar terrorist groups to withdraw from the agreed demilitarized zone.

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israel (apartheid state) Kills Six Palestinians Within 24 Hours In Utter Disregard For Life

Israel Kills Six Palestinians Within 24 Hours In Utter Disregard For Life

Amnesty urged the international community to “take concrete steps to stop the delivery and trade of arms and military equipment to Israel.”
Amnesty International yesterday responded to Israeli forces’ killing of six Palestinians within a 24-hour period by accusing Israeli authorities of demonstrating an “utter disregard for right to life”.

The international human rights group warned that “several of these incidents appear to involve deliberate and willful killing of unarmed civilians and may amount to war crimes”, and also renewed its call for an arms embargo to be imposed on Israel.

“Between 10pm on Monday 17 September and 8pm on Tuesday 18 September,” Amnesty stated, “Israeli forces killed four Palestinian men in the Gaza Strip using live ammunition. Within the same period, two more died as a result of the actions of Israeli forces in the West Bank, one after being beaten during the process of arrest and another shot dead in a busy street in East Jerusalem.”

The NGO stated:

The deaths of six Palestinians within just 24 hours is a horrific demonstration of the unnecessary or excessive force deployed by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).”

“It is the fact that such crimes are rarely, if ever, punished that allows unlawful killings and other violations of the right to life to continue in shameless disregard of international law,” said Saleh Higazi, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“These incidents are not new in the OPT and are likely to continue unless this cycle of impunity is broken,” he added.

In the context of Israel’s ongoing violent repression of Great March of Return protests in the occupied Gaza Strip, Amnesty International said it “has not documented any instances where protesters posed an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers and snipers, who have been located behind the fence, protected by military equipment, sand hills, drones and military vehicles.”

“Israel has a duty to immediately launch an independent, thorough and transparent investigation into each of these incidents and all other incidents which may involve the use of unnecessary or excessive force, torture and other ill-treatment against Palestinian civilians,” Higazi said.

“We call on the Israeli authorities to hold those found responsible for these grave violations to account through fair trials. Until this happens we will not see an end to Israeli forces’ random and apparently senseless killing and violence.”

The Amnesty official also urged the international community to “take concrete steps to stop the delivery and trade of arms and military equipment to Israel”, adding that “a failure to do so fuels serious human rights violations against millions of men, women and children suffering the consequences of 50 years of military occupation, including 11 years of blockade in the Gaza Strip”.

Sources: www.middleeastmonitor.com, www.mintpressnews.com

Who is Israa al-Ghomgham?

Who is Israa al-Ghomgham?

Saudi Arabia Rejects Human-Rights Criticism, Then Crucifies Someone

Krishnadev Calamur

Even as it excoriated Canada for scolding it over human rights, Saudi Arabia beheaded a man Wednesday in Mecca, then put his body on public display, for allegedly stabbing a woman to death. The method of punishment is known in Saudi Arabia as a crucifixion, which the government says is sanctioned by Islamic law, and is reserved for only the most severe crimes in the kingdom.

The suspect in this case was a man from Myanmar who was accused of breaking into the home of a Burmese woman and repeatedly stabbing her until she died, according to Bloomberg. He was also charged with weapons theft, the attempted murder of another man, and the attempted rape of another woman. King Salman endorsed the execution. The crucifixion practice is a gruesome one and is employed sparingly; most capital crimes in Saudi Arabia are punished through beheadings alone.

But as recently as 2013, Amnesty International reported that Saudi authorities executed and crucified five Yemenis in the city of Jizan after they were found guilty of armed robbery and the murder of a Saudi man.

“Pictures emerged on social media appearing to show five decapitated bodies hanging from a horizontal pole with their heads wrapped in bags,” Amnesty International said in a statement at the time. “In Saudi Arabia, the practice of ‘crucifixion’ refers to the court-ordered public display of the body after execution, along with the separated head if beheaded. It takes place in a public square to allegedly act as a deterrent.”

Saudi Arabia, which became a country in the 1930s, has employed beheading as a means of execution for decades—though the practice itself is centuries old and was once widely employed throughout the Muslim world and beyond…

Saudi Arabia executes more people than any country except China and Iran—and it does so for a variety of crimes.

News of the latest execution came amid a bitter diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia and Canada over a Canadian government statement that called on Saudi authorities to “immediately release” civil-society and women’s-rights activists detained in recent days and weeks. As my colleague Sigal Samuel wrote in response, Saudi Arabia declared the Canadian ambassador persona non grata and recalled its envoy to Ottawa. It froze all trade and investment deals, canceled educational-exchange programs, and suspended flights to and from Canada.

The flare-up occurred at a pivotal time for Saudi Arabia. Its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, or MbS, has cast himself as a reformer who is seeking to wean the Saudi economy away from its long overreliance on cheap oil and foreign labor. There have been other developments as well, which may look normal for the rest of the world but are potentially transformative for the kingdom—most significant among them, the government granting women the right to drive last September; the origins of the ban, as I noted at the time of the announcement, were murky, but the restriction appeared to be more cultural and religious than legal. But, as Samuel noted, “that win has been bookended by losses.” Women’s activists and human-rights campaigners continue to be detained. Torture remains rife in Saudi prisons, and executions continue apace.

The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, a human-rights group, said 146 people were executed in 2017, slightly less than the 154 executed in 2016. “Such a level of executions has not been witnessed since the mid 1990s,” the group said in a report released this week. The group said that as of April 2018, Saudi authorities had executed 47 people and were on pace to meet last year’s figure. Dozens more, it said, continue to face the death penalty, including some under the age of 18.

Jeffrey Goldberg, now The Atlantic’s editor in chief, wrote about one of these people, Ali al-Nimr, in 2015. Al-Nimr, the nephew of a prominent Shia leader in Sunni Saudi Arabia (who himself was executed), was sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion, and, despite international appeals, is still awaiting execution for alleged crimes committed when he was a minor during the Arab Spring protests that rocked the region.

Saudi Arabia employs the death penalty, which sometimes is carried out by gunfire, and usually in public, in response to a wide variety of transgressions, including murder, adultery, atheism, and sorcery and witchcraft. Despite this, it has in recent years found itself on various UN panels that oversee human rights and women’s rights around the world. (The country is hardly alone in its punitive practices—or its membership on elite UN panels… The United States is among the few Western nations that conducts executions, though it is mostly carried out by lethal injection.)

Saudi Arabia’s practices have been widely condemned by the international community and human-rights groups, but given its angry response to Canada’s alleged “interference” in its internal affairs, the kingdom looks unlikely to change the way it metes out its punishments. Saad al-Beshi, a Saudi executioner, said in a 2003 interview that he was “very proud to do God’s work.”

“It doesn’t matter to me: two, four, 10—as long as I’m doing God’s will, it doesn’t matter how many people I execute,” he said, according to the BBC. He added: “No one is afraid of me. I have a lot of relatives, and many friends at the mosque, and I live a normal life like everyone else. There are no drawbacks for my social life.”

Source: The Atlantic, Edited by website team

 

Amnesty International: Trumpeting for War… Again

Hassan Nasrallah Pays Tribute to Ahed Tamimi; NBC News Calls it the ‘Slap Heard ‘Round the World’

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It’s a strange world we live in, to be sure. You wouldn’t think NBC News and Hassan Nasrallah would ever, in a million years, find any common ground.

But in the video above we see the Secretary General of Hezbollah paying tribute to 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, referring to her slap of an Israeli soldier as a “bold and courageous stand” against the occupation of her village and homeland.

And  perhaps almost as amazing is an article published just yesterday by NBC News under the headline Slap heard ‘round the world: Ahed Tamimi becomes symbol of Palestinian resistance . So yes, even NBC News is now referring to young Ahed’s heroic act as the “slap heard round the world”–a term I first coined back on December 21, just two days after her arrest.

And just in case the Zionist trolls start bombarding NBC with complaints, I grabbed a screenshot of the headline as it appeared on the mainstream news network’s website. Here it is:

Written by F. Brinley Bruton and Lawahez Jabari, the article notes that Ahed’s trial, which has been postponed something like three or four times now as she has languished in an Israeli prison, is scheduled, finally, to resume today. And it also says Ahed has become a role model to other Palestinians, particularly to the youth. And included is a quote to that effect from a Palestinian teen who lives in East Jerusalem:

Sineen Amereh, 16, a Palestinian resident of Arab-majority east Jerusalem, has no doubt about Tamimi’s importance to her people’s struggle against the occupation, as well as to the role of girls in that resistance.

“She’s a perfect idol for all girls her age — nobody before has done something like that,” said Amereh, an 11th grader. “If we weren’t brave, then the Israeli soldiers would think we’re weak, think we will just give up.”

Amereh says she and others are scared of soldiers like the ones Tamimi faced, but her fellow teen’s actions have given her confidence to stand up to injustice.

“Everyone is afraid, but we will keep fighting because it is not easy to give up on your land, on your home,” said Amereh.

Stunningly, the writers also allude, albeit in a somewhat ambiguous manner, to Israeli ethnic cleansing.

It is commonly felt by Arabs in east Jerusalem and the West Bank — which Israel has occupied since the 1967 war with Syria, Jordan and Egypt — that Israel is deliberately driving Palestinians from their homes. From 1967 to 2016, some 200 Jewish settlements housing around 600,000 people were built on occupied land, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. There are some 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank.

Israeli checkpoints limit the movement of Palestinians, and many cannot get to land that they say is legally theirs but lies near Jewish communities. Meanwhile, a process to create an independent Palestinian state as part of a “two-state solution” has foundered.

Admittedly, the article also quotes an Israeli Knesset member who says some nasty things, with Bruton and Jabari crediting her as “an expert on female and child Palestinian suicide bombers,” but then they go on to note what seems to be growing support for Ahed, even among prominent figures in the US:

She’s also garnered the support of a series of public figures in the U.S., including the N.F.L.’s Michael Bennett, the academic Cornel West, and the actors Danny Glover and Rosario Dawson, who signed a petition calling for her release.

The comedian Sarah Silverman provoked praise as well as outrage when she said on Twitter that Jewish people had “to stand up EVEN when — ESPECIALLY when — the wrongdoing is BY Jews/the Israeli government.”

They also note the rise to prominence of Ahed’s father, Bassem Tamimi, who, as I reported a few days ago, just made an appearance last week on a Washington D.C. public television station:

Amnesty International has called Bassem Tamimi a prisoner of conscience, while the European Union has labeled him a human rights defender.

Ahed’s cousin, 11-year-old Jana Tamimi, who goes by the name “Jana Jihad,” also gets a mention–along with the information that she has hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook.

Ahed’s younger cousin Janna, 11, does not stay at home. She calls herself the world’s youngest journalist and has some 275,000 followers on Facebook, where she goes by the name Janna Jihad. She’s been active since the age of 6 or 7.

Janna speaks English with an American accent, and finishes many of her statements with, “So yeah.”

“I wanted to be the voice of the Palestinian children and send their message to all the world,” Janna said. “Let this world know about our suffering our feelings, our parents getting killed, our sisters and brothers getting injured and arrested.”

And the article even includes Jana’s picture:

So how to explain something of this sort being published by a staid and stalwart of the mainstream such as NBC News? My guess is that it has a lot to do with evaporating support for Israel among liberal US Jews like Sarah Silverman–Jews normally thought of as “progressive except for Israel,” who, as we approach the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, are, somewhat belatedly, beginning to find the policies of apartheid and endless occupation to grotesque to stomach.

By the way, you can access Jana Jihad’s Facebook page here. The NBC report mentions that she has 275,000 followers. Perhaps we can boost that number up to a million.

It’s a strange world we live in, to be sure. You wouldn’t think NBC News and Hassan Nasrallah would ever, in a million years, find any common ground.

But in the video above we see the Secretary General of Hezbollah paying tribute to 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, referring to her slap of an Israeli soldier as a “bold and courageous stand” against the occupation of her village and homeland.

And  perhaps almost as amazing is an article published just yesterday by NBC News under the headline Slap heard ‘round the world: Ahed Tamimi becomes symbol of Palestinian resistance . So yes, even NBC News is now referring to young Ahed’s heroic act as the “slap heard round the world”–a term I first coined back on December 21, just two days after her arrest.

And just in case the Zionist trolls start bombarding NBC with complaints, I grabbed a screenshot of the headline as it appeared on the mainstream news network’s website. Here it is:

Written by F. Brinley Bruton and Lawahez Jabari, the article notes that Ahed’s trial, which has been postponed something like three or four times now as she has languished in an Israeli prison, is scheduled, finally, to resume today. And it also says Ahed has become a role model to other Palestinians, particularly to the youth. And included is a quote to that effect from a Palestinian teen who lives in East Jerusalem:

Sineen Amereh, 16, a Palestinian resident of Arab-majority east Jerusalem, has no doubt about Tamimi’s importance to her people’s struggle against the occupation, as well as to the role of girls in that resistance.

“She’s a perfect idol for all girls her age — nobody before has done something like that,” said Amereh, an 11th grader. “If we weren’t brave, then the Israeli soldiers would think we’re weak, think we will just give up.”

Amereh says she and others are scared of soldiers like the ones Tamimi faced, but her fellow teen’s actions have given her confidence to stand up to injustice.

“Everyone is afraid, but we will keep fighting because it is not easy to give up on your land, on your home,” said Amereh.

Stunningly, the writers also allude, albeit in a somewhat ambiguous manner, to Israeli ethnic cleansing.

It is commonly felt by Arabs in east Jerusalem and the West Bank — which Israel has occupied since the 1967 war with Syria, Jordan and Egypt — that Israel is deliberately driving Palestinians from their homes. From 1967 to 2016, some 200 Jewish settlements housing around 600,000 people were built on occupied land, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. There are some 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank.

Israeli checkpoints limit the movement of Palestinians, and many cannot get to land that they say is legally theirs but lies near Jewish communities. Meanwhile, a process to create an independent Palestinian state as part of a “two-state solution” has foundered.

Admittedly, the article also quotes an Israeli Knesset member who says some nasty things, with Bruton and Jabari crediting her as “an expert on female and child Palestinian suicide bombers,” but then they go on to note what seems to be growing support for Ahed, even among prominent figures in the US:

She’s also garnered the support of a series of public figures in the U.S., including the N.F.L.’s Michael Bennett, the academic Cornel West, and the actors Danny Glover and Rosario Dawson, who signed a petition calling for her release.

The comedian Sarah Silverman provoked praise as well as outrage when she said on Twitter that Jewish people had “to stand up EVEN when — ESPECIALLY when — the wrongdoing is BY Jews/the Israeli government.”

They also note the rise to prominence of Ahed’s father, Bassem Tamimi, who, as I reported a few days ago, just made an appearance last week on a Washington D.C. public television station:

Amnesty International has called Bassem Tamimi a prisoner of conscience, while the European Union has labeled him a human rights defender.

Ahed’s cousin, 11-year-old Jana Tamimi, who goes by the name “Jana Jihad,” also gets a mention–along with the information that she has hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook.

Ahed’s younger cousin Janna, 11, does not stay at home. She calls herself the world’s youngest journalist and has some 275,000 followers on Facebook, where she goes by the name Janna Jihad. She’s been active since the age of 6 or 7.

Janna speaks English with an American accent, and finishes many of her statements with, “So yeah.”

“I wanted to be the voice of the Palestinian children and send their message to all the world,” Janna said. “Let this world know about our suffering our feelings, our parents getting killed, our sisters and brothers getting injured and arrested.”

And the article even includes Jana’s picture:

So how to explain something of this sort being published by a staid and stalwart of the mainstream such as NBC News? My guess is that it has a lot to do with evaporating support for Israel among liberal US Jews like Sarah Silverman–Jews normally thought of as “progressive except for Israel,” who, as we approach the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, are, somewhat belatedly, beginning to find the policies of apartheid and endless occupation to grotesque to stomach.

By the way, you can access Jana Jihad’s Facebook page here. The NBC report mentions that she has 275,000 followers. Perhaps we can boost that number up to a million.

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