PA Suppresses Protest Calling for Release of Political Prisoners in Nablus (VIDEO)

January 11, 2023

Confrontations between Palestinian youth and Palestinian Authority’s ‘security forces’ in Nablus. (File Photo: via QNN)

The Palestinian Authority security forces on Tuesday suppressed a protest in Nablus to demand the release of political prisoners held by the PA, Quds Press news site reported.

Dozens of masked members of the PA security forces attacked the participants, including the families of political detainees, and fired gas canisters at them, suffocating a number.

The PA forces also assaulted journalists covering the event and prevented them from filming, confiscating their mobile devices.

The participants demanded the release of Musab Shtayyeh and other political detainees currently held by the Palestinian Authority, who are being pursued by the Israeli occupation.

Lawyers and human rights organizations confirmed earlier that 2022 witnessed a significant rise in the campaigns of prosecution, arrests, and summons orders issued by the Palestinian Authority security services against politicians, activists, freed prisoners, and university students.

(MEMO, PC, SOCIAL)

Bahrain protests continue as elections near

9 Nov 2022

Source: Agencies

Bahrain witnesses further protests denouncing the upcoming elections (Archive/Getty Images)

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    Bahrainis protest to denounce upcoming elections and stand up for the rights of political prisoners.

      Bahrainis organized demonstrations, again, to denounce and abstain from what they view as fraudulent parliamentary elections scheduled for next week.

      Online videos depicted demonstrators marching to the streets protesting the November 12 elections in Saar, a residential town west of Manama, and Sanabis, a village on the capital’s outskirts.

      Protesters demonstrated in solidarity with citizens that were detained for exercising their right to free expression in Bahraini jails.

      They were holding pictures of Sheikh Ali Salman, the imprisoned opposition leader, and Sheikh Isa Qassim, the most renowned Shiite cleric in Bahrain.

      Additionally, they carried signs with the words “boycott election,” “your vote would upset martyrs,” and “boycotting elections is a religious duty.”

      Bahraini protestors stage rallies almost every day to express their opposition to the Al Khalifa dictatorship’s oppressive policies, despite the harsh limitations enforced by the regime.

      Earlier, on November 6, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Bahraini political party Al-Wefaq, Sheikh Hussain Al-Daihi, announced that his party is boycotting the general elections in Bahrain.

      The reasons justifying the boycott are diverse but mainly concern the failure to implement a crucial reform, ongoing political repression in the country, and authorizing the zionist entity to meddle with the country’s domestic affairs.

      The remarks were delivered during a press conference in which Sheikh Al-Daihi said Bahrainis have no power or representation in legislation and legislative processes.

      According to the Sheikh, the core issue is that Bahrainis are deprived of a legal state by a small group of elites that carry out most decision-making, manage public wealth and security, and deprive the people of all their rights.

      He further said that Bahrainis are continuing to pay a heavy price for their freedoms by getting killed, imprisoned, displaced, dishonored, denaturalized, their mosques demolished, their basic rights infringed on, and the list goes on. 

      Read more: Rights mustn’t be violated, lives of punished mustn’t be taken: Pope

      Bahrain Regime Holds Dialogue Forum to Ameliorate Heinous Image of Human Rights Violations

      Nov 5 2022


      By Staff, Agencies

      Relatives of Bahraini political prisoners have called on Pope Francis to put pressure on the Manama regime to end human rights abuses across the kingdom, calling on the pontiff to highlight the plight of the inmates by visiting their families and even prisoners themselves.

      In a report published on Friday, Middle East Eye said the relatives of political prisoners in Bahrain had welcomed Pope Francis’ call for the revocation of the death penalty and observance of human rights in the kingdom, expressing hope that the pontiff would use the remainder of his historic four-day trip to visit families of death row inmates as well as the prisoners.

      “There is an urgent need for the Pope to continue pressuring towards ending human rights violations,” Ali Mushaima, Bahraini human rights activist and son of an imprisoned Bahraini opposition leader Hasan Mushaima, told Middle East Eye on Friday.

      “I previously requested the Pope meet with my father in prison and demand the immediate release of all political prisoners and I hope that this will happen during the upcoming days.”

      The Pope’s visit comes as Bahraini rights activists have raised concerns that the ruling Al Khalifa regime would take advantage of the trip to showcase an image of religious coexistence even while standing accused of systematic persecution of the Shia majority in the country, including many of the political prisoners.

      Maryam Alkhawaja, a Bahraini human rights activist and daughter of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, a prominent human rights defender imprisoned since 2011, told Middle East Eye that she and others had called on the Pope to cancel his visit to Bahrain or refuse to shake hands with the kingdom’s ruler, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, but neither of them came to pass.

      “However, we are very happy to see that he took this as an opportunity to raise human rights concerns including the death penalty and the sectarian discrimination against the Shia population in Bahrain,” Alkhawaja said.

      The rights activist also said she believed the regime’s plan to use the Pope’s trip as a publicity stunt had backfired, adding, “The visit has worked against them as it has brought further attention to the disastrous human rights situation in the country.”

      Bahrain’s main opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, said in a statement on Friday that the ruling regime was exploiting the ongoing visit by Pope Francis to cover up its gross human rights violations and repressive measures against democracy advocates.

      Al-Wefaq added that the Manama regime seeks to mask the extent of its oppression and religious discrimination as prisons and detention centers across Bahrain are full of scholars, professors, elites and nationalist figures who are subjected to all forms of torture and humiliation.

      Earlier, nine international human rights organizations urged Pope Francis to call for an end to human rights abuses in Bahrain and denounce the injustice and repressive policies of the Al-Khalifa regime during his visit to the country.

      The head of the Catholic Church is currently paying an official visit to Bahrain at the invitation of the country’s civil and ecclesial authorities. He will conclude his trip on November 6.

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      Rights Group: Bahrain Has Highest Number of Political Prisoners among Arab States

      September 14, 2022

      By Staff, Agencies

      Bahrain has the biggest number of political prisoners among Arab states, an independent human rights organization said.

      The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights [BCHR] censured the Gulf kingdom over its repressive measures and heavy-handed crackdown against political opponents and democracy advocates.

      It said in a report that Bahrain, under the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty, has the largest number of imprisoned rights activists, and it is estimated that there are some 4,500 campaigners being held behind bars across the country.

      The organization went on to note that a lot of reports published over the past decade have shed light on the deplorable conditions of prisoners at Bahraini jails, prompting the international community and human rights organizations to compel the Al Khalifa regime to relatively improve prison conditions.

      BCHR highlighted that Bahraini authorities have arrested about 15,000 people for their political beliefs over the last decade, thus turning the country into the first Arab nation with the highest number of prisoners in recent years.

      Political prisoners in Bahrain are subjected to various forms of torture, ill-treatment and persecution, and the Al Khalifa regime silences any opposing voice through detention, torture and execution, it pointed out.

      Lately, Jalal Feroz, a former member of the Bahraini parliament, said more than 2,500 political opponents are incarcerated in Bahraini prisons, and that they are subjected to the most vicious forms of torture.

      BCHR, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights [GCHR] and Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain [ADHRB] recently in a joint report entitled “Prison Conditions in Bahrain” pointed to the serious structural deficiencies in Bahrain’s criminal justice system, and lack of fair trials for defendants.

      They emphasized that human rights are being violated on a large scale at detention centers across the Gulf kingdom, and inmates are exposed to various forms of torture and ill-treatment.

      Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis since the popular uprising began in the Arab country in mid-February 2011.

      People demand that the Al Khalifa regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

      Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any form of dissent.

      The normalization of Bahrain With “Israel” is the great betrayal

      Rights Group Warns of Imminent Mass Executions of Political Prisoners in Saudi Arabia

      September 9, 2022

      By Staff, Agencies

      A Europe-based human rights organization expressed concerns over the imminent execution of dozens of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia, as Saudi courts continue to hand heavy punishment to human rights activists for expressing their opinion.

      The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights [ESOHR] said in a statement that 34 people are currently on the verge of execution in the oil-rich Gulf country, noting that Saudi authorities have put at least 120 people to death since the beginning of January until the end of May this year.

      ESOHR said that Bahraini nationals Jaafar Mohammad Sultan and Sadeq Majeed Thamer, who have been accused of ‘terrorism’-related crimes, face imminent “arbitrary” execution and could be killed at any moment.

      “Due to the escalation of repressive measures in Saudi Arabia, the lives of these two Bahraini youths are in danger. Many other political detainees are at the risk of execution as well,” the human rights organization said.

      Back in May, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of Thamer and Sultan after finding them guilty of “smuggling explosives” into the kingdom and involvement in ‘terrorist’ activities.

      The two Bahraini nationals were arrested in May 2015 along the King Fahd Causeway, which connects Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

      They were held incommunicado for months after their arrest while being subjected to systematic and fatal torture with the aim of extracting false confessions from them.

      In January, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions called on Saudi Arabia to halt the men’s execution and investigate their allegations of torture and ill-treatment.

      International human rights organizations have called upon Saudi authorities to stop the imminent execution of the two Bahraini men.

      The organizations have urged the officials not to ratify the death sentences, but rather, quash their convictions and re-try them in line with international fair trial standards.

      According to the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, Abdullah al-Howaiti, Jalal al-Bad, Yusuf al-Manasif, Sajjad al-Yasin, Hassan Zaki al-Faraj, Mehdi al-Moshen and Abdullah al-Razi are among the Saudi teenagers sentenced to death.

      Saudi courts, ESOHR went on, have recently imposed heavy punishment and decades-long prison sentences against human rights activists and democracy advocates for expressing their opinion.

      It noted that Saudi officials have sentenced Nourah al-Qahtani to 45 years in prison for her social media posts.

      According to Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Qahtani received the heavy sentence on appeal after she was convicted of “using the internet to tear [Saudi Arabia’s] social fabric” and “violating public order” via social media.

      The Washington-based group added that she was convicted under the kingdom’s so-called counter-‘terrorism’ and anti-cybercrime law.

      Earlier, Saudi officials had sentenced women’s rights activist Salma al-Shehab to 34 years in prison.

      The United Nations Human Rights Council said in a statement that the jail term handed down to Shehab, a mother of two young children and a doctoral student at the United Kingdom’s Leeds University, is the longest sentence ever given to a women’s rights defender in Saudi Arabia.

      The statement, nevertheless, came a week before Qahtani’s 45-year imprisonment was revealed.

      The UN rights council noted that Saudi authorities have taken advantage of the return to the international fold, following the savage killing of Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, to deepen their crackdown on political opponents.

      Last month, ESOHR expressed grave concern over the alarming surge in executions in Saudi Arabia in the first half of the current year, saying the figure is almost twice the number during all of last year.

      The new statistics fly in the face of commitments given by Saudi authorities to curb the use of capital punishments.

      Last year, 65 people were executed in the kingdom, a slight drop from the previous year that ESOHR attributed partially to coronavirus restrictions.

      “If Saudi Arabia continues to execute people at the same rate during the second half of 2022, then it will exceed the record of 186 executions in 2019,” ESOHR said.

      Since bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested hundreds of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others for their political activities, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnation of the crackdown.

      Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied by the kingdom’s authorities.

      Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-‘terrorism’ laws to target activism.

      Riyadh Court Upholds Death Sentence of Two Bahraini Youths

      May 21, 2022

      By Staff, Agencies

      A top Saudi court upheld death sentences of two young Bahraini nationals over trumped-up terror charges.

      The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia issues a final ruling to execute Bahraini prisoners of conscience, Sadiq Thamer and Jaafar Sultan

      The Riyadh-based supreme court of appeals sentenced Sadiq Majid Thamer and Jaafar Mohammed Sultan to death after alleging that they have been found guilty of “smuggling explosives” into the kingdom and “involved in terrorist activities.”

      Human rights organizations and an opposition protest movement described the rulings as “unfair and arbitrary,” saying they were issued based on confessions extracted under torture.

      This come as social media activists have launched campaigns in solidarity with the two Bahraini youths, with human rights organizations and campaigners calling for an end to the “unjust” ruling and their immediate release.

      Bahrain’s February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition held the Saudi regime fully responsible for the youths’ safety, calling on the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to take on his duties and intervene urgently to stop the crime.

      The Bahraini opposition movement also called on the international community to stand up against Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and prevent the death sentences from being carried out.

      The Coalition demanded swift action to save the lives of the two young Bahraini nationals before it gets too late, considering Bahrain’s ruling Khalifah regime as a partner in any criminal action against the Arab nation.

      Sultan and Thamer were arrested in May 2015 along the King Fahd Causeway, which connects Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

      They were held incommunicado for months after their arrest. The Bahraini youths were subjected to systematic and fatal torture with the aim of extracting false confessions from them.

      Ever since bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested dozens of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

      Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.

      Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

      Bahrain’s most prominent cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim has said that drawing up a new constitution is the only way out of the political crisis in the protest-hit tiny Gulf kingdom, urging the regime in Manama to pursue an agreement with the Bahraini opposition instead of increasingly suppressing dissent.

      Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

      The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

      Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.

      Palestinians denounce ‘abhorrent’ pursuit of resistance activists by Palestinian Authority forces

      January 22 2022

      According to a statement, resistance factions have demanded the Palestinian Authority release all political detainees and put an end to prosecutions against activists and prisoners in the West Bank

      ByNews Desk- 

      Palestinian resistance forces described the continuation of the Palestinian Authority’s strategy of arresting and prosecuting activists in Ramallah as “unpatriotic activities that assist the occupation and its objectives in the West Bank.”

      Resistance factions decried the attempts of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to “extinguish the torch of popular resistance in Jabal Sabih, Beita, Beit Dajan, villages and cities of the West Bank,” according to a statement obtained by Quds Press on 22 January.

      “The use of the abhorrent revolving policy by the PA and its apparatus, as well as its pursuit of leaders and activists who lead confrontations against the expropriation of Palestinian land in the West Bank, is a miserable attempt to prevent the continuation of conflict with the occupier,” the statement said.

      “Continued security coordination with the occupation, which enhances the functional role of the authority and its security services,” the statement added, “will not discourage the Palestinian people, cadres, or living forces from continuing the Palestinian struggle in all of its forms until the occupation is defeated from all of our sacred soil.”

      According to the statement, the factions demanded the Palestinian Authority immediately release all political detainees as well as end prosecutions and summons against cadres (factional activists) and prisoners released in the West Bank.

      Resistance factions have urged the people of the West Bank to “reject the policy of arrests and confront it, and to stress that the resistance will remain an approach rooted in the Palestinian consciousness and conscience, and that it is stronger than all these malicious and sinister attempts.”

      Security forces freed three anti-settlement activists from Beita (south of Nablus) on 21 January, a day after their detention.

      “The detainees are activists protesting settlements in the town of Beita, and they are permanent participants in the clashes that occur on a regular basis in the neighborhood of Jabal Sabih, where settlers seek to create a settlement outpost,” local sources informed Quds Press.

      A nation imprisoned: A record number of 68 new prisons have been opened in Turkey in 2021.

      January 3, 2022

      Erkan’s Field Diary

      https://ift.tt/3JyLjyRPenal labor in Turkey: Prisoners build prisons

      Bianet :: English

      A record number of 68 new prisons have been opened in Turkey this year, according to the Ministry of Justice.


      Case of killed HDP worker Deniz Poyraz: ?Treat the murderer like a murderer?

      Bianet :: English

      An armed assailant stormed the HDP?s provincial office in İzmir and killed party worker Deniz Poyraz. He is facing an aggravated life sentence. The hearing has been adjourned to January 24.

      Attack on HDP office in İstanbul leaves two injured

      Party members said that the assailant ran away after they took away his weapons in what was the third armed attack targeting the party in six months.

      ?Seeking justice, not begging?: Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk in prison despite severe illness

      Bianet :: English

      Tuğluk?s brother says, ?We are trying to find justice, if there is any. We are not begging anyone. However, they can?t prevent my sister?s…

      View original post

      On par with Saudi Arabia: Manama launches an attack on Lebanon

      22 Dec 2021

      On par with Saudi Arabia: Manama launches an attack on Lebanon

      Source: Al Mayadeen

      Sondoss Al Asaad

      Manama is accused by International organizations of committing torture against political prisoners. Not only does it revoke citizenship from its citizens, now it continues to chase them in their exile.

      During a press conference held in Beirut on Thursday, Dec, 9th, Bahrain’s top opposition bloc, Al-Wefaq, launched its annual report monitoring the alarming human rights situation in the country, entitled ‘The Epidemic of Violations’. The report accused the Bahraini government of arbitrarily arresting thousands, including hundreds of women and children, issuing hundreds of politicized sentences, and torturing hundreds of political detainees.

      Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a strongly worded protest to the Lebanese government, labeling the Al-Wefaq’s activists as “hostile personnel designated on supporting and sponsoring terrorism lists, with the purpose of broadcasting and promoting abusive and malicious allegations against the Kingdom of Bahrain”.

      The statement considered that hosting the press conference is an “unacceptable act, which is a flagrant violation of the principles of respect for the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their internal affairs, in contravention of international charters and the charter of the League of Arab States”.

      A court in Bahrain arbitrarily dissolved Al-Wefaq in July 2016, accusing it of helping to foster violence and “terrorism” in the island kingdom. The ruling came amid the escalating crackdown on the peaceful opposition in the aftermath of the 2011 pro-democracy protests. Then, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored the dissolution,  dubbing it “the latest in a series of restrictions of the rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of expression in Bahrain”.

      Bahraini Human rights activist Sayed Youssef Al-Mohafada  tweeted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement was marred by inaccuracies, saying, “No person participated in the human rights conference is, internationally or locally, classified on the terrorism lists,” adding that “holding conferences does not violate international conventions, as the statement claims.” Sayed Al-Mohafada noted that “those who wrote the statement are not familiar with international law, human rights law, humanitarian law, and Lebanon’s domestic laws that guarantee freedom of expression”.

      Al-Wefaq’s report states that it has observed 20,068 arbitrary arrests of citizens between the onset of the popular movement in February 2011 and mid-2021 this year, among them 1,716 children and more than 300 women. It adds that 1941 politicized judicial rulings were issued during the past two years, including 198 life imprisonment sentences and 309 cases of citizenship revocation, while the number of violations of detainees has reached 1,320, most notably medical negligence, torture, electric shocks, or enforced disappearance.

      Returning to Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s media office issued a  statement requesting an immediate investigation. The Prime Minister “affirms his refusal that Lebanon be used as a platform to offend and insult the Kingdom of Bahrain”, stressing his “keenness on maintaining the strong historical relations”.

      Activists on social media got frustrated with Mikati’s statement saying he has given up Lebanon’s minimum level of sovereignty making it a vassal of the monarchies of oppression, injustice, and dictatorship. It once again highlights one of Bahrain’s most blatant systemic policy of citizen revocation, which coincides with the systematic policy of political naturalization, which has led into serious political, social and economic implications in the country.

      Bahraini opponent Ali Al-Fayez tweeted, “The [Bahraini] opposition has held tens or even hundreds of press conferences, seminars, and vigils (including the ongoing strike of Ali Mushaima in front of the [UK] embassy in London), and it has political relations in the eastern and western world. This media intimidation against Lebanon is based only on a cheap failed policy led by Saudi Arabia.”

      Bouthayna Ollaik, the Lebanese Radio talk-show host, commented, “Some people in Lebanon want to be leaders of a farm, not of a state, and they invented the saying ‘Lebanon’s strength is in its weakness,’ so that they would not bear the responsibility of protecting and defending it, and to remain subject to the foreign tutelage”.

      Since 2011, the Bahraini authorities have revoked the citizenship of at least 700 nationals, 232 in 2018 alone, in a process that lacks adequate legal safeguards. This includes many human rights defenders, political activists, journalists, and religious scholars, etc. leaving many stateless, and some have been deported.

      In his book “Stateless”, a book about his citizenship revocation in Bahrain, Dr. Ali Ahmed Al-Dairi, a Bahraini critic, academic, and researcher specializing in speech analysis, states that “the state of revoking your nationality plunges you into an existential ordeal that has no treatment or cure”.

      “Bahrain seems intent on earning the dubious honor of leading the region in stripping citizenship,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “While authorities claim that these acts are linked to national security, they are in fact punishing many people merely for peacefully voicing dissent”.

      Last May, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, an independent Bahraini NGO that endeavors to preserve universal principles of dignity and respect by shielding democracy, launched during a webinar, a  report entitled ‘Arbitrary Revocation of Nationality in Bahrain: a Tool of Oppression.’ According to SALAM, “This arbitrary practice affects not only the victims, but also their families and future generations. Bahrain should reinstate full citizenship to those who were impacted, provide them with an effective remedy and reparation, and dismantle the arbitrary laws which enable citizenship revocations.”

      Just today, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Manama to release its political prisoners ahead of the National Day celebrations. HRW urged the regime “to free everyone imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of association, peaceful assembly, and expression, including rights defenders, opposition activists, and journalists.” HRW said those who remain confined to “degrading prison conditions, are in part because Bahrain’s powerful allies, like the United States and the United Kingdom, do not speak out against Bahrain’s serious human rights violations”. HRW’s Michael Page noted that Bahrain has one of the highest incarceration rates per capita in the Middle East, adding that the authorities arrested and prosecuted 58 online activists between June 2020 and May 2021 alone. 

      Beirut, indeed, has always been a safe refuge for a large gathering of Arab opponents, revolutionaries, and nationalists. Of course, a human rights conference like Al-Wefaq’s was and will not be the first nor the last for the Bahraini opposition in an Arab capital, which has once warmly hosted Ghassan Kanafani, Nasser Al-Saeed, George Habash, and others.

      Consequently, we ask: Are the Lebanese officials, the servants of the reactionary Gulf regimes, aware that, by their shameful statements, are compromising Lebanon’s sovereignty and making it a subjugated vassal of their tyranny? Have they ever heard that these activists have been forcibly exiled by Manama after they were unjustly and aggressively deported to be placed by terrorist mercenaries? Then, how has the concept of freedom of expression got to have double standards? What about the shameful Syrian opposition conferences, which have been held in Beirut for years, to ward off blasphemy, terrorism, and systematic atrocities against the Syrian people? Shall Beirut turn into a new ward of the notorious Jaw prison, in which Manama commits the most heinous human rights violations as documented by major international human rights organizations?

      The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

      The risk of a violent escalation in the occupied territories, as a result of one or more prisoners dying in Israeli custody, is growing every day.

      Nov 7, 2021


      “Administrative detention, in the way that the Israelis practice it, is fundamentally a violation of the Geneva conventions,” says Samidoun’s International Coordinator, Charlotte Kates, when asked to comment on the legality of the detention of six long-term hunger-striking Palestinian political prisoners, two of which could die at any moment.

      On October 22, experts at United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) urged “Israel” to release five Palestinian hunger strikers over fears that there could be a rapid deterioration in their health at any moment. Despite this, Israeli authorities have continued to ignore these concerns. Now that there is another hunger striker to add to the original list, the risk of a violent escalation in the occupied territories, as a result of one or more prisoners dying in Israeli custody, is growing every day.

      The six Palestinian prisoners currently on long-term hunger strike are: Kayed al-Fasfous, Miqdad Al-Qawasmeh, Alaa Al-Araj, Hisham Abu Hawash, Ayyad Al-Herimi and Louay Al-Ashqar. The mother of Miqdad Qawasmi, who spoke with Arab48 news, says that her son “has constant pain in the abdomen, his joints, and bones, and cannot see, in addition to arrhythmia, migraine and many other conditions,” adding that she lives in fear of him dying in the coming days. Kayed al-Fasfous, who has been on hunger strike for the longest period out of the group, abstaining from food for 118 days, also risks “clinical death” at any moment, according to his loved ones.

      To get greater insight I traveled to Madrid, interviewing Charlotte Kates, the current International Coordinator for Samidoun, a leading Palestinian political prisoner advocacy group, who urged international mobilization to expand upon current social media and protest campaigns. Samidoun helped organize a protest which was set for the launch of a new Palestinian political movement ‘Masar al-Badil’ and in solidarity with the six political prisoners on hunger strike.

      Firstly, I asked her to explain further what is happening to the political prisoners, she started by stating: “All of them are being held without charge or trial under administrative detention,” going on to explain that “administrative detention was first introduced to Palestine by the British colonial mandate and then adopted by the Zionist regime and is routinely used to imprison Palestinians on the basis of so-called secret evidence, with no charge, no trial and no opportunity to meaningfully contest on their imprisonment.”

      “Because of that, these prisoners are putting their bodies and their lives on the line…Kayed al-Fasfous and Miqdad al-Qawasma have both been on hunger strike for over 100 days, they are held in the hospital, they have become emaciated, but they are refusing to stop because they know that this is a method of struggle, a method of resistance to obtain their freedom”.

      Asked what Samidoun is currently doing to support the hunger strikers in administrative detention (held without a charge), Kates said: “We are working to organise with many other groups around the world, to protest, to put pressure on Western governments which are responsible for diplomatic, military and financial support for the Israeli occupation and to hold these governments accountable for their crimes against Palestinian prisoners, including the hunger strikers, the administrative detainees and all 4,650 Palestinians jailed by the Israeli occupation.” 

      I asked Charlotte Kates about the latest reports, coming out of the Israeli military prisons, that Samidoun had received, she answered: “In the past weeks and months, there has been a large escalation, not only in repression, but also in Palestinian resistance and the story of the 6 prisoners, who escaped from Gilboa prison, inspired Palestinians in and around the world and also internationals who were concerned for social justice, to take action and to mobilize in support of these prisoners.”

      “What we have seen in response is a retaliation, and a criminal form of retaliation against the Palestinian prisoners has been this repression targeting every right they have obtained, which has only come through hunger strikes and other forms of collective struggle.”

      As Samidoun provides legal help to Palestinian political prisoners, How does Charlotte Kates view administrative detention?

      “Well, administrative detention, in the way that the Israelis practice it, is fundamentally a violation of the Geneva conventions. Israel will claim that an occupier has the right to detain people under the law, but the reality is that they use administrative detention on a systematic and constant basis. There are currently 500 Palestinians being held in administrative detention, there are around 100 orders issued every month, many of these are renewed repeatedly on the basis of so-called security reasons that are never revealed. Palestinians spend years at a time in administrative detention, so rather than being rare and time limited administrative detention is a systematic form of colonial oppression that happens on a very frequent basis and which is extended without any cause, or any allegation being presented.”

      She added that: “It should be noted that these so-called allegations are illegitimate, because the entire system is based on the criminalization of legitimate Palestinian resistance, but in these cases even within the military court system, which convicts over 99% of Palestinians, Israel doesn’t think it can make a case, which just shows that with blatant disregard to fair trial standards, like it signed the International covenant on civil and political rights, not to mention the Geneva conventions, administrative detention is a violation of international law.”

      In mid-October the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Party, a political and armed group based in the Gaza Strip, organized a mass hunger strike which included around 400 prisoners belonging to the group. “Israel” quickly struck a deal to end this mass hunger strike, which threatened to draw in other political parties to organize their members to do the same. Yet, despite “Israel” having de-escalated tensions through striking a deal, which secured more basic rights for Palestinian prisoners, PIJ and Hamas, Gaza’s ruling Party, have both threatened retaliation in the event that any hunger striking prisoner is to die in Israeli custody. If this is to occur, a sudden armed escalation between “Israel” and the Gaza Strip could easily come as a result of it.

      To A Wider Prison: Bahraini Regime Conditionally Releases Some Political Prisoners

      September 16, 2021 

      To A Wider Prison: Bahraini Regime Conditionally Releases Some Political Prisoners

      By Staff, Agencies

      As if the Bahraini regime is just sending political prisoners from small cells to a wider prison…

      The Bahraini regime has conditionally released 30 prisoners under new rules allowing electronic monitoring and home detention instead, the government and activists said on Wednesday. Almost all those freed are considered political detainees by rights groups.

      The Gulf state has imprisoned thousands of protesters, journalists and activists – some in mass trials – since an anti-government uprising in 2011. It says it prosecutes those who commit crimes in accordance with international law, and rejects criticism from the United Nations and others over the conduct of trials and detention conditions.

      Under a 2017 “alternative sentences” law prisoners who had served at least half their sentence in jail were allowed to complete it outside via measures including community service, rehabilitation courses and electronic surveillance.

      Last week, the king amended the law to allow a switch to non-custodial punishments at any point in a sentence.

      Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, a Bahraini activist in exile who heads the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy [BIRD], said 27 of those released this week were political prisoners, and many had been detained when they were juveniles.

      “However, they will continue to face severe restrictions on their liberty and these rare releases remain overshadowed by the continued incarceration of hundreds of political prisoners in Bahrain,” said Alwadaei. He called on the government to unconditionally release all political detainees.

      One of those released on Sunday night was Kameel Juma Hasan, who was arrested at age 14 and sentenced to 28 years in 2019. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [WGAD] in May said it considered him to have been arbitrarily detained.

      Documents seen by Reuters show some release offer conditions including devices to monitor movements and bans on speaking to the press, using social media or any political activities.

      Hassan Mushaima, who was arrested in 2011 and jailed for life for anti-government protests, declined a conditional release offer this week, his son Ali Mushaima told Reuters.

      Several high-profile government critics remain in prison, including Abduljalil al-Singace who has been on hunger strike for more than 60 days.

      Leading human rights activist Nabeel Rajab was released under the alternative sentence law in June 2020.

      BIRD estimates that there are over 1,400 political prisoners out of a total prison population in Bahrain of around 3200-3800.

      On Wednesday the public prosecution claimed it was considering alternative sentences for six children, without elaborating.

      Earlier this year prisoners and security forces clashed inside Jaw prison, and families protested outside, after COVID-19 outbreaks.

      شهادات لمعتقلين لدى السلطة الفلسطينيّة: تعرّضنا لتعذيب وشتائم للمقاومة في غزة!

      09/06/2021

      كشفت شهادات لمعتقلين سياسيين أفرج عنهم مؤخراً من سجون قوات السلطة الأمنية، عن تعرّضهم لتعذيب وإهانات على خلفية مشاركتهم في تظاهرات وفعاليات داعمة للمقاومة في غزة، خلال الهبة الشعبية الأخيرة، التي تزامنت مع معركة «سيف القدس».

      وأدلى عدد من المعتقلين السياسيين بشهادات عن إجبار المحققين لهم على شتم المقاومة، وتوجيه إهانات لهم خلال التحقيق لمشاركتهم في الفعاليات الشعبية، المناصرة لغزة، والتي هتفت لكتائب القسام، وأبوعبيدة ومحمد ضيف.

      وفي شهادة نقلتها عائلته، قال المعتقل السياسي مصطفى الخواجا، من بلدة نعلين غرب رام الله، إن «المحققين أجبروه على شتم شخصيات من المقاومة في غزة، مثل الناطق باسم كتائب القسام أبو عبيدة وغيره».

      وأفرج عن الخواجا، أول أمس، بعد 17 يوماً من الاعتقال تعرّض خلالها للتعذيب والشبح، وفقاً لعائلته، التي كشفت أن «الضباط خلال التحقيق وجّهوا إهانات له وشتائم للمقاومة واستخفافاً بإنجازها في المعركة».

      وفي السياق، أدلى المعتقل السياسي أكرم سلمة بشهادة حول تعرّضه للتعذيب والإهانات، خلال اعتقاله لمدة 16 يوماً في سجن اللجنة الأمنية في أريحا.

      وكشف أن التهمة التي اعتقلته أجهزة السلطة عليها، كانت التنظيم والمشاركة في مسيرات داعمة للمقاومة في غزة، خلال معركة «سيف القدس».

      وأشار إلى أن المحققين تعمّدوا خلال التحقيق معه توجيه شتائم للمقاومة وقادتها، وعبارات مثل «تظنون أنكم انتصرتم؟ سنعيد تربيتكم من جديد؟».

      من جانبه، أكد المحامي مهند كراجة من مجموعة «محامون من أجل العدالة»، توثيق ادعاءات تعذيب من جانب عدد من النشطاء الذين اعتقلوا في حملة الاعتقالات الأخيرة التي نفذتها الأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية، بعد الهبّة الشعبية والمعركة في غزة.

      وقال إنه تم توثيق ما قاله المعتقلون حول تعرّضهم للتعذيب أمام محكمة الصلح والنيابة، التي قالت إنها ستفتح تحقيقاً بذلك، بعد الفحص من قبل طبيب شرعيّ.

      وحول توثيق توجيه إهانات للمقاومة خلال التحقيق، أشار إلى أن مجموعة لم توثق هذه الشهادات بعد، نظراً للانشغال بمتابعة ملفات المعتقلين في الحملة، وستقوم بذلك لاحقاً.

      وقال كراجة، إن المجموعة تتابع حالياً ثمانية معتقلين سياسيين، معظمهم محتجز لدى اللجنة الأمنية في أريحا.

      Bahrain Crackdown: Demonstrations Continue For 20th Consecutive Night in Support of Jailed Activists

      Source

      Bahrain Crackdown: Demonstrations Continue For 20th Consecutive Night in Support of Jailed Activists

      By Staff, Agencies

      Amid the continued crackdown of the Manama regime, Bahrainis have rallied for the 20th night to reiterate their call for an immediate and unconditional release of political inmates amid concerns over the alarming situation of the country’s prisons in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

      The demonstrations were held under the banner of “Friday of Prisoners’ Rage,” with participants denouncing Bahraini authorities’ mistreatment of imprisoned activists, and the miserable conditions of prisoners at detention centers across the tiny kingdom.

      The demonstrators carried Bahrain’s national flags as well as pictures of jailed political opponents, and chanted anti-regime slogans in several villages, including Karzakan, Karbabad, Hamala, Shahrakan, al-Dair, Karrana, Abu Saiba, Shakhura, Bu Quwah, North Sehla and Samaheej, as they called for the unconditional freedom of the prisoners.

      Similar rallies were held in the villages of Dar Kulaib and Ma’ameer, where protestors held up the pictures of prominent opposition figure Zakia al-Barbouri, who was charged to five years in prison on February 6, 2019, and had her citizenship revoked in a politically-motivated case.

      Earlier this month, Bahrain’s most prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim warned that political dissidents in Bahraini prisons are facing deaths and demanded their immediate release. 

      In a statement carried by Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website on April 1, the senior cleric called on the ruling Al Khalifa regime to choose between the deaths of the dissident inmates and their release.

      “One of the worst things that the government of Bahrain does is to keep prisoners as leverage for political bargaining, especially now that the coronavirus is attacking prisons with full force,” the senior cleric added.

      Demonstrations in Bahrain have been held on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

      The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

      Manama, however, 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.

      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.

      King Hamad ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.

      Palestine elections: A leap into the unknown for Fatah and Hamas

      HearstDavid Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

      David Hearst

      18 February 2021 14:31 UTC

      Both parties are going into the elections without an agreed vision for Palestine and a detailed plan for obtaining it

      You can tell when elections are being planned in the occupied West Bank. 

      This is the fifth time elections across Palestine have been attempted in the past 15 years since they were held in 2006, when Hamas, to everyone’s surprise, not least their own, swept the board. This time President Mahmoud Abbas appears to be serious about holding them.

      How can one tell? Because between them his Preventive Security and Israeli forces are arresting anyone who opposes their candidates. The Palestinian Prisoners Club says that 456 civilians were arrested in January in the West Bank and on one night alone in February, 31 Palestinians were rounded up. 

      A Palestinian member of Central Elections Commission displays an ID to a colleague as they check the work of the first Voter Information and Registration Centre in Gaza City on 10 February, 2021 (AFP)

      A serious escalation

      The arrests are politically colour blind. Every faction has been targeted – even those that have not yet been established. For over a year, Israeli forces have been targeting hundreds of young men and women from a left-wing social and political network.

      Politically motivated arrests are nothing new in the West Bank. What may surprise some is that the Hamas leadership in Gaza is still pushing ahead with the election plan regardless

      They face charges of  “terrorist activity,” “visiting an enemy state” or even vaguer “communicating with foreign agents”. Their interrogators put them in little doubt about why they are being detained . They want fear to spread in the community.  Detention and torture are tools to stop the network before it can grow. Hamas members in the West Bank are threatened they will be next if they dare to stand. 

      Khaled al-Hajj, a Hamas leader in Jenin who supported President Abbas’s elections decrees, was arrested last week. Another Hamas member, who had just had surgery for cancer, was severely beaten.

      Wasfi Kabha, a former Hamas minister, told MEE: “We are facing a dangerous and serious escalation, not only by the occupation, but also by the security services that belong to the PA. That arrest campaign aims to scare, intimidate and terrorise members of the movement and also those who have sympathy for Hamas. The arrests are meant to influence the election. There are many others that the Israeli forces threaten to arrest if they nominate themselves or take part in the elections.”

      Kabha added: “The Palestinian security services severely beat Abdel Nasser Rabbi despite the fact he had suffered from cancer and had surgery a short time ago. Unfortunately, Palestinian security services finish the job of whoever Israel can not manage to arrest.”

      Politically motivated arrests are nothing new in the West Bank. What may surprise some is that the Hamas leadership in Gaza is still pushing ahead with the election plan regardless.

      A divided Hamas

      The interesting question is why? During three rounds of negotiations with Fatah in Beirut and Ankara, the Hamas leadership insisted on holding all three elections for the Legislative Council , the presidency, and the National Council of the PLO simultaneously. This is because they did not trust Abbas to keep his word once he himself had been reelected as president.After 15-year wait, Palestinian elections face new obstacles following law amendments

      Hamas also insisted that the PA end its security cooperation with Israel and the arrest campaign in the West Bank. For a while Abbas complied, only to abandon that strategy when it became clear to him last November that Donald Trump was out of office. In subsequent talks in Cairo, Hamas failed to get either demand. 

      The other two factions, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), both tabled reservations. Islamic Jihad announced it was not running for the elections, but the delegation from Hamas stayed in.

      Proponents of the deal with Fatah claim that Hamas were given guarantees that some 38,000 civil servants in Gaza would not only be paid by the PA, but receive permanent tenure. They claim a new election court would be formed to avoid the heavily weighted constitutional court that Abbas created. They also claim Hamas would secure the collaboration of the international community, including renewing relations with the European Union. They also claim that no one could criminalise the resistance.

      Opponents of the deal within Hamas say all of these promises are wishful thinking. They point out that the issue of civil servants, which is at least a decade old, has been put off until after the elections. A new election court has not been announced by Abbas and, even if it were to be formed, it could not supplant the existing constitutional court, which remains the highest legal authority in the West Bank. 

      Lastly, they say that it is not in Fatah’s power to guarantee international recognition of Hamas, which is still designated as a terrorist organisation by both the US and the EU

      This combination of pictures created on 11 January, 2019 shows (L) Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (AFP)
      This combination of pictures created on 11 January, 2019 shows (L) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (AFP)

      Hamas’s senior leadership is clearly divided. Hamas in Gaza is hemmed in, unable to break out of the prison camp that has become Gaza following the 2006 elections, the attempted coup by Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, and the split with Fatah. They are fed up with being held responsible for the continuing siege and are desperate to find a way out. Money is also running out. Iran is no longer funding them as before, and there are signs that other foreign backers are pushing them into Fatah’s arms.  Israel’s arrest campaign aims to destroy a new Palestinian movement

      But the anger at the crackdown on Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP members in the West Bank is mounting. While there is sympathy over the conditions they face in Gaza, the Hamas leadership, which is now based entirely in the enclave, will face mounting pressure to pull out of elections in which Hamas can only lose. 

      No one expects a rerun of the 2006 result.

      One measure of the backlash which the leadership in Gaza will face is spelled out in a leaked letter from one of the most prominent Hamas leaders in Israeli prisons. Ibrahim Hamid was a leader of the military wing in the West Bank during the Second Intifada and received one of the harshest terms: 54 concurrent life imprisonment sentences. Hamid called the decision by Hamas’ political bureau to run in the elections “hasty”.

      He said the decision had been made independently of the Shura Council, a consultative body that elects Hamas’s politburo, and without the full knowledge of the prisoners’ movement. Ibrahim added that running for the elections would only serve Abbas’s purpose of reviving his legitimacy while curtailing that of Hamas.

      In Hamid’s analysis, Hamas is facing a lose/lose scenario: should it win the elections, what is to prevent a repeat of the 2006 scenario, which launched the siege of Gaza and the split with Fatah? Should it lose the elections, would Hamas hand over both the administration and its rockets to Fatah in Gaza?

      Even if Abbas kept his word and created a genuinely representative national Palestinian government, and Hamas was allowed to return to parliament and enter the PLO, what would stop Israel from arresting MPs as they do now? 

      Fatah’s problems

      Fatah is faring no better. Abbas’s drive to refresh his mandate and seek the legitimacy he has lost as one of the architects of Oslo is being threatened by two other Fatah leaders. Abbas has long been aware of the plan which I first revealed in 2016 to replace him with his arch-rival Dahlan.

      The plan for a post-Abbas era was hatched by the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt. Since 2016, Egypt and Jordan have not stopped pressuring Abbas to reconcile with Dahlan. The latest message was passed to Abbas when Egypt and Jordan’s heads of intelligence visited Ramallah recently.

      The new card in this operation is the man who ran against Abbas and then withdrew his candidacy in the 2005 presidential election, the Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, a leader of the First and Second Intifadas who is in prison on five concurrent life sentences. 

      Barghouti remains a consistently popular figure of the resistance. At one point he polled higher than both Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader, for the post of president. In April 2017 Barghouti organised a hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

      This time round, Barghouti announced his intention to run for the presidency and the PNC through one of his supporters, Raafat Ilayyan. Ilayyan quoted Barghouti as saying that a united Fatah list “should be open to all including those accused of taking sides and those sacked from the movement”.

      A man holds a photo of prominent Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti calling for his release during a rally supporting those detained in Israeli jails after hundreds of them launched a hunger strike, in the West Bank town of Hebron on April 17, 2017
      A man holds a photo of prominent Palestinian prisoner Marwan Barghouti calling for his release during a rally on 17 April 2017 (AFP)

      This was a clear reference to Dahlan, who lives in exile and has been sentenced in absentia to three years in prison on corruption charges and expelled from the party. Dahlan’s lawyer at the time called the conviction a “cleansing exercise” for Abbas.

      Does Fatah want to liberate Palestine from the occupation, or does it want to govern as a surrogate for Israel, whatever conditions it is put under?

      After nearly two decades behind bars, Barghouti wants to get out of jail. Is Dahlan, who is Israel’s preferred Palestinian leader, the Fatah leader’s get out of jail card? Barghouti’s announcement ruffled feathers in Fatah. Jibril Rajoub, secretary general of Fatah’s central committee, who led negotiations with Hamas, accused foreign countries of meddling in the Palestinian elections. 

      Rajoub told Palestinian TV: “Some messages have been received from some countries trying to interfere in the path of dialogue, including Arab states which rushed [to normalise relations with Israel]. However, Fatah’s position is clear and does not take directions from any foreign capital.” 

      In their campaign to position Dahlan as the next Palestinian leader, Egypt, Jordan and UAE are keen to exploit the distrust between Fatah and Hamas. The latest sign of this is the arrival of the first of what will be a large group of Dahlan men in Gaza after many years in exile. This could only have been achieved with the consent of Hamas leaders in Gaza. 

      The true winner of the election may, therefore, be a man who does not even stand on the ballot. One way or another, Dahlan is determined to return to Palestine at the expense of both Abbas and Hamas. 

      The jockeying for position within Fatah is about power. But aside from this, Fatah has a real problem with its identity and its purpose. Does Fatah want to liberate Palestine from the occupation, or does it want to govern as a surrogate for Israel, whatever conditions it is put under?

      Rajoub and Dahlan are sworn enemies only because they are rivals. Neither has a vision for a free Palestine. Abbas momentarily found his voice as a Palestinian leader in pushing back against the normalisation of ties with Israel, which he called a betrayal. But as soon it became clear Trump was on his way out, Abbas tossed his principles out of the window and returned to business as usual both with Washington and Israel.

      The real leaders

      Who then are the real leaders of this struggle? For this, we should not look to elections but to what is happening on the streets because it is only here that liberation movements are reborn. That was the case when the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat started Fatah and when Hamas became a dominant force in the First Intifada. No one, either in Ramallah or Gaza, is leading or directing events that are now taking place in Palestine.

      Israel is playing a delaying game, and unhappily, both Fatah and Hamas leaders are playing into its hands

      It has been a long time since there were major demonstrations by Palestinian citizens of Israel. Earlier this month, protests erupted in several towns and villages. The spark this time is the crime rate and the lack of policing. But the Palestinian flags and the slogans tell a different story, one that has not been seen or heard since the First Intifada. 

      There are more and more youth initiatives taking root in the West Bank, including the one Israeli forces are so keen to dismantle. There is clearly a new generation of protest underway that is independent of Fatah, Hamas or the now divided Joint List in the Israeli Knesset.

      In the diaspora, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) is becoming an international movement. This, too, is independent of any Palestinian leadership. Rudderless, there is every chance that a new Palestinian movement in and outside Palestine will seize control. 

      Israel is playing a delaying game, and, unhappily, leaders of both Fatah and Hamas  – one crippled by its decision to recognise Israel, the other imprisoned by it – are playing into its hands. If this continues, the impetus to break the deadlock will come from the streets, as it always has done in the past.

      No vision

      What a contrast Palestinian leaders make to other liberation movements. When Nelson Mandela walked out of prison on 11 February 1990, he made a speech that resonates to this day. He said the armed struggle would continue until apartheid collapsed. He called on the international community to continue the boycott of the apartheid regime.

      Mandela and the ANC showed determination and vision to the end. Both are sadly lacking in Palestine

      “The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement would be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle… To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process towards the complete eradication of apartheid. Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way,” Mandela said.

      Compare this to what Fatah has done. It signed the Oslo agreement that criminalised the armed struggle and opened the way for Israel to normalise its relations with China, the Soviet Union in its last days, India and many African countries. Oslo gave nothing to the Palestinians. It ended up giving a lot to Israel, culminating in the opening of embassies in Abu Dhabi and Manama. 

      The Palestinian Authority created by Oslo became a surrogate of Israeli forces, even when Israel was starving Ramallah of tax revenue collected on its behalf. In Abbas’s own words, the PA provided Israel with “the cheapest occupation in history”.

      What did Abbas get in return? Another 600,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

      Mandela and the African National Congress showed determination and vision to the end. Both are sadly lacking in Palestine. The mice of this struggle are in Ramallah. The lions are on the street – where they have always been.

      The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.David

      Related

      Al-Qatif, The Prey of the House of Saud

      Al-Qatif, The Prey of the House of Saud

      By Latifa Al-Housseiny

      Beirut – Saudi authorities are continuing to pursue a relenting campaign of harassment against the Eastern Province in general and al-Qatif in particular despite having their past practices and arbitrary violations exposed.

      A few weeks ago, the security services launched a direct assault on prominent religious clerics in Al-Qatif. The residents in the governorate are accustomed to the recklessness of the regime and its unjustified, illegal, and illogical arrests. Each time, the House of Saud reinforces the narrative that it’s the seed of oppression and tyranny and against justice and fairness.

      Their routine about their supposed respect for human rights is comical. It doesn’t convince any party that advocates for international humanitarian standards or any organization that considers freedom of opinion and expression its goal and slogan.

      According to sources from inside al-Qatif, the abrupt security operations against the people and prominent figures in the region appear never ending.

      Speaking to al-Ahed News, the sources reported a number of recent arrests and incursions in al-Qatif and al-Ahsa. They documented around 33 operations involving safe houses and rest houses. Meanwhile, 34 arrests were made, including scholars as well as young men and women through checkpoints and mass summonses.

      Our sources indicate that 35 prisoners were arbitrarily detained for purely political reasons. They were tried in secret without any details of their judicial sessions being made public. This as their relatives were deprived of any information that might reassure them and give them a clear picture of their fate inside the prison cells.

      Three women are among these oppressed prisoners. They are housed in a detention center after security forces stormed their homes. One woman belongs to the Suleiman al-Dakhil family that hails from Tarout Island. The other two women are members of the Abdel-Al Al-Tarouti family that hails from the Umm al-Jazm neighborhood.

      The religious scholars Sayyed Khader Al-Awami, Sheikh Abbas Al-Saeed, and Sayyed Hashem Al-Shakhs share the same fate. They were kidnapped in broad daylight, and ambiguity surrounds the reasons for their imprisonment and their situation. Only one thing is known – they are held in the Mabahith prison in Dammam.

      As for the latest information regarding the Husseini orator Mohamed Boujbara, who was arrested along with 14 others for filming a video in Barr Al-Asfar in Al-Ahsa on the occasion of Arbaeen, our sources indicate that he was transferred to the Dammam prison.

      One of the grimmer developments involves the demolition of the Imam Hussein [AS] Mosque in Al-Zara, south of Al-Awamiyah. Authorities tore down the mosque a few days ago.

      The move is seen as a dangerous escalation that would be interpreted as an abhorrent targeting of everyone who raised their voices against the House of Saud, especially since martyr Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr led the prayers there and guided worshippers to truth and to ward off injustice.

      So far, the daily incursions have affected 15 towns in the al-Qatif Governorate, resulting in an increase in the number of detainees to more than 200 from al-Awamiyah alone. This only portends the worst as long as the Saudi leadership ignores human rights appeals and is concerned only with stifling freedoms.

      Saudi Arabia’s abominable human rights record

      November 30, 2020 – 11:33

      By Stephen Lendman

      Stephen Lendman is an American award-winning author, syndicated columnist, and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

      Like the U.S., Israel, and other rogue states, the Saudis operate by their own rules in flagrant violation of international laws, norms, and standards. It’s the world’s head-chopping/public whippings capital. Anyone can be targeted for exercising free expression, human rights activism, or other forms of dissent against despotic rule.

      They’re also vulnerable for not praying at designated times, improper dress code, non-observance of gender segregation, and other nonconformity with Wahhabi extremism.

      Its documented high crimes include state-sponsored murder, torture, arbitrary arrests, and detentions, supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups, partnering in U.S. regional wars, banning free elections, denying due process and judicial fairness, prohibiting religious freedom, human trafficking, kidnappings, committing crimes of war and against humanity, along with virtually every other rule of law breach imaginable.

      In mid-November, the London Daily Mail reported the following: “Saudi interrogators forced jailed women’s rights activists to perform sex acts, hung them from ceilings and ‘tortured’ them with electric shocks,” citing a report, titled: “A Stain on World Leaders and the G20 Summit in Saudi Arabia: The shameful detention and torture of Saudi women.”

      The report explained that in May 2018, “10 human rights defenders who had successfully campaigned” to end the prohibition against women driving were arrested and detained. 

      Weeks later, nine more arrests and detentions followed. Targeted individuals were activists for women’s rights in the kingdom. A few are males who support gender equality were also arrested. Most individuals targeted remain detained. It was learned that they were “subjected to torture, inhuman and degrading conditions of detention, solitary confinement, and unfair trial processes.”

      In the report, human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy called on G20 nations to boycott the virtual November 21-22 Riyadh summit until wrongfully detained women are free. Other charges included forcing them to watch pornography, along with performing other sexual acts on interrogators.

      One detained woman was reportedly told: “I’ll do whatever I like to you, and then I’ll dissolve you and flush you down the toilet.” Another woman said Saudi King Salman’s younger brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman, oversaw what went on, at one point saying:  “I can do anything I like to you.”

      Commenting on her report, Baroness Kennedy said horrendous abuses endured by detained women in the kingdom wouldn’t be tolerated in “decent nation(s),” adding: “Being expected to deliver for interrogators, what that has done to the soul of a woman is so terrible.”

      Saudi abuses against nonviolent activist women are typical of how their ruling authorities always operate — showing contempt for the rights of ordinary people, tolerating no dissent.

      Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is the kingdom’s torturer assassin-in-chief. He personally signed off on the October 2018 brutal murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. In 2017, he arrested and detained hundreds of royal family members and Saudi businessmen. Held under house arrest at Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, they were forced to pay tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in cash and assets to the regime for release — MBS grand theft on the phony pretext of rooting out corruption. 

      He consolidated power by eliminating rivals and terrorizing potential ones. Royal family members, Saudi businessmen, and others in the kingdom not willing to affirm loyalty to his rule risk arrest, detention, torture, and elimination.

      Since appointed crown prince in June 2017 — gaining power because his of father’s mental and physical deterioration — he’s ruthlessly gone all-out to solidify it unchallenged. He likely OK’s sexual and other torture of detained women activists.

      UN secretary-general Guterres is largely silent about Western, Israeli and Saudi high crimes, serving their interests instead of condemning them. As long as Saudi Arabia is oil-rich, its wealth used to invest in Western countries and buy their weapons, as well as partnering in their regional wars, their ruling authorities will turn a blind eye to the worst of kingdom high crimes.
       

      RELATED NEWS

      ‘Night of the Beating’: Details Emerge of Riyadh Ritz-Carlton Purge

      Source

      November 20, 2020

      Capture

      In early November 2017, nearly 400 of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful people, among them princes, tycoons and ministers, were rounded up and detained in the Ritz-Carlton hotel, in what became the biggest and most contentious purge in the modern kingdom’s history.

      The arrests shook the foundations of Saudi society, in an instant turning untouchable establishment figures into targets for arrest. Statuses were discarded, assets seized and business empires upended. A conventional pact between the state and its influential elite was shredded overnight.

      Now, leading figures caught up in the detentions have revealed details of what they say took place. The former detainees, many of whom were stripped of fortunes, portray a scene of torture and coercion, and of royal court advisers leading chaotic attempts to understand the investments behind the wealth of the kingdom’s most influential families, then seizing what they could find.

      The accounts of what occurred in the Ritz, provided through an intermediary, are from some of the most senior Saudi business figures, who claim to have been beaten and intimidated by security officers, under the supervision of two ministers, both close confidantes of the man who ordered the purge, the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

      The disclosures come on the third anniversary of the purge and ahead of the G20 summit in Riyadh this weekend, which the Covid-19 pandemic has turned from a global showpiece into a giant webinar. Prince Mohammad, the de facto ruler, will also from January face a new US president who is likely to eschew the wholesale cover provided by the Trump administration in favor of a more conventional approach that pays some heed to human rights issues.

      Advocates of the right for women to drive in Saudi Arabia among them Loujain al-Hathloul, remain in prison in Riyadh, despite campaigns for their release. The summit, a theme of which is women’s empowerment, has been flagged as a moment to offer clemency, but officials have remained unmoved.

      The Ritz-Carlton detentions often started with a phone call, summoning targets for meetings with Prince Mohammad, or King Salman himself. In another case, two prominent businessmen said they were told to meet in a home and wait for a royal court adviser to join them. Instead, state security officials showed up, ushering them to a five-star prison, where guards and senior aides were waiting.

      “On the first night, everyone was blindfolded and nearly everyone was subjected to what Egyptian intelligence calls the ‘night of the beating’”, said a source with intimate knowledge of what took place. “People were asked if they knew why they were there. No one did. Most were beaten, some of them badly. There were people tied to the walls, in stress positions. It went on for hours, and all of those doing the torturing were Saudis.

      “It was designed to soften them up. And then the next day, the interrogators arrived.”

      The detainees had by then been separated into rooms in the hotel that a year earlier had been the venue for the launch of Prince Mohammad’s ambitious “Vision 2030” plan – an overhaul of Saudi society that was meant to open a rigid country to a world at that point intrigued by the breadth of his promised reforms.

      “There is a misconception that they turned up all-knowing with pages of data and information,” a source said, of the interrogators. “They didn’t. They in fact knew very little and were winging it. They were OK on Saudi assets, but they were hopeless on the offshore stuff.”

      Some detainees spoke of being threatened with the release of private information, such as extramarital affairs, or business dealings that would not have won approval even under the old system. Next to nothing leaked, but the few details that did emerge gave relevance to the calls Ibrahim Warde, an adjunct professor of international finance at the Fletcher School of Tufts University in the US, had started receiving in mid-2017 from former students asking about prominent Saudis whose careers he had explored in course work. He sensed something big was looming in Riyadh, and he was right.

      “Many of those who came out of my classes ended up in the world of financial intelligence,” he said. “I kept getting strange requests from some of them about who was involved in various financial shenanigans. It became clear that they were preparing reports for companies that were acting for Saudis back home.”

      The lack of understanding of investment structures surprised some of the men being questioned. “They were guessing peoples’ net worth,” said the source familiar with events inside the Ritz. “It was a shakedown. At one point, they gave people access to their emails and phones and told them to contact their [banking] relationship managers in Geneva and ask for large sums of money. The callers were told there was no equity in the accounts. [The interrogators] thought all the assets were in cash.”

      A senior banking source, who refused to be named, said executives across the Swiss banking sector had launched an investigation in the wake of irregular transactions at the time of the crackdowns. “A lot of these transfers appear to have been made under duress. Some were stopped, because the requests were not routine. But some got through.”

      Many of those detained told aides they remained puzzled about why they were there. Some had been confidantes of the Saudi monarchy over generations, benefiting from their access to monarchs and princes who had not been shy in cultivating business leaders through access and largesse. All Saudi royals had enjoyed relationships with industrialist dynasties and political patronage had been central to the trade-off. “This is an absolute monarchy, which means that leaders can do what they want,” the source said. “People won favors through long-held customs.

      “Often they had no idea what they were looking for. It became straight up blackmail in some cases, because some of the detainees were refusing to sign anything. There was no due process. There is no such thing in the Saudi justice system as a plea bargain, but that was what they were trying to enforce.”

      Three years on, Prince Mohammad remains insistent that all those stripped of wealth had been guilty of corruption. Saudi officials say up to $107bn (£80bn) was recovered from 87 people and returned to the Saudi treasury. The detentions garnered broad support across parts of Saudi society, where the crown prince remains popular despite three years of damaging headlines, including the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, carried out in Istanbul by a hit squad linked to Prince Mohammad’s former aide.

      The sources who spoke to the Guardian said the figure seized was closer to $28bn and claimed the purge came at the price of breaking trust between the monarchy and the Saudi business community.

      “This was about consolidating his rule, plain and simple. It came before the Khashoggi atrocity, and the fact that he got away with it allowed him to do the latter. The same guards involved in the Ritz were involved in the killing. History won’t be kind to MBS on either,” one of the sources said.

      Warde said: “Anti-corruption initiatives are usually politically motivated. They are often tools for singling out those who were enriched. They provide selective lists of those who were enriched. This was a clear case of the intersection of money and politics in the Islamic world.”

      Source: The Guardian

      In Serbia, la Résistance continues

      In Serbia, la Résistance continues

      August 08, 2020

      by Saker’s Johnny-on-the-spot in Belgrade for The Saker Blog

      Last Monday, August 3 – to paraphrase President Roosevelt – was a day that will live in Serbia’s parliamentary infamy. The fraudulently elected “parliament” was formally seated, but its inauguration was most inauspicious. On the plateau in front of the Parliament building indignant citizens greeted the arrival of the tyrant’s rubber stamp “parliamentarians” with angry shouts, eggs (hopefully as rotten as their targets), and tomatoes. Take a watch:

      A journalist inside the building tried to strike up impromptu conversations with the new “legislators,” but few seemed self-confident enough to chat or even bold enough to identify themselves by name. One of them (Vučić’s former minister of culture Tasovac, at 00.36 seconds, with his signature bizarre hairstyle) tried to run away. If you speak Serbian, take another watch, but if you do not speak the language, no big deal. Just kick back and enjoy the obvious discomfort of these fraudsters, whose body language is a clear admission that they are where they do not belong:

      Would anyone watching this disgraceful spectacle ever guess that the renewal of Serbia’s independent statehood in early 19th century was accompanied at every turn by vibrant parliamentary life? Tyranny and one-man rule are inherently incompatible with the Serbian ethos. Even during the first Serbian insurrection against Ottoman occupation in 1804 there was an advisory soviet (Правителствующій совѣт сербскій) to make sure that Karageorge, the leader of the rebellion, would not be making arbitrary decisions. Throughout the rest of the 19th century, Parliament or Скупштина, played a major role in political life, balancing the power of the prince and later the king. The golden age of Serbian parliamentarianism was the first decade of the 20th century when the Skupština, in terms of the quality of its proceedings and elite composition, which included the country’s most accomplished citizens and finest minds, was more than a match for its Western European models. Their successors today are colorless, insecure non-entities looking only for a sinecure and always ready to raise their hands approvingly at the command of their ruling party superiors.

      And they will be expected to do just that soon, when the constitutional amendament to delete the preamble which asserts that Kosovo is an inalienable part of Serbia is put before them. They will be expected also to approve mass compulsory Covid-19 vaccionations with hastily improvised, untested and unsafe experimental preparations which the regime intends to use on a good part of the Serbian population as guinea pigs, in return for hefty bribes from crooked pharmaceutical manufacturers. And they will at some point undoubtedly raise their hands also when asked to publicly approve the currently secret arrangements whereby hordes of migrants deemed superflous by Germany, Austria, and other EU countries will be dumped on Serbia, to be permanently settled here.

      Serbs are expressing their utter disgust at the regime’s rampaging madness with various degrees of public intensity, depending on where they happen to be. On August 8, free Serbs in the diaspora conducted protests against the Vučić regime in about a dozen world capitals and major cities. These are their plans and demands:

      C:\Users\hp\Desktop\Anti Vucic protests\SRBI SVETA FACEBOOK ADRESE.png

      The symbol of the diaspora protests are Rattling Keys, signifying the incarcerated condition of the Serbian people in their homeland under tyrannical rule. Here are some scenes from the protests far from the reach of Vučić’s lawless tontons macoutes:

      Srbi u dijaspori, protesti, Švajcarska

      “Phony elections, a phony parliament, soon a phony government, phony figures of Corona virus victims. We can no longer keep silent as democracy and freedom are being obliterated,” according to Lazar Karapandža, spokesman for the „Democracy 4 Serbia“ protests.

      Their compatriots in Serbia, however, are less fortunate when it comes to freely expressing their views. The regime is installing face recognition cameras all over Belgrade, and probably in the interior as well. There is a price to be paid for non-conformist thinking and behaviour in today’s Serbia. A woman who attended the nightly protest in front of the Parliament building in Belgrade a few days ago was followed by two uniformed policemen when she boarded a bus to go home. They asked her for her ID, Ihre Papiere bitte, presumably in Serbian, and demanded she get off at the next stop so that they could issue her a 5000 dinar (about $50) fine, a small fortune in Vučić’s prosperous Serbia. When the lady, who has no criminal record, asked the police why they were doing that, they replied “because we saw you at the protest”. Take a watch at how police intimidation unfolded (00 to 3:14 minutes), in front of the Parliament of aspiring EU applicant Serbia:

      But all told the lady got off relatively lightly. On Thursday, a 31-year-old man, whom the authorities identified only as P. G., was arrested in the provincial city of Užice over twenty days after committing the heinous offense for which charges against him are now being pressed. The corpus delicti was that together with other miscreants P. G. took part in an anti-regime demonstration, pictured below

      http://srbin.info/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/u%C5%BEice.jpg

      in front of the building housing the headquarters of the ruling party. During the disturbance – and get this gentle readers – the crowd pelted “with eggs, tomatoes, and paint” a huge poster of – need I explicitly disclose who? – and the banner of his Serbian Progressive Party.

      The hapless P. G. was jailed for 48 hours, pending a court decision on whether detention should be extended for the next thirty days. Three young men who were also charged with defacing the tyrant’s image with paint and assorted vegetables were threatened by prosecutors with four-month prison terms for “unruly conduct.”

      With such outstanding first hand reports, the unflattering assessment by the respected French weekly political magazine “Le Point,” that “the dream of the rule of law in the heart of the Balkans is increasingly fading,” is as unsurprising as it is easily verifiable.

      Mincing no words in its blazing headline, “Aleksandar Vucic, le satrape des Balkans”, so transparently damning that it does not even require a translation, having made plain that Serbia is ruled by a lawless regime, “Le Point” points out the seeming paradox that “beyond Serbia’s borders no European country dares to criticize Vučić’s abuses. There is an explanation for such diplomatic leniency. The West believes that as a leader Vučić is capable of bringing lasting peace to the heart of Europe. But how?”

      “By recognizing Kosovo,” the French weekly calmly answers its own rhetorical question.

      The conclusion rings true, but it is hardly a compliment from the standpoint of most Serbs.

      So Vučić’s game is largely up. His measure has been taken, and he has been found wanting. His pretenses are not believed, they are merely being tolerated, and for the sake of a larger objective set by globalist power centers whose marionette he is. Once he facilitates that objective, his tolerated abuses will be turned into a lengthy indictment, the usual grim fate of satraps. (For those interested in linguistic precision, “satrap” is defined as “a provincial governor in the ancient Persian empire” or alternatively “any subordinate or local ruler.” The French are known for carefully picking their words.) Vučić will then be toast, as dispensable as used toilet paper. But if he fails to facilitate it, he will also be toast, as he very well understands. Either way, he goes down in flames with his toadies.

      If you are upset, bots and trolls, spare me the invective. Earn your daily sandwich for a change by haranguing “Le Point’s” editors instead. This is their email: abo@lepoint.fr .

      Tell them how they’ve got it all wrong, won’t you? And do it in impeccable French.

      Serbian tyrant caught in a pincer, the stage is set for his spectacular fall

      Source

      Serbian tyrant caught in a pincer, the stage is set for his spectacular fall

      by Saker’s Johnny-on-the-spot for The Saker Blog

      We spoke too soon, it turns out, about the Dr. Vladimir Mentus, the young Serbian sociologist, being released from prison and charges against him being dropped. At one point several days ago the appellate chamber did vacate the of the misdemeanour court judge’s decision sentencing Dr Mentus to thirty days for participation in the protests, specifically for “insulting” the police, and remanded the case to the lower court for reconsideration in line with its analysis. So is Dr Mentus now back home with his family? Not at all, the lower court has resentenced him to 30 days in prison, but on slightly altered grounds that he participated in acts of disorder which resulted in damage to public property. That is the way the travesty known as the “justice system” operates in Vučić’s “European Serbia.”

      But unenviable as the position of Vučić’s political prisoner Vladimir Mentus may be, the tyrant Alexander Vučić is in a far worse jam. He is caught in a pincer between the demands of his Western sponsors to sign off on the recognition of Kosovo, and the swelling internal discontentment which delegitimizes him. At present, but for its disgraced president Serbia does not have any legally functioning institutions. The cabinet’s mandate ran out over a month ago. Since constitutionally the President’s role is ceremonial (although additional powers belonging to other branches of the government were unlawfully seized by the usurper) if a legally binding decision on Kosovo were to be taken, it could be done only by the prime minister and the cabinet, which are currently in a lame duck, caretaker capacity. As for Vučić’s fraudulently elected “parliament,” which needs to change the constitution for the separation of Kosovo to be legally possible, it has not been constituted yet and diehard protesters have vowed to make sure it never is and are demanding the annulment of the phony elections. Without parliament to approve it, the new government cannot be legally constituted nor can the act of treason Vučić has obligated himself to commit be performed with an appearance of constitutional regularity. So those who engineered Vučić’s installation eight years ago must deal with their puppet’s meltdown just as the task for which they installed him – recognition of the narco-state of Kosovo – is going into high gear and approaching its projected climax.

      Dr Vladimir Mentus will very likely be out of the pokey in thirty days, but will Alexander Vučić by them still be around?

      Ultimately, that decision will not be made by the usurper, or even by the leaderless and unorganized Serbian people, but by Western power centers and their intelligence services. They are now assessing Vučić’s overall usefulness in light of the bloody mess that his stupid and inept conduct has created. They must, of course, also calculate into their equations the impending crash of the Serbian economy, with projected one million unemployed roaming the streets. Not to be forgotten is another significant category of victims, the 1,700,000 pensioners facing a drastic reduction in their monthly allotments as government income shrinks and foreign loans, taken out under even the most usurious conditions, become increasingly difficult to arrange. Faced with the obligation of paying off billions of euros in soon to mature debts due to international creditors, with the hefty interest that those loans carry, and looking after his jobless subjects or the pensioners whom Vučić has already fleeced with impunity on numerous occasions, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what the cornered tyrant will do. The result will be a renewed explosion of social unrest compared to which the recent turmoil will seem no more than a minor bump in the road. These are huge factors shaping the hard-nosed assessment of Vučić’s viability by whoever is assessing his usefulness, and the folks doing the assessment right now as I write this are nothing if not hard-nosed.

      Sidebar: The persistent rumor that a desperate Vučić, anxious to ingratiate himself with his Western masters, is ready to appoint the chief NATO lobbyist in Serbia, head of the Russophobic  Soros NGO CEAS (Center for Euroatlantic Studies), Jelena Milić, to the post of foreign minister or some other high position in the new cabinet, gained credence today. The main regime rag, “Informer,” published Milić’s letter to Tania Fajon and several other EU officials who were rather mildly critical of police brutality in Serbia, telling them that everything is fine and warning them not to interfere in the regime’s internal affairs. The odious Milić is ingratiating herself with Vučić, who may have decided already to use her to try to ingratiate himself with his Western NATO masters. If the despised Milić is appointed to any government position, even cleaning lady in the foreign ministry, in the long run that will not be the factor that could save Vučić, but it will be a slap in the face for Russia and clear proof that it miscalculated completely when it bet, however grudgingly, on the Serbian tyrant.

      To this dismal picture should be added ominous warning signals that the same people who invented Vučić and put him in place are now busy reinventing him in the form of a resurgent Western financed “civic opposition,” ready to jump in and take over, possibly in a palace coup, should Vučić try to weasel out of the treasonous commitments made to his foreign masters.

      These characters are, to be sure, just as despised as Vučić. As we pointed out in earlier sit-reps, they were booed off the stage and physically chased away by protesting patriotic citizens when they tried to mingle with the crowds to profit from the photo-op and misrepresent themselves as popular tribunes. They are, however, being organized by Vučić’s masters, persistently and with considerable fanfare, as Serbia’s potential shadow government in waiting. After a suitably arranged “color revolution,” they would be ready and able to complete their predecessor’s job. If the usurper is on sleeping tablets, there are sound reasons for his distress.

      To sum up, Vučić is the man that absolutely no one is happy with. The population loathes him for his disastrous and injurious policies and sees through all his lies. His Western backers have good cause to be upset and impatient, while harbouring serious doubts about his further utility. Their problem, as well as Vučić’s, is how to neutralize popular discontentment, which so far has not shown the concerted strength required to overthrow the rotten system, but has nevertheless proved seriously disruptive. Most concerning of all, its potential for further radicalization, especially if the unstable tyrant again overreacts and creates a catalyst for popular mobilization, presently is a “known unknown,” but still very much on the minds of all concerned.

      Vučić’s ultimate fate will be unpleasant, but it will most likely be decided by his obviously dissatisfied foreign sponsors, not by anything he does. A new team eager to prove its loyalty and plunder the little that is left of Serbia is waiting in the wings and the condemned, lonely man in the presidential palace knows it.

      If Vučić’s fate is not settled in Serbia (which for him would be the most unpleasant option), he will have to look for a corner of this earth where his pestilential presence would still be tolerated and where he and the remnants of his criminal entourage might have access to the fruits of their immense plunder. Since deposed and no longer useful puppets of the globalist system, after being discarded, with remarkable regularity become global fugitives, finding a safe haven will be an incredibly complicated challenge.

      That is why with all his current travails, the young scholar Dr Vladimir Mentus is in far better shape than Serbia’s pathetic Ozymandias, the “great” bumbler and nincompoop, Alexander Vučić. The bright young man at least has a future, and the prison time he can simply chalk up to life experience. Who knows, it may even result in a brilliant sociological dissertation.

      Bahrain: A Police State Built on Intimidation and Torture

      Source

      By Sondos al-Assad

      Bahrain: A Police State Built on Intimidation and Torture

      Welcome to Bahrain, the cemetery of the living, the home of chambers of death, the kingdom of widespread impunity, police brutality, extrajudicial killings and repression.

      Welcome to Bahrain, where the most gruesome arts of torture are heinously and systematically practiced by the security services, including the use of electro-shock devices, forced standing techniques, suspension in painful positions [while handcuffed and exposed to extreme cold or hot temperature], medical negligence, beatings, threats of rape or murder and sexual abuse, etc. in order to inflict permanent suffering on the peaceful prisoners of conscience.

      Indeed, little has been done to bring justice to those who perpetrated acts of violence and torture against peaceful demonstrators, despite the BICI’s recommendations to persecute those responsible for torture. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry [BICI] was established, in July 2011, allegedly charged with investigating allegations of human rights abuses in connection with the government’s suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations.

      ”All persons charged with offences involving political expression, not consisting of advocacy of violence, have their convictions reviewed and sentences commuted or, as the case may be, outstanding charges against them dropped,” the BICI’s report recommended.

      The authorities; however, have spared no efforts to investigate and prosecute security personnel and high-ranking officials who have involved in or administrated torture. Those include, for instance, Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Lt. Col. Mubarak Abdullah Bin Huwayl and Lt. Shaika Nura Al Khalifa, who were acquitted on all counts.

      Prince Nasser, aka the Torture Prince of Bahrain, is the king’s son of the King, has tortured activists during the 2011 pro-democracy protests. Due to his immunity and the prevailing culture of impunity within the country, he has not been held accountable and continues to receive promotions and rewards rather than being imprisoned.

      Bahrain’s security services have repeatedly resorted to torture for the apparent purpose of extracting confessions from human rights activists and political detainees. For instance, Maryam Al-Bardouli, Commander of the Isa Town Prison, has also assaulted many female political prisoners especial Zakia al Barbouri, the only remaining female prisoner of conscience.

      Lawyer and legal adviser to SALAM human right organization Ibrahim Serhan recounts the severe torture he was subjected to in 2017, describing how he was stripped naked in front of other inmates as officials threatened to sexually torture him, a crime that frequently takes place during interrogation in Bahrain. This practice continues to take; however, many remain silent as they fear retribution or to be stigmatised.

      Activists maintain that the international community and in particular the UK have played a central role in covering up torture in Bahrain. The University of Huddersfield, a UK-backed institution, enjoys a suspected multi-million-pound training contract with Bahrain’s Royal Academy of Policing, a notorious hub of torture

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