The UK’s newly appointed chief post-Brexit negotiator, Liz Truss, sat down with the foreign ministers of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE, on Monday.
On sidelines of GCC-UK ministerial meeting, Truss said that deepening economic and security ties with the Gulf monarchies is “a win-win for all parties”, without mentioning any of abysmal Human Rights record or the Gulf states, especially Manama.
Following the meeting, the cabinet minister, who is also the foreign secretary, said she wanted “to have much deeper links in key areas like trade, investment, development and cybersecurity, with a part of the world that is important to Britain’s long-term interests.”
She also claimed that deepening ties with the GCC autocratic regimes “will deliver jobs and opportunities for the British people, and help make us all safer.”
Meanwhile, Sadiq Thamer and Jaafar Sultan, who are sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, had their appeal postponed. The two Bahraini nationals have been arrested since May 8, 2015 on politically-motivated allegations.
According to their families, the two young men weren’t allowed to communicate with loved ones for 110 days, after their disappearance, and before being handed the death penalty.
Further, 4 Bahraini minors, Hassan Mubarak, Salman Ali Salman, Youssef Yasser and Jassem Muhammad, were prevented from testifying about the torture they endured while in the custody of Manama’s security services. The four were reportedly detained in September of this year, on trumped-up charges.
Besides, the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (GIDHR) released a new report, which throws the spotlight on Manama’s efforts to target political opponents outside the country, calling on the international community to protect asylum seekers and to carefully investigate “demands by repressive states to extradite refugees.”
The GIDHR’s report outlines a long list of cases involving the extradition of Bahraini nationals from the Netherlands, Thailand and a number of Arab states following requests from Manama.
According to the rights group, Manama “spared no effort to bring back opponents for retaliation and to subject them to torture and unfair trials.” It appeals to the European Union to hold the Netherlands accountable for its 2018 extradition of Ali Al-Shuwaikh, who was severely tortured and sentenced to life imprisonment following his return to Bahrain.
Furthermore, the report asked Interpol to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of torture against its recently elected president, Major General Al-Raisi, warning that “his victory threatens the credibility” of the organization.
For her part, prominent rights activist Ebtisam al Saegh said that those detainees freed as part of the celebrations of the so-called Bahrain’s National Day are not actually pardoned.
Contrary to earlier reports, none were political prisoners, said Al Saegh, adding that the prisoners were released under the Alternative Punishment Law; their movements are restricted and they have to perform community service. They also have to maintain constant contact with security services and provide information on people they associate with.
Enas Oun, head of the monitoring department at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, also revealed that there were only 6 political prisoners among the 105 Bahraini detainees who were granted a royal pardon this week. Oun implied that the low number demonstrates the absence of political reforms in Bahrain.
On the so-called National Day, which marks the ascendance of the Al-Khalifa clan to the throne, president of the Zionist entity, Isaac Herzog, telephoned the Bahraini monarch Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, on Thursday, to congratulate him, underscoring the importance of economic cooperation between Tel Aviv and Manama.
For the same occasion, he sent a letter to Bahrain’s embassy in Tel Aviv, vowing to use his tenure to strengthen the relationship with the regime.
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