Which agendas cover up Saudi, Bahrain oppression campaigns?
Arbitrary sentences in the Gulf countries are on the rise, despite these countries' claims to openness; other countries boat about winning the right to host a series of major sporting events, while Gulf activists describe the courts that jail prisoners of conscience as “fascist."
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have witnessed mass arrests of prisoners of conscience, thinkers, and activists, in addition to formal trials and unfair rulings for a long time. However, the question today is: which agendas cover up Saudi and Bahraini oppression campaigns, and who allows them to act further at the expense of the opinion of their people?
The latest of these cases was a Saudi court ruling on Monday that sentenced 10 Nubian Egyptians, some to up to 18 years in prison, for trying to organize three years ago in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, an event to commemorate the October 1973 war, according to two relatives of the accused. This comes after the 10 Egyptians were referred to court with a fifth hearing before Riyadh Criminal Court.
Amnesty International accuses the court of being "systematically used to prosecute individuals on vague charges which often equate peaceful political activities with terrorism-related crimes."
Right before this, Saudi Arabia released after an 80-day detention the Iranian pilgrim Khalil Dardmand, who was detained in the country for having displayed the picture of martyr Qassem Soleimani.
The stories are many, and one report cannot contain them. In addition to the above, human rights reports stated last September that “a Saudi court sentenced, last August, two people from the Howeitat tribe to 50 years in prison,” because they refused to be forcibly evicted from their homes for the benefit of the NEOM project.
Which agendas cover up Saudi and Bahraini oppression campaigns?
These violations in Saudi Arabia come in parallel with Bahrain’s record of human rights violations. which raises the question of why are these regimes excluded from accountability for the repression documented by international organizations. Are the security services’ torture and deprivation of freedoms deliberately overlooked?
This international condoning was expressed by Amnesty International today, which stressed that the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) should not be allowed to obscure their record of ongoing human rights violations by hosting a series of major sporting events.
This comes ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Formula 1) in the United Arab Emirates in November, and Saudi Arabia's recent winning of the rights to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games.
Meanwhile, about 75 people are still imprisoned in at least four of the GCC countries: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and the UAE, according to Amnesty International, due to practicing their right to freedom of expression, forming associations or joining them, or their right to peaceful assembly, noting that this outcome "does not reflect the full scope of these arrests and prosecutions."
#التحليلية | لماذا يشعر حكام #السعودية و #البحرين بإطلاق أيديهم في قمع الحريات؟ وما الظروف المستجدة في ذلك؟ pic.twitter.com/hKMOFaoCsa— قناة الميادين (@AlMayadeenNews) October 11, 2022
In Riyadh, an arrest can occur simply due to attempting to organize a gathering in remembrance of the Sixth of October War, for example, or for allegedly spreading false news and organizing an unauthorized gathering. An arrest can occur because of a prayer calling to liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque, as happened last April. In an accusation that was one of its kind, Saudi intelligence arrested a Palestinian pilgrim in the holy city of Mecca, because he asked God to liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the pilgrims behind him responded “Amen”.
In a related context, Nasser, the son of the Saudi preacher, Awad Al-Qarni, who is detained in Riyadh, revealed some of the show trials and narrow cells, which witness torture, ill-treatment, and brutality of detainees.
In Bahrain, Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRDBH) issued a joint report confirming that Bahraini courts had convicted defendants and sentenced them to death, after “unfair trials" accusing Bahraini courts of systematically violating the defendants’ rights to a fair trial.
Last Wednesday, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) expressed its concern about the conditions that political prisoners are being subjected to in Manama, in terms of harassment and ill-treatment, as a result of their beliefs. During the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, ADHRB demanded investigations into mistreatment in Bahrain prisons.
According to the report of the Bahraini Al-Wefaq Society, the number of arbitrary arrests in February alone reached 28, including a woman, 3 children, and 12 subpoenas, in addition to the enforced disappearance of 2 detainees.
There are many examples and positions that activists in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were exposed to, but what is certain is that no measures are taken by international bodies to deter the existing repression in these two Gulf countries, despite human rights organizations condemning them. Why do we witness such international silence?
#التحليلية | لماذا تستمر أعمال قمع الحريات في #السعودية على رغم الانفتاح الكبير الذي حدث، مقارنةً بالسابق؟ pic.twitter.com/J19dg0NJYh— قناة الميادين (@AlMayadeenNews) October 11, 2022
Despite the "great openness" that took place in Riyadh, dozens of Saudi dissidents and activists remain in detention and, along with others, face unfair trials on charges related to their public criticism of the government or peaceful human rights work.
Recently, arrests and harassment by the Saudi authorities have increased, as human rights organizations report on torture against prisoners of conscience inside prisons and the detention of families of Saudi dissidents fleeing outside the Kingdom.
Many Saudi activists describe the courts of prisoners of conscience in the kingdom as "fascist" and assert that no measures from international bodies will suppress these abuses, despite the condemnations of human rights organizations. They attribute this to a unit of double standards that control world policies according to "interests".