Bahrain court convicts 11 of attack on police
A Bahraini court found 11 Shi'ities guilty on Feb. 26 of an attack carried out last year and sentenced three to death. The other eight defendants were sentenced to life in prison and will be stripped of their citizenship. The case centered on the country's deadliest attack since Bahraini security forces repressed Shi'ite protests in 2011. In March three police officers were killed by bombings in a Shi'ite village while breaking up groups of "rioters and vandals" on Manama's outskirts. One of the fallen officers had been a policeman from the United Arab Emirates deployed to Bahrain to assist in security measures. The defendants plan to appeal.
Bahrain: investigation of opposition online content
Bahrain's Ministry of Interior initiated a criminal investigation on Feb. 17 into alleged illegal content posted by the country's main opposition group, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society. Al-Wefaq regularly publishes content to its website and Twitter account, including pictures of protests against the Sunni majority party. Feb. 14 marked the four-year anniversary of a Shiite uprising in Bahrain and hundreds took the streets to protest a lack of political reform and the imprisonment of Al-Wafeq leader Sheikh Ali Salman. The alleged criminal content involves pictures of wounded protesters from the weekend protests, and claims that the authorities fired buckshot and tear gas to disperse protesters. Al-Wefaq is accused of publicly inciting hatred against the government, encouraging illegal rallies and distributing false news.
Morsi goes on trial over espionage allegations
An Egyptian court on Jan. 15 put ex-president Mohammed Morsi on trial over accusations of spying and leaking information to Qatar. Prosecutors, as part of the country's continued crack down on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, allege that Morsi endangered national security by leaking to Qatar state secrets and documents that exposed the location of Egyptian weapons and revealed a portion of the country's foreign and domestic policies. Egypt's relationship with Qatar has been strained since Qatar continued to support Morsi and Islamists after the his ouster in July 2013. Since taking over after Morsi, current President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has instituted an intense national security campaign against Islamists.
UN rights experts urge Oman to release activist
UN rights experts on Jan. 30 urged the Omani government to release Said Ali Said Jadad, a human rights activist. Jadad, who promoted democratic reforms, was arrested last week with no warrant and charged with undermining the prestige of the state, inciting demonstrations, steering up sectarian strife and offending state officials. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michel Forst and the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Maina Kiai believe Jadad's detention may be retaliation for communicating with international organizations, noting that Jadad has been arrested several times after visits from representatives of the UN. The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) has also denounced the arrest. Jadad has reportedly been harassed by the government for several months; he was placed under travel ban last October, and also detained last December when police raided his home.
Behind oil slump: shale boom or geopolitics?
As we noted in September (when the price had just dipped below $100 a barrel), after an initial price shock when ISIS seized northern Iraq, the world oil price has since slumped. It now stands at around $60 a barrel. Recall that way back in late 2001, when the US was invading Afghanistan, it stood at a lowly $11. At that time, we predicted an imminent price shock to jump-start the planned industry expansion—both in the Caspian Basin and here at home, overcoming environmental concerns. Boy, were we right. The price of a barrel first broke the $100 mark in 2008, and has frequently crossed it in the years since then, although it never quite hit the much-feared $200-a-barrel. But now the petro-oligarchs are talking like $100 may be the new $200. Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi last month answered "we may not" when asked if markets would ever lift prices to $100 again. (CNN, Dec. 23) How much of this are we to believe, and what is really behind the slump?
Bahrain: protests against British base deal
Protests held in the Bahraini island city of Sitra Dec. 6 against an agreement signed between the kingdom and Great Britain to establish a new military base in the Persian Gulf state. Bahraini opposition figures, including members of the main Shi'ite party, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, also expressed outrage over the deal. (Tasnim, Iran, Dec. 7) The base, at Mina Salman Port in Bahrain, will host Royal Navy vessels including destroyers and aircraft carriers. It is to be Britain's first permanent base in the Middle East in over 40 years. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the new base shows Britain's commitment to a "sustained presence east of Suez"—referring to the wording of a 1968 decision to close bases east of Suez by 1971. (BBC News, Dec. 6)
Bahrain court suspends main opposition group
A Bahrain court on Oct. 28 ordered the country's main Shi'ite opposition group, Al-Wefaq, to suspend all activities. Bahrain's Ministry of Justice filed the lawsuit in July. The ruling means that Al-Wefaq cannot operate for three months in the Gulf island kingdom. The group cannot organize rallies or press conferences, issue statements or use its offices. Earlier this month Al-Wefaq announced it would boycott Nov. 22 elections because it felt that the government did not genuinely engage in reconciliations efforts following protests to the Sunni monarchy in 2011. The group plans to appeal the decision.
Saudi Arabia sentences Shi'ite cleric to death
Sh'iite Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was convicted Oct. 15 of sedition and other charges in Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court and sentenced to death, raising fears of unrest from his supporters in neighboring Bahrain. Al-Nimr has been a vocal critic of the majority Sunni government in Saudi Arabia and was a key leader in the 2011 Arab Spring-inspired Sh'iite protests in the country. Al-Nimr was found guilty of not obeying King Abdullah, not pledging allegiance to him or the state, incitement of vandalism and sectarian strife, demonizing Saudi rulers, calling for the collapse of the state, and insulting relatives and companions of the Prophet Muhammad. Disobeying the ruler is a charge punishable by death. Prosecutors unsuccessfully asked that the body and head be put on public display, a severe punishment only rarely carried out. Al-Nimr will likely appeal the sentence, as activists are typically given long jail sentences on appeal despite harsh verdicts.
3 hours 30 min ago
3 hours 44 min ago
4 hours 11 min ago
4 days 2 hours ago
6 days 2 hours ago
6 days 21 hours ago
6 days 21 hours ago
1 week 2 hours ago
1 week 2 hours ago
1 week 20 hours ago