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Bahraini Dissident Case Brings Back Flashes of Jamal Khashoggi’s Death

Most of countries in the Middle East are known for their loathe against the dissidents, a praxis that has seen several unjustified detentions, executions and killings in the past. A dot in the map, Bahrain has also been part of the same group. However, the damning customs crossed the boundaries of the island months ago, when a Bahraini protester became victim of attempted murder in the country’s embassy in London.

On November 19, the 38-year-old Moosa Mohammed filed a criminal complaint, claiming to the central London that staff of Bahrain’s embassy tried to throw him off a building roof, beat up and tried to kill him.

The case has revived after nearly four months, when the Gulf nation had planned to execute two political dissidents, Ali Mohamed Hakeem al-Arab, 25, and Ahmed Isa Ahmed Isa al-Malali, 24, who were tortured, ward off from attending trials and sentenced to death in their absence.

On July 26 at 10:30 p.m., Moosa Mohammed, an activist who fled his country in 2006 and obtained asylum in the United Kingdom, climbed to the top of the five-storey Bahraini embassy to protest against these planned executions.

Bahrain is one of the countries in Middle East following ultraconservative customs and harsh laws. Part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), however, is believed to be under the influence of the regime of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the dominant members of the Council. For years, these gulf nations have been detaining and executing people for reasons that are groundless, including social class, sexuality, racial, ethnic and the political dissents.

Moosa Mohammed’s case reminds the death of a dissident that took place a year ago in another embassy. The Washington Post journalist of Saudi Arabia Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally assassinated in the Kingdom’s consulate of Istanbul, still remains fresh in people’s mind across the world. However, where he was murdered, the Bahraini protester just got lucky to escape death.

The Bahrain Institute of Rights and Democracy released a clip of the July incident, where a senior staff hit the Bahraini dissident with a wooden plank. Observers also saw him sitting precariously on ledge of the roof of the embassy in Belgrave Square in central London. “We have two people being executed in Bahrain and you will be the third,” the staffers said to Mohammed, according to his statement.

Officers outside the embassy used megaphoned to order the staff to vacant the roof of building. The embassy staff then dragged him out of sight, and used a wet T-Shirt to cover his mouth, while they also attempted to tie his hands behind his back, claimed Moosa Mohammed. Protesters on the street could be heard shouting in the clips that Moosa Mohammed is crying for help.

At that point, the officers broke down the door and stormed inside the building. However, they arrested Mohammed on suspicion of trespassing the diplomatic premises, as the embassy reported. “I truly believe they would have killed me,” if the police had not intervened, said Mohammed.

Before he fled to the UK, the 38-year-old was repeatedly detained and assaulted by the Bahraini authorities. As he lodged the complaint against the embassy people, police are now assessing the allegations.

The UK’s Member of the Parliament for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Rizwana Siddiq tweeted that she and her team is working on the “case of Moosa Mohammed, who has asked for my support after being threatened at the Bahrain Embassy”.

Mohammed’s allegations, however, have been called “completely unfounded and ridiculous” by the Bahraini embassy. In a statement, it had also stated that the protester was restrained “for his own safety until police arrived”, as he threatened to jump off the roof.

Bahrain’s embassy in London can have its own claims, but the history of the Gulf nations speaks otherwise. Killing of a man is no big deal for these nations, especially those speaking against their system. Where justice for Jamal Khashoggi seems to be no where in sight, it remains to be seen how the prospects of Mohammed’s case will unfurl.

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