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Shia Weekly News #35

Week of October 4, 2015

Shia Rights Watch Alert: Global Rally for Humanity

For Immediate Release- 09 October 2015- Shia Rights Watch would like to issue an alert for American Muslims during the nationwide mosque protests that are a part of the Global Rally for Humanity. As freedom of speech is oppositions’ rights, freedom of religion is ours.

At SRW, we invite all Muslims to express the spirit of acceptance and respect that during these hard times and urge them to not get involved in any violence. Mosque leaders are advised to seek police help if needed and prioritize safety of their community as well as the oppositions.

Iraq

Deadly attacks have continued against Shia Muslims in Iraq this week. On October 5th at least 51 people were killed and 120 were injured by a series of car bombs that detonated around the country according to Iraqi police.

The first attack occurred in the Shia majority town of Khalis which is roughly 50 miles northeast of Baghdad. According to the local police captain, the assailant requested from police that he park his vehicle in front of a crowded market in order that he may buy medication from a nearby pharmacy. When granted permission, the assailant left the car and it would detonate five minutes later. The exact casualty figures from this explosion are not known.

A second explosion would occur in the town of Al-Zubair which is 9 miles southwest of the southern town of Basra. Like the first, this car bombing took place outside of a crowded market. In this attack ten people were killed and 30 were injured.

The final bombing this day occurred in the Hussainiya district of northern Baghdad. While not much is known about the situation surrounding the bombing, it is known that at least 11 people were killed and 30 were injured.

In addition to these bombings, attacks such as these occur every day in Shia neighborhoods around Iraq. Some are reported and some, unfortunately, are not. While no group has taken responsibility for the wave of attacks this week in Iraq, many suspect it is the work of ISIS which has taken responsibility for scores of similar attacks in recent months.

Saudi Arabia

In what has become an unfortunate series of monthly news coming out of Saudi Arabia, yet another death sentence was handed down the by courts to a Shia human rights activist. On October 8th, the British advocacy group Reprieve revealed that a Saudi courted upheld the death sentence for Dawoud Hussain al-Marhoon for his connection to protests in the country’s eastern province in 2012. Arrested at the age of 17, Al-Marhoon has been subjected to unfair legal proceedings and now a cruel sentence for exercising a right of his.

In Reprieve’s statement, they noted that the trial of Al-Marhood was filled with irregularities as he “was sentenced after a number of secret hearings took place without the presence of his lawyer, who was also blocked from receiving information about appeal hearings”.

Shia Rights Watch condemns this trial and sentence as illegitimate due to its gross violations of due process and its disproportionate punishment. These proceedings violate Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states “everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations of any criminal charge against him”. This declaration, which Saudi Arabia is a party to, has been recognized by many as obtaining the status of customary international law, meaning it is binding upon all states.

Saudi Arabia continues to blatantly violate international human rights norms in the face of the international community with impunity. It is time that the Kingdom be held accountable for its action. Dawoud Hussain al-Marhoon must be released along with the remaining prisoners of conscience in the country.

Yemen

While mosque bombings have been regular occurrences in countries such as Pakistan and Iraq, it seems as if this trend has reached Yemen. This time ISIS has detonated a suicide bomb inside of the al-Nour Mosque in the northern Nahda district of the country.

In this attack the assailant, wearing a suicide vest, walked into the mosque and detonated himself, killing seven people.

ISIS has declared itself to be fighting the Houthi militia group in Yemen but has been regularly bombing Shia mosques in the area stating that this is because they are Houthi strongholds. This reasoning rests on faulty logic because it essentially equates all Shia in the country with the Houthis, which is far from the truth. Seondly, civilian targets should be avoided at all costs during armed conflict by all parties.

Shia Rights Watch condemns these horrific attacks by ISIS in the country and calls for the immediate peaceful settlement of the conflict raging in the area.

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