On June 19 Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, released her report about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October. Ms. Callamard’s report, prepared for the UN Human Rights Council, did not mince words. It categorically stated that Khashoggi’s death on October 2, 2018 “constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law.”
It went further: after an exhaustive six-month inquiry, it found there was “credible evidence” that warranted further investigation of senior Saudi officials’ individual liability including Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS). “Indeed, this human rights inquiry has shown that there is sufficient credible evidence regarding the responsibility of the crown prince demanding further investigation,” Ms. Callamard added. She urged UN Secretary-General António Guterres to establish an international probe.
Less than a week later (June 24), Human Rights Watch (HRW) raised alarm about the planned execution of a moderate Saudi scholar, Hasan Farhan al-Maliki. The rights body’s publicly expressed concern coincided with the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Kingdom where he met both the demented King Salman and his reckless son, Muhammad bin Salman. Saudi media reports said Pompeo did not raise the findings of the UN report about Khashoggi’s brutal murder or the feared execution of Shaykh al-Maliki as well as a number of other scholars. The Americans are too involved in waging their own murderous wars and killing innocent people to worry about the execution of a few “moderate” scholars. Instead Pompeo was drumming up support against Islamic Iran.
He could have saved himself the trouble. The Saudis, especially Bin Salman, together with his Zionist cousins, is over-eager for the US to attack Iran. He has even offered to pay for it. To his misfortune, American generals are not so keen. They know the horrific consequences of war that would not only engulf the region but much of the world as well with catastrophic consequences. The US economy would crash causing not just a recession but a depression. US President Donald Trump does not want to engage in a shooting war with Iran knowing full well, despite his low IQ, that his dwindling support base would evaporate condemning him to a one-term presidency. As a narcissist, that would be a big blow to his oversized ego. He is desperate to be re-elected. That is why he confessed to a confidant on June 21 that his advisors were pushing him toward war with Iran. “These people want to push us into a war, and it’s so disgusting,” he said about his inner circle of aides (Mike Pompeo, John Bolton et al.), according to The Wall Street Journal. He should have added Bin Salman’s name to the list of disgusting people.
Let us, however, return to the issue of the threatened execution of Hasan Farhan al-Maliki. He was arrested in September 2017 as were a number of other scholars — Salman al-‘Awdah, ‘Awad al-Qarni, and ‘Ali al-‘Umari. They were all charged with “terrorism,” which carries the death penalty. Held in solitary confinement without visit by family members, they were charged in October 2018.
Referring to the 14 charges against al-Maliki, HRW said they have “no resemblance” to crimes recognized by law. For instance, two charges relate to his peaceful expression of religious opinions about the veracity of certain sayings attributed to the Prophet (pbuh) and his criticism of several 7th-century Islamic figures. He is also charged with “insulting the country’s rulers and the Supreme Council of Religious Scholars, describing them as extremist.” Another relates to accusing certain Arabian regimes of supporting the Da‘ish terrorist group. Praising Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyid Hasan Nasrullah, and “having sympathy” for Yemen’s Huthi Ansarullah movement are other charges against him.
One is constrained to ask: how can you insult people (Saudi rulers) who have no honor to begin with? They have openly declared servitude to the US and Israel. Executing scholars of conscience will only hasten their demise.