2023 Portfolios: Saudi Arabia Executes Sadiq Thamer, Jaafar Sultan and Holds their Bodies

Martyrs Jaafar Sultan and Sadiq Thamer
Martyrs Jaafar Sultan and Sadiq Thamer

2024-02-21 - 1:17 p

Bahrain Mirror (2023 Portfolios): The year 2023 has brought profound grief to the families of Jaafar Sultan and Sadiq Thamer, as Saudi authorities executed these two young men in a case marred by political and sectarian motives, an act described by Amnesty International as "grossly unfair".

The Saudi authorities arrested Thamer and Sultan, in May 2015, and accused them of attempting to blow up the bridge connecting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. For nearly four months, they were held incommunicado, enduring unspeakable psychological and physical torture.

Human rights organizations later documented that they were tortured and their coerced confessions were extracted under duress to corroborate the charges raised against them. The Court of First Instance sentenced them to death, and both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court upheld their death sentences.

Over the past eight years, Bahrain has witnessed numerous protests demanding the reversal of the death sentences and their release, yet Saudi authorities remained unresponsive.

On May 29, 2023, after eight years and three weeks of detention, the Saudi regime executed the two young men, sparking outrage and angry demonstrations across Bahrain, including the capital, Manama.

The families of the two martyrs pleaded for the return of their bodies for proper burial according to the Jaafari faith; however, their appeals were completely ignored by the Saudi authorities. Disappointingly, the Bahraini authorities completely distanced themselves from any responsibility towards their citizens, failing to assist in the return of the martyrs' remains.

The families of the two martyrs held a funeral ceremony, attended by thousands who came to offer their condolences from across Bahrain, including senior religious scholars and prominent activists. Ayatollah Qassim from his exile and Sheikh Ali Salman from prison offered condolences to the two grieving families via phone calls. 

As the families planned memorial services for the martyrs forty days after their execution, Bahraini authorities intervened, threatening to shut down the ceremonies as well as close down the mourning hall if they held the event.

Sadly, this was not the first time Saudi Arabia killed Bahraini opposition activists, as this was preceded by a military intervention in 2011, which crushed protests and killed a number of Bahrainis, most notably martyr Ahmad Farhan in Sitra. 

Additionally, the Saudi authorities executed a number of Saudi supporters of the Bahraini cause in the Eastern Province, including an individual merely accused of possessing the Bahraini flag in his vehicle.

While 2023 marked the tragic end of martyrs Jaafar Sultan and Sadiq Thamer's lives, it also served as a reminder to Bahrainis of the long-standing grievances and open, unresolved score between them and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi authorities have gone too far in ending the lives of Bahrainis, whether directly or through their unlimited support and cover for the Bahraini regime, giving it the green light to kill and inflict harm on Bahraini citizens throughout the past years.

Arabic Version