PRE-TITLE

 

 

 

 

VO

SYNC

PIX

NOTES

1

These are the trademark images of Saudi Arabia.

Peaceful and prosperous.

A royal family in control.

 

UPSOT MUSIC

Riyadh images - Crowded streets, shopping malls

royal family

 

2

And this is what you don't see... 

 

UPSOT UNREST

 "Death to Al Saud."

 

3

In the Kingdom's oil rich Eastern Province, three years of protests are ongoing...

and the epicenter - the coastal region of Qatif.

 

 

 

MARCH 9 2011

5

 

UPSOT #1

Protester 1:

‘The biggest oil field in the world is in Qatif, but what do we find in Qatif but dilapidated houses poverty, hunger, marginalization'

 

 

6

People are taking to the streets

to fight against what they see as oppression.

 

 

Protests / Shooting

March 9+17

2011

7

 

TOBY EXPERT SYNC:

‘They're the biggest political protests that Saudi Arabia has ever witnessed.'

 

 

8

But the government is determined to stop the protests

 

 

police shooting at protesters

MARCH 17 2011

9

 

MANSOUR UPSOT

‘The investigations have proven an organized effort between them to riot.'

 

 

10

It's nearly impossible for journalists to operate here. But I've traveled in under the radar. I receive footage from the activists showing how this scarcely reported conflict has developed.

 

 

More bullets sounds shots

11

Hundreds have been injured - and jailed....And 20 young men have been killed.

 

 

Funeral pix

 

12

Declared martyrs in the name of the uprising...

...and terrorists in the eyes of the Saudi authorities who have also sustained casualties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upsot Prince father martyr

13

I'm Safa Al Ahmad, and I've come home to investigate a protest movement unprecedented in modern Saudi history.

 

Safa setups walking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPENING TITLES

 

 

 

14

The Eastern Province - it has been inhabited for thousands of years by Phoenicians, Persians and the Ottomans...

 

 

 

Various Qatif

Check

15

Amidst the palm trees and fishing boats, Qatif has the appearance of a peaceful coastal region -

but discontent has been growing here for years.

 

 

Coastal shots

 

16

Protests are rare in Saudi Arabia,

but Qatif has been the exception.

 

 

 

 

17

I've reported from many Arab countries but I know this area well.

I have reported from many Arab countries but I know this area well. I was born and raised in a city nearby.

 

 

 

18

For over a year I've been coming here to investigate an under reported uprising.

 

 

 

Safa in car with camera

19

There have been protests before in Saudi. But for them to last over 3 years without being silenced is unprecedented.

 

 

 

Protest

Pix from the three years

20

I want to find out why they started, and who's behind them.

 

 

 

 

21

I want to find out why the started and who is behind them. On my first trip I meet Ahmad Mshaiks - a human rights advocate who has been monitoring events since the protests started.

 

 

 

Driving with Ahmad

 

22 FEB 2013

22

He takes me through the flashpoint town of Awamiyah, in northern Qatif.

 

 

 

 

23

 

AHMAD DRIVING SOT: ‘This is called the Karama roundabout. Everyone meets here for the protests, they either start or end here.'

 

Bahraini

24

The uprising kicked off in early 2011...

demonstrators emboldened by the Arab uprisings sweeping through the Middle East.

 

 

 

Awamiyah protests

 

 

ASTON

MARCH 9 2011

25

 

UPSOT PROTEST:

‘Freedom, Freedom for the detainees'

 

MARCH 9

2011

26

But in a country ruled by an autocratic monarchy

organized dissent is rarely tolerated.

 

 


Security forces / teargas

March 9th

27

Security forces were sent in, dozens of people were arrested and three years on... checkpoints still ring the area.

 

 

 

2012 checkpoint

28

 

AHMAD DRIVING UPSOT: ‘These checkpoints are really bad. There's a lot of abuse here. They also detain children. Most detentions happen at these checkpoints. More than half of them do.'

 

Mix back to Ahmad driving

Children under 18

29

We arrive at a local garage... the business of Abu Ali, one of Ahmad's friends.

 

 

Garage setups

 

30

He's also a former activist and was arrested in the first days of the protests.

 

 

 

 

31

Abu Ali believes the Eastern Province has suffered under the government for decades.

 

 

 

 

32

 

ABU ALI SYNC:

‘The injustice is systemic, it drives people...

If they lost their self-respect, freedom and faith, they won't care if they lose their life.'

 

 

 

 

 

33

 

AA SYNC: ‘The discrimination was systemic on three fronts, political, economic and religious and perhaps the most explosive is the religious.

a person can bear economic oppression, but not religious.'

 

 

34

Abu Ali says discrimination against the Shia is taught from an early age in State schools.

 

 

 

 

35

 

ABU ALI:

‘A child of 6 is told he is an apostate...'

 

AHMAD:

‘There are repercussions to this word ‘apostate'

You don't greet him or shake his hand.'

 

 

36

 

ABU ALI:

‘The government failed to integrate people of different faiths. That was the first spark.'

 

 

37

In this Muslim country of 28 million people, there are long-standing tensions between the majority Sunni sect, who run the government, and the Shia community.

 

 

 

Various of Friday prayer in mosque

 

38

Shia are in the minority and most live in the Eastern Province which sits on top of the world's largest oil fields.

 

 

 

MAP

 

39

They make up less than 15 percent of the population and many claim they suffer sectarian discrimination.

 

 

MAP

AWAMIYA ON MAP

 

40

Abdulaziz bin Saqr runs a think tank with close relations to an understanding of the Saudi government position.

 

 

 

41

 

Saudi Pundit:

‘Allegiance should be to the country and not to a sect. If allegiance is to the sect then that ties people outside the country's borders who dictate their own agendas which is a betrayal of their own country.'

 

 

42

 

EXPERT TOBY MATTHIESEN SYNC:

Author of ‘Sectarian Gulf'

‘Historically the relationship has been very tense, because the Saudi state is founded on a particular religious notion of Sunni Islam, Wahabism, which sees as its main enemy deviations within Islam, and the Shia are kind of its main enemies within, so the Shia in the east are always the preferred target.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

43

Many here say this discrimination isolates the Shia of Qatif from the rest of the country.

 

 

 

 

44

Foreign reporters rarely get access to the area these days.

Even inside Saudi Arabia, the protests are hardly ever reported.

 

 

 

45

Although I'm Saudi, it's very difficult for me to move around with a camera.

I'm risking arrest for reporting on this issue.

 

 

 

 

46

Over the last year the BBC has asked the Saudi government numerous times to participate in this film...

but after many attempts, they stopped responding.

 

 

 

 

47

I manage to make contact with some activists.

I want to know why they risk their lives to protest.

 

 


 

 

Aston date

48

They'll be interviewed - but they're afraid to be identified - and want their voices altered.

 

 

 

 

49

 

Disguised Protester 2 SYNC:

‘For a hundred years we have been marginalized in Qatif. It's one of the richest areas. The biggest oil field in the world is in Qatif but what do we find? Dilapidated houses, poverty, hunger and marginalization.'

 

 

50

I've heard the same thing from many Shia in the Eastern Province.

As the Arab uprisings gained momentum across the Middle East, and with protests in neighbouring Bahrain threatening the monarchy there, people across Saudi Arabia hope major reform is coming.

 

 

 

 

 

Poster at protest:

 

‘In the richest country in the world, I am a poor man'

 

MARCH 17

51

 

TOBY SYNC:

‘The Saudi Royal family was very scared initially because these uprisings overthrew allies of theirs who had been in power for decades, so initially, the first few months, they were afraid that something like that could happen at home, but when they saw that only one section of society was really going out into the street and that was the Shia, they really started to crack down hard on them.'

 

 

52

Despite the rest of the country remaining silent, they continue their protests.

 

The Initial demands are for the release of 9 men detained for years without trial.

 

The spirit of the uprising then evolves to include wider issues of human rights.

 

MORE CHANTING

Move up SOT of poor man

 

MARCH 9 2011

53

 

Disguised Protester 2 SYNC:

‘There is nothing called Human rights here.

Anyone asking for his rights disappears behind bars.'

 

 

54

I meet dozens of protesters in secret meetings, and it becomes clear there are no unified demands but all want major reforms in the country.

 

 

Protest or safa at night

 

55

 

Disguised Protester 1 SYNC:

‘Some went out for their livelihoods, others for their dignity or rights or freedom. I see all these things are reasons to protest here in Qatif or in other areas.'

 

 

56

At the beginning there are regular demonstrations but the footage shows both the police and the activists are restrained.

 

MARCH 9 2011 and

 

57

 

POLICEMAN UPSOT: ‘Your demand got to Central Command, and the Prince of the Eastern Province was informed.'

 

‘We have made it clear that the protest is peaceful.'

March 4th 2011 protest

 

58

But things quickly escalate.

 

 

March 17 massive protest

 


59

Within a month the activists start throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.

 

 

March 17 footage

CHANGE ASTON TO JUST MARCH

60

 

‘Don't retreat'

 

 

61

The police switch from firing teargas to bullets.

 

 

stone throwing at APC / firing in air

 

cu bullets

MARCH 17 2011

62

In Nov 2011 the first activists are killed.

Shocking the community.

 

 

Filfil in morgue

 

+Funeral pics (brief)

NOV 2011

LOSE DATE ASTON

63

The funeral of two students, Nasser Moheshi and Ali Filfil brings out thousands of mourners.

 

 

 

 

64

This leads to confrontations with the security forces.

 

 

 

NOV 2011

65

Two more are shot dead.

 

 

Grairees dead body picked up.

(Adnan Munib also killed)

66

At the time the government appeared confident the clashes are not significant.

 

 

 

 

67

 

MANSOUR:

‘We are talking about a limited problem. It shouldn't be treated as a big problem. It's confined to one or two locations in the Qatif district.'

JUPITAR

Nov 24, 2011

68

But the activists believe they're having an impact.

 

 

 

69

 

HASSAN UPSOT

"Why would [the government] send these armies and surround the regions and put up checkpoints if the uprising was not effective."

 

 

70

It takes me months to find someone who will speak freely about how the protests are organised.

 

I finally meet "Hassan" - not his real name.

 

 

 

Looking on laptop

 

71

He's part of a loose coalition of activists formed in 2012.

 

There is no official leadership but they coordinate between towns across the province.

 

 

Cut aways

Looking at fooatge

 

72

Hassan agrees to give the BBC unprecedented access to footage from the past 3 years.

 

 

 

 

73

I can't verify its origin but this collection of videos gives me an unfiltered look into the movement.

 

 

 

 

74

 

UPSOT PROTESTER:

‘Guys, I don't want any spelling mistakes, ok!'

 

 

75

The young protesters have meticulously documented their activities to try and get their message out.

 

 

 

 

76

 

HASSAN:

‘The coalition's plan is to continue with the escalation on the ground... and working on the media presence and increasing people's awareness of their rights.'

 

 

77

 

‘GRAFFITTI

Down with Al Saud. Down with the Ministry of Interior.'

‘ Punishment for those who killed.'

 

‘We have the right to choose who rules us.'

 

 

78

They also engage in highly provocative acts against the state.

 

 

Pulling down and Burning poster of king

NOV 15, 16 2012

79

Here you can see activists ripping a poster with the face of the King on it.

 

To many Saudis, this would be an unthinkable act.

 

Upsot protesters

‘Remove God's name'

 

 

‘Step back, step back!'

 

 

80

It's symbolic but it signals their hostility towards the royal family.

 

 

 

‘Death to Al Saud!'

 

 

81

Such activities have alienated many locals.

 

Many people tell me they don't support these kinds of actions but won't say it on camera.

 

 

 

 

82

Both the government and the activists have a different version of how the conflict developed.

 

The government has always maintained the protesters are using weapons.

 

 

Black flag

Blacking out the name of the kingdom

 

83

 

MANSOUR:

‘The investigations have proven that weapons are available to these people. And investigations are ongoing to locate these weapons.'

 

 

84

The activists insist they don't use weapons.

 

 

 

 

85

 

UPSOT HASSAN

‘The choice was non-violence from the beginning but this doesn't mean we can't defend ourselves against attack.'

 

 

86

 

‘It's the people's right to defend themselves.'

S: ‘Does that mean with weapons?'

‘No, by popular means of defense. It could be stones or Molotov's. Means that are known in all Arab revolutions.'

 

 

87

The activists target police cars on patrol with molotov cocktails.

 

This kind of behaviour has angered many locals who don't agree with these tactics.

 

 

 

repetative

88

 


UPSOT DISGUISED PROTESTER :

 

‘Be careful be careful!

He may have gone left or right.'

‘No, he went straight.

He will bring the army with him now.'

‘The most important thing is you filmed it.'

Key molotov scene

JUNE 2012

In alley getting ready to throw moltov's

89

 

UPSOT DISGUISED PROTESTER:

 

‘Death to Al Saud'

 

‘Come! He opened the window'

 

‘Allahukbar!'

‘This is better than a million banners'

 

 

90

By the end of 2012, human rights organizations report hundreds of locals have been arrested.

 

Many of them detained for months without trial.

 

 

 

 

91

These boys from Awamiya say they've never engaged in violence of any kind.

 

 

 

 

92

But they were caught in the crackdown - either at protests or checkpoints.

They say they were abused by the security forces.

 

 

 

93

 

BOY1: ‘They hit me as soon as they caught me. There were two from the riot police. The beating was with batons.'

 

 

94

 

‘One of us was in a very critical state, he was going to die.'

 

 

95

 

‘His white robe was red with blood from a headwound.'

 

 

96

 

BOY2: ‘We live in a country where the security forces should protect us. They don't. They harm us.'

 

 

97

 

BOY: ‘Death is more merciful than for me to be treated unjustly. Martyrdom is better.'

 

 

98

The Saudi authorities would not participate in this film but refute allegations of systematic torture or abuse in prisons.

 

 

 

 

99

As the protests intensified the government appealed to Shia clerics to calm the situation.

 

Many of them stay out of politics. But some sign petitions calling for the protests to end.

 

 

 

 

100

Only a few openly support the protesters.

The most vocal of them - Sheikh Nimr alNimr.

 

This is him after the death of a highly controversial Government Minister, Prince Nayif Bin AbdulAziz in June of 2012.

 

 

Protest

FEB 10 2012

101

 

NIMR SYNC:

‘Shouldn't we be happy for the death of our children's killer?

And the death of the one who imprisoned our children? And for the death of the one who makes us live in fear?

Thank God! Hopefully He will take the rest- Al Saud, Al Khalifa, Al-Assad, all of them!'

 

June 2012

youtube

102

 

CROWD:

‘I don't fear death. I am the next martyr!'

 

 

103

It was speeches like these that many believe led to Sheikh Nimr's brutal arrest a few weeks later following a car chase.

Right off SYNC

 

 

104

I meet Sheikh Nimr's brother, Mohammad. We drive out to his farm under the cover of darkness.

 

 

Driving out to farm

 

105

 

SYNC MOHAMMAD

‘The accident happened on this road. There were patrol cars chasing the sheikh in this street exactly. He was heading towards the farm we're going to now. Our farm.'

 

FEB 12 2013

106

The police pursuit ended with Shiekh Nimr critically injured.

 

 

Uncovering the car

 

107

 

SYNC MOHAMMAD

‘This is the car that the arrest incident happened in. It crashed into a house. After the crash they came and took the sheikh out of the car and shot him. He was outside the car for sure.'

 

 

108

The government says he was ‘sowing sedition' and resisting arrest by opening fire on the police.

 

 

Nimr bleeding in car with police [Youtube

 

109

Sheikh Nimr is now in prison facing the death sentence.

 

 

 

 

110

 


‘Nimr- we heed your call'

 

‘Down Down

Al Saud'

 

 

JULY 2012

111

The arrest of such an influential cleric brings the people of Qatif onto the streets to demanding release. Hasan's footage shoes the dramatic scale of the protests.

 

 

 

 

112

 

The police open fire.

 

More are injured.

 

Two are killed.

 

 

 

‘Someone got injured!'

protest on 8 July 2012

 

Morsi in forefront of Nimr demos

 

 

 

113

By the end of 2012, 15 young men have been killed - 9 of them from Awamiya.

 

 

night shots of Qatif waterfront

 

114

The town of Awamiya has a high level of poverty and unemployment and has historically been at the forefront of confrontations with the sectities.

 

 

GV's Awamiya

pan

 

115

Hassan shows me some clips of a small protest outside the Awamiya police station in late 2011.

 

 

Hassan on laptop showing the footage

Aston date

116

These young men are prepared to stand up to the authorities from the very beginning.

 

 

 

 

117

 

UPSOT BOLD PROTESTER WITH POLICE

‘You should thank God we're hosting you on our land. Your wealth even your clothing is all from our oil. And you come and shoot at us. You should be ashamed.'

Footage Morsi and police

18 NOV 2011

118

Hassan points out an activist who shows up in many of the videos. Morsi AlRibh.

 

He quickly becomes one of the

Movement's most active leaders.

 

 

 

119

He's seen here confronting the security forces and a police lieutenant in plain clothes.

 

‘Studying is better for me but why are you shooting at me?''

 

MORSI:

Enough!

 

But why are you shooting at me?

 

 

 

SEEN SYNC MISSING

 

Revisit wording

120

He is openly frustrated with the situation as the crowd demands the release of fellow activists.

 

 


 

 

121

Morsi doesn't fear the authorities...

 

and his actions get him noticed...

 

 

Being filmed by security

 

122

After failing to stop the protests the government announces a list of the most wanted men in relation to the Qatif uprising.

 

 

 

 

123

 

Mansour:

‘We are announcing the 23 Saudis wanted by the security forces.'

 

2 Jan 2012

124

And Morsi Ribh is on that list.

 

 

23 Graphic

 

125

 

DR ABDULAZIZ BIN SAGER:

Chairman of the Gulf Research Centre

‘The names on the list are connected to terrorist acts and using violence. This is why there was a need for the list, to warn society against those people. Because there is no difference between Sunni or Shia terrorism.'

 

 

126

Qatif has become a militarized zone by early 2013.

 

 

Security forces

Date?

127

No other city in the kingdom is surrounded by security checkpoints with armored vehicles.

 

 

 

 

128

Dragnet searches for wanted activists are now common.

 

 

Security forces

 

129

I get a message the security forces have raided the houses of Morsi and another wanted activist, Fathil Al Safwani.

 

But they've managed to escape.

 

 

 

 

130

As I make my way to their neighbourhood, the atmosphere is tense. There are police checkpoints all over the area.

 

 

Walking alley shot

 

131

I'm meeting wanted men and could get arrested.

 

 

 

 

132

I arrive just hours after the raid.

Both Morsi and Fadhil have risked going back into their homes to check on their families and assess the damage.

 

 

Morsi and fathil at door

FEB 19 2013

133

 

FATHIL:

‘This is for sure 100% bullet holes, but something similar to a bomb used. Its effects are clear.'

Morsi:

‘Even the metal door bent in. even this is broken (door).'

 

 

134

 

Morsi: ‘this is what they did. they didn't leave anything in the house, they broke it all.'

 

 

135

I ask Fathil what happened

سألتُ فاضل عما حدث

 

 

 

136

 

Fathil: ‘They treated us like terrorists.'

 

 

137

 

F: ‘we were almost killed today.'

M: ‘the way they came here they meant to kill'

F: ‘it's clear they meant to kill.

You're standing here on oilfields that feed the whole world. But we see nothing of it. Poverty, hunger, no honour, no political freedom, we have nothing. What is left? On top of all this, they attack us and try to kill us.'

 

 

138

We go up to the roof and Morsi shows me where he says he came under fire.

 

 

 

 

139

 

S: ‘Did they shoot at you?'

‘Yes, you can see it.'

S: ‘Can you show me?'

 

 

 

 

 

140

 

M: ‘They were there with their weapons, the whole place was surrounded. God protected me, thank God.'

 

 

141

Morsi's family wasn't home.

 

He narrowly escapes by hiding in one of the neighbouring alleyways.

 

 


 

 

142

 

S: ‘How do you feel about today?'

 

 

143

 

M: ‘How do I feel? Thank God I am ok. God is with us and we are walking the right path. We are demanding our rights. We are not rioters as they claim. God willing we are safe.'

 

 

144

I follow Fathil to his house nearby. The security forces could show up at any moment. I'm worried about my safety filming outdoors so I turn off my camera.

 

 

 

 

145

Inside, Fathil's mother is still in shock.

 

 

 

 

146

 

Mother (crying)

‘If you don't give us the key to that room we will shoot you. She told me she was dombstruck, she couldn't speak. She'd been asleep.'

 

 

147

His disabled sister was in the house when the security forces pushed their way in.

 

 

 

 

148

 

F: ‘This is my elder sister.'

S:'Sallam Alaikum.'

 

 

149

 

Sister: ‘They came in while I was sleeping and threatened me with a gun. I got scared.'

 

 

150

 

S: ‘Do you know why they attacked your house?'

 

 

151

 

‘I don't know why. I don't know why.'

 

 

152

 

S: ‘This is your room?'

‘Yes, it's my room.

I heard the knock on the door and assumed it was the authorities. I went to see from the stairs and saw them opening the door. And I got out from here.'

 

 

153

 

S: ‘Were you hurt?'

‘Yes, I have some scrapes.'

 

 

154

 

As usual they will say they found weapons.

This is my weapon (points at his camera)

(morsi picks it up)

And the government knows that this is my weapon.

 

 

155

 

We saw it before and tried it in the last two years when we demanded our rights for the entire community

 

 

156

 

And not for a specific sect... regardless of where they are Shia or Sunni. We demanded rights for everyone.

Freedom, justice, rights.

 

We have nothing.

 

 

157

Fathil and Morsi move away from their homes to protect their families.

 

They've already seen other wanted men arrested and killed.

 

 

 

158

The government considers Morsi one of the most dangerous of the 23 wanted

and has attempted to arrest him several times.

They say he targets the security forces and hides behind innocent civilians.

 

Morsi and fathil walking out of the house, close door

 

159

Fathil and Morsi move away from their homes to protect their families.

 

They've already seen other wanted men arrested and killed.

 

 

 

160

By September 2012, 5 of the 23 wanted have been arrested. And 4 have surrendered to the police and up until now... none have been killed.

 

 

 

161

Khaled Labad, seen here with Morsi, is also on the wanted list.

 

He refutes all charges made against him.

 

 

Khaled at protest with Morsi

SEP 20 2012 aston

162

 

UPSOT: Khaled making statement

‘I am the citizen Khaled Abdul Karim Hassan Labad. The Ministry of Interior has accused of many things. None of which are true.'

 

JAN 4 2012

163

Six days after this protest, Khaled is shot dead in front of his house by security forces - along with two others.

 

The protesters say the men were unarmed.

 

The police say they were coming to arrest them and were shot at, and only returned fire to eliminate the threat.

 

 

protest with Khaled and Shiekh Hubail

 

 

funeral pix

SEP 30 2012

164

 

UPSOT:

And now, the coffin of the martyr Khaled labad.

 

Death to Al Saud!

Funeral pix

 

165

Thousands attend the funeral and the day becomes known as bloody Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

166

Khalid's Mother is still in mourning when I visit and doesn't want her face shown.

 

 

 

 

167

 

MOTHER SYNC: ‘I took out my abaya and socks to prepare to go out. Suddenly I heard BANG BANG as if it was Armageddon.'

 

 

168

 

‘I looked for my son but he wasn't there.'

 

 

169

 

‘And the guy who fired said "go inside or I will shoot you" I told him to shoot me.'

 

 

170

 

‘I saw my nephew drenched in his own blood.'

 

 

171

 

‘They took my nephew riddled with bullets and they took my son. I didn't know Khaled was dead. I was just screaming because I couldn't find him. I didn't know if he was alive or dead.'

 

 

172

I ask Khaled's mother if she would let her children protest now.

 

 

 

 

173

 

MOTHER: ‘I don't let my daughter go out. I used to before but not now.'

 

 

 

174

 

MOTHER: ‘I worry about them. We didn't benefit from these protests.

I used to go out to the protests at first, but we have gained nothing.'

 

 

175

 

‘Our children are killed, others in jail. My nephew no one knows his fate.'

 

 

176

The death of protesters reverberates throughout the community.

 

Sheikh Abdul Karim Hubail often speaks at these funerals.

 

BANNER

‘Our blood will be victorious over your lies and your bullets'

 

Dec 31 2012

Ahmad Matar funeral

177

 

HUBAIL UPSOT:

‘Your blood will not have been shed in vain'

the crowd:

‘Punishment for those who killed!'

Sheikh Hubail at funeral

DEC 31 2012

 

shorter

178

With Sheikh Nimr in prison, he is one of the few remaining clerics who will still speak openly in support of the protests.

 

Funeral pix

 

 

 

 

 

Ahmad in car

 

179

One of the government's allegations against some of the Shia in the country is that their allegiance is to Iran -

a majority Shia country -

and not to Saudi Arabia.

 

 

 

 

180

 

Saudi Pundit:

For sure the Saudi government has irrefutable evidence proving a relationship between those people with the foreign influences. The way Iranian media support and cover the events in the Eastern Province and especially in Qatif and Awamiya. This politisised coverage shows direct government support.

 

 

181

The human rights advocate Ahmad Mshaikhs knows Sheikh Hubail well and takes me to meet him.

 

 

 

 

182

 

AHMAD SYNC:

‘Sheikh Abdul Karim (Hubail) is one of the symbols of the Shia community in the area.'

 

 

183

Ahmad points out what he sees as an example of discrimination against the Shia.

 

 

 

 

184

 

07:15

‘This mosque being built, it is the second-biggest Shia mosque in the area. When it is finished, Shiekh Abdul Karim Hubail will pray here.'

 

07:55

‘Notice the sign, there is a donation office for the mosque. Of course these mosques are built with private money because the government doesn't pay, though it should. But Shia mosques are a special case. It has to be local effort, and private money.'

 

 

185

Many Shia clerics like Hubail have studied in Iran.

 

And Some look to spiritual leaders there.

 

 

 

FEB 24 2013

186

 

HUBAIL SOT:

‘During the revolution I was in Iran'

 

‘Beautiful memories...' (smiles broadly)

 

 

187

But he says this has no bearing on the protests in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

 

 

188

 

Sheikh Hubail SYNC: ‘Every time the government sees the problems that are still unresolved, which is doesn't even try to resolve. It blames ‘Iran , Iran, Iran'

 

‘What is this Iran!'

 

‘They have started to use it to project their problems onto it. Has Iran become the world's superpower? Or it does it have magical powers no-one knows about?'

 

 

189

I also asked Shiekh Hubail about relationship between the government and the religious establishment after the protests.

 

 

 

 

190

 

Sheikh HUBAIL SYNC:

‘The gov't doesn't even acknowledge that we have a religious establishment.'

 

 

191

 

 

H: ‘On a practical level, they ask us to lead society and stop protests but offer nothing in return.'

 

 

 

192

I'm getting concerned the authorities will discover I'm filming - and decide to leave Saudi Arabia.

 

 

 

193

It's important to get the videos out of the country and protect the identities of those I've spoken to so far.

 

 

 

 

194

Between visits, I spend months scrutinizing the protest footage. Dozens of hours of it.

 

 

Safa looking at footage on computer / footage of

gun being fired

 

195

One of the things I find, surprises me.

 

A video of an attack on the police in Awamiya... dated October 3, 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

196

The day before the police had arrested two old men to pressure their sons to surrender.

 

You can see an activist on the right hand side pulling a small hand-gun from a scarf.

 

 

 

 

197

 

‘Look, he's shooting at the ground. You can see it'

 

‘Be careful, I filmed one of our guys firing.'

 

 

198

The police return fire.

 

The Saudi authorities have always maintained the activists used weapons.

 

 

 

199

The activists have always denied it.

 

 

 

 

200

I show it to Toby Mathieson who has closely monitored the uprisings in the Gulf

 

 

 

 

201

 

TOBY SOT:

‘Wow! I've never seen that before. But of course as soon as a small group used violence against the state, it's very easy for the state to de-legitimise the whole movement. If five people take-up arms they can do a lot of damage to the overall movement but it doesn't means it represents everyone.'

 

‘In the Eastern Province and particularly Awamiya weapons abound, so most households would have weapons, and so if tensions boil over like that and the village feels totally under attack then people will take up arms.'

 

 

 

 

202

The security forces justify their crackdown because of armed incidents like this.

 

 

 

 

203

Sweeping anti-terrorisim laws banning most forms of dissent are about to be passed throughout the country.

 

BULLET POINT GRAPHIC

‘Contact with groups, factions or individuals who harbor enmity for the kingdom.'

 

‘Attendance of conferences, forums or gatherings inside or outside the Kingdom that target the Kingdom's security.'

Safa at desk with graphics

 

204

I return to Saudi Arabia

in October 2013.

 

The mood is very different and people are even more afraid to speak.

 

 

GV's of Qatif

 

Safa in car (not driving)

 

205

Local human rights activists have called 2013 one of the worst years in Saudi Arabia for human rights.

 

 

 

 

206

After weeks of trying to find people to talk to me on the record, this woman finally agrees.

 

 

 

 

207

 

UPSOT WOMAN:

‘I'm speaking as a mother from awamiya.'

S: ‘And you live near the police station?'

Woman:

‘Yes nearby. They'll know who I am. They'll know who I am for sure.'

 

Woman in silhouette / distorted voice

FEB 2014

208

She is scared of retaliation from both the government and the activists.

 

She lives near the police station and is regularly caught in the crossfire.

 

 

Police station night pix

 

209

 

UPSOT WOMAN: ‘The soldiers outside are in armoured vehicles. We aren't protected. So why are the activists shooting at us? The security forces respond even more violently.'

Armored vehicles

 

210

 

‘We are already at the end of the road, but what about the future of our children? The next generation? That scares me.'

 

 

211

Hassan agrees to meet me one last time. To talk about one of his friends who has been killed.

 

 

 

 

212

 

HASSAN:

‘The security forces attacked him by surprise. They were in civilian clothing. They shot him. He tried to run but couldn't because he was shot.'

 

OCTOBER 2013

213

After his narrow escape the first time, the police final get Morsi Al Ribh.

Morsi sustained multiple gun-shot wounds. His friends say Morsi was shot dead as he was preparing for a religious festival in the streets of Awamiya.

 

 

 

 

214

 

Man:

‘A martyr. I swear he is a martyr.

He is the pride of all of Qatif.'

 

Morsi body at the morgue. Injuries on knees and back clearly visible

 

215

After the death of Morsi, I find Hassan's views have drastically changed.

 

 

 

 

216

 

HASSAN:

‘Of course if the Saudi Security Forces attacked any home we find it acceptable to use any form of self-defense.'

 

S: ‘Even weapons?'

 

‘Even weapons.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TING!

OCTOBER 2013

217

With more activists taking up weapons both sides are now entrenched.

 

 

 

 

218

 

TOBY SYNC:

I think that is very dangerous for the future because it means that the ruling family or at least the elements that are now in charge, don't want any political reform and really just want to show the iron fist, and the only reaction to that can be apathy, or violence, so there is no way of engaging with the state at the moment if you are a reformist in Saudi Arabia.

 

done

219

On February 20th of this year, I receive an email from Hassan telling me that security forces have killed two activists in Awamiya.

 

 

 

 

220

When the security forces arrive to arrest them, they're shot at.

This time two policemen are killed. Naif Khabrani and Dallah Majrashi and one is critically injured.

 

 

 

 

221

The policemen's funerals are broadcast on Saudi television and attended by the Minister of Interior Prince Mohamed Bin Nayif.

 

 

 

 

222

 

UPSOT PRINCE :

‘The king asked me to present his condolences, and the Crown Prince and Second Deputy.

King said that these children are also his children.'

 

‘Come! Come!'

What's your name?'

‘Saud' (the child)

‘Are you proud of your father?'

‘He is a martyr, a hero.'

prince at funeral

 

223

The killing of the policemen is a game changer for both sides.

 

 

 

 

224

The Ministry of Interior declares violent protesters as ‘terrorists'.

 

 

 

 

225

 

 

TEXT

‘We have passed the phase of rioting to terrorism.'

MANSOUR

statement

Newspaper headlines

MARCH 19 2014

226

There was strong reaction on social media highlighting the underlying sectarian tensions in the country.

 

 

 

 

227

 

‘#Yes, we must cleanse the whole kingdom from these Shia, not just from Awamiyah. They benefit from our wealth and do their best to destroy it."

 

‘#cleansing_Awamiya_national_demand

What is happening in awamiya from the Shia provokes and worries me

who throws a bomb

on a security man doesn't go to prison

gets killed

gets killed

gets killed'

 

 

228

Two weeks after the killings, 100 Shia clerics add their names to a petition to reaffirm their position against the use of violence towards the state.

 

Even clerics like Sheikh Hubail are now publicly criticizing violence by activists.

 

 

 

 

229

 

SHEIKH UPSOT SERMON

‘Weapons were used. This is obvious now and doesn't need any more debate. There is no need for anyone to accuse me of lying about their use of weapons. Weapons were used and bullets were fired. And it doesn't represent those who first went out to protest.'

 

MARCH 14 2014

300

We wanted to talk to someone from the Saudi government - or at least get answers to our questions. But after a year of many calls and emails, they stopped responding.

 

 

 

 

301

I go to the Awamiya cemetery where there's a special plot for those killed during the uprising... Khaled Labad is buried here.

 

 

 

Khaled and Morsi graves in cemetery

FEB 3 2013

302

It's also the final resting place of his friend... Morsi Al Ribh.

 

 

 

 

303

 

HASSAN SYNC

‘Mori's martyrdom is a great loss to the uprising. But this makes it stronger and makes his friends more determined.'

Out of vision, stay on cemetery.

 

304

Of the 23 most wanted

2 have been killed,

13 have been arrested

8 are in hiding.

 

 

Out on music and cemetery

 

305

It's become too risky for me to continue investigating this story.

 

I must leave my country...

Fear and paranoia have taken hold of the people around me.

And dissent has been pushed underground once again.

 

 

 

 

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