BAHRAIN: Court revokes citizenship of 24 and sentences them to jail
19 April 2018 – Yesterday (18 April 2018), Bahrain’s High Criminal Court handed prison sentences to 24 Bahraini citizens and stripped them of their nationality over terrorism-related charges, bringing the total number of citizenship revocations in Bahrain to 602.
The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) condemns the outcome of this deeply unfair trial in the strongest possible terms and urge the authorities to quash the sentences.
According to a judicial source who told AFP, The 24 individuals were convicted on the basis of multiple charges, including attempted murder of security officers, travelling to Iran and Iraq for “weapons and explosives training” and forming a “terrorist group”.
As a result, the High Criminal Court sentenced:
- 10 defendants to life imprisonment
- 10 defendants to 10 years in prison
- 4 defendants to 3-5 years in prison
According to findings disclosed by the lawyers, 6 of the defendants appear to be family members of Ali Ahmed Abdulla Moumen, who was shot to death by Bahrain’s security forces on 17 February 2011. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) established that Ali’s death “can be attributed to the use of excessive force by police officers.”
Commenting, BIRD’s Director of Advocacy Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, said: “The worrying trend of using revocation of citizenship as a political tool through the judiciary is one of the most repressive measures adopted by the Bahraini authorities. It is a straightforward violation of international law, as no one should be rendered stateless according to the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Bahrain is being emboldened to act with impunity by their UK and US allies, who have failed to use their leverage to end human rights abuses.”
In its most recent report on Bahrain, the UN Committee Against Torture found that both “torture” and the “acceptance by judges of forced confessions” are “widespread”.
Revocations of Citizenship Since 2012:
According to BIRD’s documentation, there have been 602 cases in which the citizenship of a Bahraini national has been revoked by the government since 2012. Predominantly, this trend has affected political activists who have sought to speak out about human rights abuses in the country. As such, the revocation of citizenship has become a powerful tool that the Bahraini government uses to silence dissent.
Records of citizenship revocation per year:
- 96 in 2018
- 156 in 2017
- 90 in 2016
- 208 in 2015
- 21 in 2014
- 31 in 2012
In 2018, Number of Bahraini citizens revoked of their nationality exceeded 600 since the crackdown began in 2012
– 96 in 2018
– 156 in 2017
– 90 in 2016
– 208 n 2015
– 21 in 2014
– 0 in 2013
– 31 in 2012
— Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei (@SAlwadaei) April 18, 2018
- AFP: Bahrain sentences 24 Shiites to jail, revokes nationality
- Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry – Case Number 6. Page 232 (report published on 23 Nov 2011)