21 May 2018 – Today, Bahrain’s Fourth High Criminal Court handed prison sentences to 10 Bahraini nationals and revoked 9 of them of their citizenship over terrorism-related charges according to the Public Prosecution. This sentence takes the current number of citizenship revocations in Bahrain to 728, which 222 of which were revoked in 2018 alone.
The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) condemns the outcome of this deeply unfair trial in the strongest possible terms and urges the authorities to quash the sentences and restore the citizenships.
The 10 defendants are accused of allegedly forming a terrorist organisation and were issued prison sentences ranging from a minimum of 3 years to15 years. The Court revoked the citizenship of 9 of the defendants, and sentenced:
- 1 defendant to 15 years imprisonment
- 2 defendants to 10 years imprisonment
- 6 defendants to 3 years imprisonment
- [1 defendant acquitted]
Commenting, BIRD’s Advocacy Director, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, stated: “Today’s sentence epitomises a system of injustice. The breaking record of 124 individuals being revoked of their citizenship and mostly rendered stateless in just a week has been rewarded by the Trump Administration with further arms sales, while the UK Government maintains its whitewash assistance to Bahrain and calls it ‘justice reform’.”
Withdrawing nationality has become a growing tool of repression against critical voices in Bahrain. According to BIRD’s documentation, there have been 728 cases in which the citizenship of a Bahraini national has been revoked by the government since 2012. The power of citizenship revocation was officially formalised by the July 2014 Amendments to the 1963 Citizenship Law, which allowed the government to withdraw Bahraini citizenship from those who were charged on terrorist-related activities. Predominantly, this trend has affected political activists who have sought to speak out about human rights abuses in the country.
Records of citizenship revocation per year:
- 222 in 2018
- 156 in 2017
- 90 in 2016
- 208 in 2015
- 21 in 2014
- 31 in 2012