15 October 2018 – The Fourth High Criminal Court handed prison sentences to seven Bahraini nationals and revoked the citizenship of six over terrorism charges related to the bombing of an oil pipeline in the area of Buri on 10 November 2017, the Public Prosecution announced today. This takes the current number of citizenship revocations in Bahrain to 749 since the use of this tool of repression began in 2012, of which an unprecedented 243 have occurred 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 seven defendants are accused of forming a terrorist organisation and possessing and using explosive materials and weapons. In addition to the revocation of citizenship imposed on six of them, all the defendants were issued harsh prison sentences, ranging from a minimum of five years to life imprisonment, and also imposed fines. The Court sentenced:
- 5 defendants to life imprisonment – BHD 200,000 fine (approximately £400,000)
- 1 defendant to 10 years’ imprisonment
- 1 defendant to 5 years’ imprisonment – BHD 100,000 fine (approximately £200,000)
BHD 64,577. 041 is the overall cost of the damages caused.
Commenting, BIRD’s Director of Advocacy, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, said: “In Bahrain, the use of confessions extracted under torture has become the norm in trials. The arbitrary revocation of citizenship is also a developing into a dangerous pattern, as the implications extend beyond individuals and have dramatic impacts on the whole family, particularly children born to those who are stateless”.
Citizenship Revocation in Bahrain
Withdrawing nationality has become a growing tool of repression against critical voices in Bahrain. 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
According to BIRD’s documentation, there have been 749 cases in which the citizenship of a Bahraini national has been revoked by the government since 2012.
- 243 in 2018
- 156 in 2017
- 90 in 2016
- 208 in 2015
- 21 in 2014
- 31 in 2012