27 November 2018 – Today, detained former MP Ali Alasheeri was released on bail having been charged with seeking to “influence the integrity of and confusing the electoral process”. His lawyer issued a public statement on Twitter that the Bahrain Lower Criminal Court decided to release Alasheeri after paying BHD500 for bail.
Alasheeri was arbitrarily arrested on 13 November and had been detained by the authorities until today. He had tweeted that he and his family would boycott the elections held on 24 November in Bahrain, as he feels they do not enjoy their civil rights. Although no names were disclosed, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) identified the individual in question as AlAsheeri.
Alasheeri is facing up to six months imprisonment and a fine of BHD 1000 if he is found guilty of the charges.
Commenting, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said: “Now that the sham elections are over, the Bahraini government has relaxed the punishment for those who spoke freely about the electoral process in Bahrain. This in itself summarises the current state of democracy in the country”.
Elections were held on 24 November for the Council of Representatives of Bahrain’s National Assembly. Amid the increasing crackdown on civil society and human rights, there were growing concerns regarding the legitimacy and credibility of the elections.
Members of the US Congress, Irish Parliament and EU Parliament expressed their concerns for the elections. 20 British Parliamentarians expressed serious concerns in a letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
FCO Minister Alistair Burt supported the elections by welcoming the “continuing progress and commitment to the democratic process” demonstrated by the Bahraini government.