Sun Oct 6, 2013 1:38PM
Former Bahraini opposition lawmaker Khalil Marzooq

Former Bahraini opposition lawmaker Khalil Marzooq

Just as al-Wefaq called on its supporters to reject all forms of violence, no matter the provocation, Al Khalifa has worked to repress and oppress its people with renewed violence."
In the latest of a long list of crimes and unfair punishments against its people, Bahrain General Prosecutor - under the direct command and leadership of King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa - has referred Khalil al-Marzooq to court - a prominent lawyer and senior member of al-Wefaq - on charges of "inciting terrorist crimes” this Saturday. The prosecutor, Nayef Yousif, has also accused Marzooq of using his position in al-Wefaq to "call for crimes that are considered terror acts under the law.” In essence, the regime, through its judiciary has accused al-Wefaq of plotting and fomenting against the state by encouraging its followers to rise against Al Khalifa and oppose its rule. By targeting such a key figure of al-Wefaq, the regime is sending the Shia organization a clear message - no one, not even al-Wefaq’s most senior member’s are beyond the reach of the regime. In perfect totalitarian fashion, Al Khalifa has demonstrated since al-Marzooq’s arrest in September, its complete and utter contempt for the rule of law and human rights. A powerful organization, al-Wefaq has since 2011 posed a threat to the regime as it represents and stands for everything the monarchy is not. While al-Wefaq has called for democratic reforms, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, political accountability, moral, ethic, fairness, equality, order and respect , the regime has worked toward reinforcing nepotism, sectarianism, corruption, inequity, inequality, discrimination and injustice. Just as al-Wefaq called on its supporters to reject all forms of violence, no matter the provocation, Al Khalifa has worked to repress and oppress its people with renewed violence. As al-Wefaq worked towards building bridges with the monarchy, refusing to fracture Bahrain as a nation for the sake of its people, Al Khalifa answered by profaning Shia religious sites, raiding residences and businesses as to generate fear. Intent on destroyingthe beacon of hope, the embodiment one might say of Bahraini political aspirations, Al Khalifa has worked tirelessly toward al-Wefaq’s destruction. It is important to understand that the organization has through its unwavering determination become the epitome of political resistance; it has become the embodiment of freedom, the symbol of a nation, an entire people. More than just a Shia organization, al-Wefaq has become a political ideal, a concept which the regime seeks now to annihilate, one member at a time. The very fact that Al Khalifa has resisted calls demanding the immediate release of al-Marzooq is clear proof that the regime has declared war on al-Wefaq, and through it, the Bahraini Shia community. Just as White supremacists sought to repress black South Africans during the Apartheid, Al Khalifa intends to crush Shia Islam and preserve Saudi Arabia Sunni dominance over the region. On Saturday, the prosecutor confronted al-Marzooq with his public speeches in which he allegedly supported the "principles of terror elements... especially the terrorist group named the February 14 Coalition, which he openly supported," an official statement read. While such allegations are completely ill-founded, the mere fabrication of a regime, which is desperately trying to stem out any form of political dissidence or opposition to its totalitarian rule, Khalil al-Marzooq now faces an uncertain future. An important public figure, al-Marzooq was deputy speaker in the 40-member parliament of the Sunni-ruled monarchy before 18 al-Wefaq MPs walked out in February 2011 in protest over violence against demonstrators. The fact that the international community has condemned Bahrain regime for an atrocious act of repression has so far had no impact on the situation. In September, Amnesty International - a prominent international rights group - slammed Al Khalifa over al-Marzooq’s arrest. “Khalil al-Marzooq is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned only for his vehement criticism of the government,” Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director Hassiba Hadj said in a statement. More troubling still, Abdul Jalil Khalil, also a senior member of al-Wefaq, has revealed at a press conference on October 3rd, the sheer extent of Al Khalifa’ sectarian and segregationist campaign against Bahrain’s Shia community by exposing a few political and social realities. Khalil told his audience, “The aim of shedding light on this major crisis is to reach a political solution and national reconciliation that are based on real and active participation in the government and the elected parliament and to achieve a fair electoral system and an independent judiciary and a diversified security apparatus that protects all Bahrainis”. It is important here to understand that while sectarianism has long been a part of Bahraini history, never before and never to this extent have Bahrainis suffered such a brutal and systematic repression based on their religious inclinations. International law expert Professor Cherif Bassiouni could not have been clearer in his assessment of the situation in an interview with al-Jazeera when he declared, “Thecauses of the problems are issues that deal with political inequality between Shias and Sunnis, access to power by the Shia community, economic and social justice there is a great deal that needs to be done in the area of the social and economic reforms in the country". He also added that there is "an estimated 60% Shia population and about 40% Sunnis, the Sunni population dominated the political power and both the economic and social power, and the Shias are on the down side.” Across the executive, legislative and judicial the Shia community is represented by an average of 10%, a far cry from the 60% of the actual population of the country it represents. “A comparison was conducted on the cabinet and deputies of ministers and found that only 9 positions from a total of 58 are occupied by Shias. Moreover, during the period between 14th February 2011 and 15th August 2012, King Hamad issued 198 decrees, orders and decisions, appointing a total of 296 posts, only 42 of which were given to Shias. From 16th August 2012 until 31st July 2013, the king issued 181 decrees, orders and decisions, appointing 181 posts, only 29 of which were given to Shias. Thus, during a period of 28 months, the king made 477 assignments in official posts, but only 17 posts equivalent to 14.9% of the total were given to Shias,” read al-Wefaq study report. Again, Khalil al-Marzooq is only the latest stigma of a diseased system whose foundations are based on religious hatred and an authoritarian dogma. When will the international community take action against this repressive regime? CS/HGH
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