Amnesty expresses deep concern over rights violations in Bahrain

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Bahraini anti-regime protesters hold posters of Sheikh Ali Salman, a senior opposition leader, in Sitra. (Photo by AP)

Amnesty International has expressed deep concern over continuation of human rights violations in Bahrain, saying the situation indicates Al Khalifah regime’s campaign to silence voices of dissent in the sheikhdom.

“Amnesty International has today expressed serious concern about recent developments in Bahrain,” the right organization said in a statement on Thursday.

The UK-based rights body listed some instances of Manama’s violations of international human rights law, including the new charges against the head of the dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, Sheikh Ali Salman, the dissolution of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), the trials of civilians at military courts and the ongoing trial of human rights activist Nabeel Rajab.

The report noted that it requested clarification from Bahraini authorities about the mentioned cases through a letter on November 21, but the Manama regime has not provided any response yet.

“A constitutional amendment ratified by the King on April 3 paved way for military trials of civilians and which could be used to try any critic deemed to be a threat to Bahrain’s national security or its ‘independence, sovereignty or integrity,’” the statement said.

“Amnesty International believes that these trials are part of the ongoing campaign by the Bahraini authorities to silence dissenting and critical voices, including those abroad,” it added.

Bahrain anti-government protesters wave a national flag and gesture toward riot police in Sitra on March 30, 2012. (Photo by AP)

The rights body further urged the regime in Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release Sheikh Salman and Rajab along with all prisoners of conscience, stressing that all charges against them should be dropped and their sentences quashed.

“The organization calls for civilians tried by the High Military Court to be transferred for trial to a competent ordinary court. In addition, it calls on the authorities to rescind the decisions to dissolve political parties,” the statement said.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

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