Amnesty: Bahrain Heading for “Total Suppression” of Human Rights as Secular Opposition Group Banned
2017-06-02 - 4:28 am
Bahrain Mirror: Bahrain's dissolution of a major political opposition society is the latest troubling move in its blatant campaign to end all criticism of the government, Amnesty International said.
The secular National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad) was dissolved Wednesday (May 31, 2017) after having issued a statement in February, saying that Bahrain was suffering from a "constitutional political crisis" amid continuous human rights violations. The group was subsequently charged with "advocating violence, supporting terrorism and incitement to encourage crimes and lawlessness".
"By banning major political opposition groups, Bahrain is now heading towards total suppression of human rights," said Lynn Maalouf, Director of research at Amnesty International's Beirut Regional Office.
"The suspension of Wa'ad is a flagrant attack on freedom of expression and association, and further proof that the authorities have no intention of delivering on promises of human rights progress."
"The allegations made by the Ministry of Justice against Wa'ad and its leaders are baseless and absurd," said Lynn Maalouf. "Their only so-called ‘crime' is exercising their right to freedom of expression and association."
Wa'ad and its leaders have repeatedly stated their opposition to violence and commitment to peaceful means and they have denied the charges.
The Wa'ad party also signed the National Declaration of Non-Violence Principles in 2012 and has repeatedly condemned calls for violence and acts of violence against security forces.
Wa'ad is also being charged on account of its support to the main opposition party Al Wefaq, which was dissolved on baseless charges in July 2016, and its Secretary General, Sheikh Ali Salman, an Amnesty International was made prisoner of conscience.
It also is accused of electing Ebrahim Sharif, a former prisoner of conscience, as a member of its Central Committee despite his having "lost his civil and political rights" when he was charged in 2011.
The Ministry of Justice accused Wa'ad of "advocating and inciting terrorism" after it condemned the execution of three men on 15 January - referring to them as "martyrs" - and calling "martyrs" other men who died or were killed by security forces in February.
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