2017: Wa’ad Society Dissolution Ends Public Political Work in Bahrain
2018-01-08 - 4:55 am
Bahrain Mirror- Exclusive: 2017 came to put an end to public political work in the country through dissolving the National Democratic Action Society (Wa'ad), the second largest opposing society in Bahrain. On March 6, 2017, Bahraini Minister of Justice announced filing a lawsuit demanding to dissolve "Wa'ad", accusing it of "promoting forceful overthrow of political regime". The ministry said that "The society committed gross violations in breach of the Kingdom's laws, including incitement of acts of terrorism and promoting violent and forceful overthrow of political regime. The society glorified convicted terrorists and saboteurs who used weapons, detonated bombs in killing and wounding several security men, supporting parties who were legally convicted of inciting the use of violence and promoting to change political regime in the country by force."
Wa'ad's first trial session started on March 20 in an urgent way. The session coincided with a vast media campaign launched by the regime newspapers and their writers against the society, accusing it of supporting terrorism, betraying the country and following the guardianship of the Islamic jurist (Wilayat Al-Faqih). On April 1, 2017, Wa'ad's website was hacked.
The society's General Secretary Fouad Seyadi condemned the practices of press and social media outlets against Wa'ad. He responded to those who filed the inciting lawsuits saying, "We will not respond whether in a good or a bad way. We will not allow them to drag us to childish quarrels and we will not get affected by their charges and provocations. Our eyes and hearts seek our nation's reformation."
Less than two months after the sessions commenced, a court issued a verdict ruling the dissolution of Wa'ad on May 31 and the liquidation of its funds. Within hours after the verdict, security forces surrounded the society's headquarter in Um Al-Hassam and prevented a press conference about the verdict findings. It also prevented members and friends from entering the headquarters.
In a statement issued on June 1, Wa'ad regretted the decision of the court, saying that such decision "will lead to the abortion of public political action in Bahrain, further complicates the already complicated political scene, and increases the tension in the country." Moreover, it said its dissolution would foil any attempts to reform the economic, political and social situations, and eradicates the other opinion. It considered the Justice Ministry's lawsuit against it as "political" saying that it contained "sent accusations", affirming that it will resort to all judicial levels in the Courts of Appeal and Cassation to defend its firm legal position.
On the other side, Wa'ad filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Interior and demanded the re-opening of its headquarters immediately. On July 6, the Court of Urgent Matters ruled the reopening of Wa'ad headquarters until the decision of its dissolution is finalized. However, the authorities continued banning the society from exercising its activities; it banned on October 18 a seminar dedicated to discuss "the Balfour Declaration and the strategy of the Zionist enemy in the region." The Society further stated that the decision of the ban it received, affected all its future seminars that it intended to organize at its headquarters.
Wa'ad's first appeals sessions started on October 11. Before one month; i.e. on October 26, the Court of Appeal upheld a verdict dissolving National Democratic Action Society, liquidating its funds for the state's budget. This verdict was considered final and to be executed. The court said in its ruling that the violations committed by the society are considered serious and "threaten the society's security and stability".
Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society (dissolved) said in a statement that the closure of "Wa'ad" would widen the scale of the regime's predicament, and prove that all the conditions for building a stable natural state have been destroyed by the authorities' adoption of oppression and absence of a reform mentality.
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