UIA-IROL: Bahraini Justice Minister should not Use Disciplinary Proceedings to Sanction Lawyers
2021-05-22 - 3:53 am
Bahrain Mirror: The UIA Institute for the Rule of Law (UIA-IROL) said that Bahrain Minister of Justice should not use disciplinary proceedings to sanction lawyers exercising their freedom of expression.
It explained in a statement on (May 11, 2021) that the punishment imposed on Mr. Al-Shamlawi by the Kingdom of Bahrain, based on his personal opinions, is a clear violation of Articles 19 of the Covenant as well as Article 23 of the Constitution of Bahrain, both of which protect freedom of expression.
UIA-IROL added that the disciplinary proceedings instituted against Mr. Al-Shamlawi to be totally unfounded and improper. Mr. Al-Shamlawi's tweets were his personal, not professional opinions, and as such, it was inappropriate for the Disciplinary Council to even consider his case.
In a hearing held on March 22, 2021, the Lawyers' Disciplinary Board in Bahrain decided to prohibit prominent human rights lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi from practicing his profession for one year. The decision followed a complaint filed with the Lawyers Disciplinary Council against Mr. Al-Shamlawi by Minister of Justice Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa. This case stems from a tweet published by Mr. Al-Shamlawi from his personal Twitter account, wherein he criticized the religious practices of a Muslim sect.
UIA-IROL said that this unfounded and arbitrary decision of the Disciplinary Council is merely a pretext intended to impede his human rights work.
He added "Unfortunately, it is just one example of a pattern of harassment of those lawyers who dare to oppose the governmental practices, either in their personal lives or in the course of their representation of clients." UIA-IROL called on the Appellate Disciplinary Council to reverse the decision of the Disciplinary Council and reinstate Mr. Al-Shamlawi.
Mr. Al-Shamlawi is a legal advisor and an experienced human rights lawyer, who throughout his decades-long practice, has often defended clients who have been critical of the Kingdom policies.