Recent Releases in Bahrain: Something Has Changed

Protest demanding release of Mr. Hassan Mushaima and Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace - April 19, 2024
Protest demanding release of Mr. Hassan Mushaima and Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace - April 19, 2024

2024-04-20 - 3:12 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Since the release of over 1,500 prisoners, about half of whom are political prisoners, as part of the largest royal pardon of its kind since the general amnesty in 2001, Bahrain has been experiencing a mixture of joy and political instability simultaneously.

Since the release of approximately 700 political prisoners, the ongoing demands for the release of the remaining political detainees (Al-Wefaq says there are currently 556 political prisoners in Bahrain) are escalating and do not seem to witness any calming on the ground.

However, it is also notable that security forces did not treat the families of the prisoners as they did before, with violence or the use of derogatory language. On the contrary, these sit-ins would end with officers coming out to speak to the families and promising to resolve this crisis soon.

It is worth mentioning here that just two days before the issuance of the royal pardon, and during a sit-in held by the families of political prisoners, security forces used violence in several areas across Bahrain and arrested a number of protesters participating in these events. This indicates that something came from higher authorities instructing all security personnel to positively and non-provocatively interact with the families of prisoners specifically.

No one really knows today the reality of the situation, or the motives that led to the issuance of the royal pardon. Setting the analyses aside, most Bahrainis agree that what happened is a step in the right direction towards a broader and more comprehensive solution that puts an end to this issue, which has been troubling everyone for over 13 years.

And to keep the opposition's compass from deviating from what is important, came the statement of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, in which he called for the continuation of peaceful protest movements and considered the releases an additional incentive "towards a greater and firmer forward movement, with a degree of seriousness  multiple times greater than what we are currently at". This was followed by a statement from Sheikh Ali Salman from his prison cell, where he outlined priorities and urged the families of prisoners to continue participating in protests and leading these activities until achieving the desired results. He also renewed the repeated call for dialogue to navigate the country towards safety amid the turbulent regional conditions.

Hope is high and optimism is greater, with the closure of this humanitarian file first and foremost, and the end of the state of political tension, returning the political crisis to its natural place "in the rooms of politicians," subject to negotiations and discussions, for the good and welfare of the country and its people.

Arabic Version