HRW Calls on Bahrain to Reverse Al-Wefaq Suspension and Release Nabeel Rajab
2016-06-17 - 8:29 م
Bahrain Mirror: Human Rights Watch called on the Bahraini authorities to reverse the decision to dissolve Al-Wefaq, close its headquarters and seize its funds, also stressing that the they should "release Nabeel Rajab".
The rights group noted in a statement published on its website that "the Bahraini authorities produced no evidence to support their allegation," referring to the charges brought against Al-Wefaq in the Bahraini official media. It indicated that "Al-Wefaq was a leading signatory of a declaration of non-violence, issued in 2012 by Bahrain's opposition groups, and regularly urges protesters to remain peaceful and condemns violence against the security forces."
"Nobody should be under any illusion as to what Bahrain's rulers are up to - nothing less than squeezing the life out of its peaceful opposition movement," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director. "Bahrain's allies in London, Washington, and elsewhere should publicly condemn these actions and let Bahrain know there will be consequences, he added.
"Bahrain's once vibrant activist community is in danger of being wiped out and Bahrain's friends in the UK government are failing to speak out against this dangerous and totally unjustified action," said Stork.
HRW further shed the light on a statement issued by the US State Department on Tuesday in which it called on the Bahraini authorities "to reconsider the decision to dissolve Al-Wefaq, and criticized the arrest of Rajab and the increased prison sentence for Sheikh Salman." It stressed that this would "restrict freedom of expression."
The UK government has not publicly criticized the arrests or prosecution of Nabeel Rajab or Sheikh Ali Salman, nor has it called publicly for the release of any of Bahrain's high-profile political detainees, many of whom have been serving life sentences since 2011 - although it makes public statements on behalf of human rights defenders in other countries around the world. The organization indicated that in April 2016, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said there had been "progress on human rights in Bahrain throughout 2015," despite a "wealth of evidence to the contrary."
Human Rights First stressed in its statement to what the high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, said in reference to Bahrain that, "repression will not eliminate people's grievances; it will increase them," and to the response of Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Khalid Al Khalifa, on Twitter.
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