19 April 2014
Press release: Bahrain must end persecution of Sheikh Hussein Najati
IHRC is gravely concerned by developments in the situation surrounding Bahraini opposition activist Sheikh Hussein Najati.
On Tuesday this week, the Bahraini cleric was given 48 hours to leave the country by security forces and told that harm may come to his family if he failed to do so.
Sheikh Najati was one of 31 nationals stripped of their Bahraini nationality by the Ministry of Interior in November 2012 on national security grounds. However the move was widely seen as an attempt by the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy to try and silence its critics.
Bahrainis have long agitiated for political reforms to the island’s monarchical system of government and in 2011 in the wake of the wider Arab Uprising a new wave of protests ensued, only to be ruthlessly put down by the regime assisted by forces from neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Bahrain’s continued intimidation and persecution of its political opposition comes despite its acceptance of the findings of Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in 2011. Although the government promised to implement its recommendations for human and civil rights reforms, in retrospect the exercise appears to have been a fig leaf for continuing with its human rights abuses.
IHRC is concerned that the next step of the Bahraini authorities will be to seize and forcibly deport Sheikh Najati. The arbitrary stripping of citizenship from nationals violates both domestic and international law. IHRC urges the international community to apply pressure on the Bahraini government to rescind its removal order against Sheikh Najati and desist from such repressive measures in the future in line with its legal obligations.
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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.