Bahraini Activist: Lebanon’s Deportation of Al-Wefaq Members Is Politically Motivated, Instigated by Saudi Blackmail
By Fatima Haydar
Beirut – Lebanon’s Interior Ministry on Wednesday ordered the Lebanese General Security to deport non-Lebanese members of Bahrain's opposition party, Al-Wefaq.
The ministry’s order came after a press conference that was held in Beirut on December 11, 2021, in which the Bahraini opposition group presented a documented report on human rights breaches in the kingdom.
Commenting on the incident, Mr. Ali al-Fayyez, a Bahraini political activist told Al-Ahed News, “We believe that the decision, which was issued today [Wednesday] by the Lebanese Minister of Interior, is a political decision and is not based on a legal case – at least this is our basic understanding of the issue”.
Al-Fayyez explained that the conference which was held in Beirut is a “normal situation” and that such activities are held in the West more than in other countries.
He said that the conference was “A peaceful activity guaranteed by international laws and treaties regarding freedom of opinion and expression,” adding that “even the US Department of State, the British Foreign Office and the Human Rights Council” have all issued similar reports to the one presented by Al-Wefaq in the press conference.
The Bahraini activist pointed to the familiarity of the Lebanese capital with holding such conferences saying, “In fact, Beirut, also hosted several press conferences, whether political or human rights”, all the while emphasizing the “timing and the circumstance that Lebanon is going through”.
Moreover, he underscored that “Saudi blackmail with a Bahraini façade – i.e. the ruling authority in Bahrain” – is behind the deportation incident.
“We believe that this step is inconsistent with the history of Lebanon; with what the Arab, the Islamic world or the entire world knows about Lebanon that it embraces different opinions and pluralism, as well as freedom of opinion and expression,” the activist stated.
He further said that the ministry’s decision is “inconsistent with this history and this Lebanese cultural heritage” since “we have known historically that Lebanon embraces opposition groups”.
However, Al-Fayyez noted the Lebanese’s refusal of the decision by citing popular dismay he witnessed on social media.
This being said, the activist commented on the repercussions of such a decision saying, “This political decision is not in anyone's interest: neither the Lebanese people nor certainly the Bahraini people. It serves only one side: the tyrannical and dictatorship regimes in the Arab and Islamic world”.
He also denounced measures taken by the Al Khalifa regime in an attempt to put an end to the activities of the Bahraini opposition group in London or wherever it is present in the Arab and Islamic world.
“The Bahraini government was unable to send a letter to the British government regarding the activities of the Bahraini opposition,” Al-Fayyez explained.
“We believe that what the regime in Bahraini has done is a cheap blackmail attempt and the export of authoritarian policies, repression, and persecution,” he said.