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Manama to Beirut: Persecute our Exiled Dissidents

Manama to Beirut: Persecute our Exiled Dissidents
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By Sondoss Al-Asaad

Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a strongly-worded protest to the Lebanese Government regarding Beirut's hosting of a conference allegedly "for hostile persons designated as supporters and sponsors of terrorism, with the purpose of disseminating and promoting abusive and malicious allegations against the Kingdom of Bahrain."

The Bahraini al-Wefaq's press conference was held to launch a human rights report entitled "An Epidemic of Violations," which covers a far narrower period between the start of 2019 and the mid of this year [2021].

Undoubtedly, the ministry knows that those activists have been forcibly and illegally banished from their own land, after arbitrarily stripping their citizenship.

Al-Wefaq's report has documented a staggering 20,068 arbitrary arrests of Bahraini men, women and children, since the onset of pro-democracy protests on Feb, 14th, 2011. According to the findings, most of the 1320 violations against Bahraini detainees involve severe torture, whereby two torture victims were even executed. It further reveals that there were 1941 politically-motivated court rulings, with hundreds of those resulting in citizenship revocations and life sentences.

Al-Wefaq believes the findings are serious enough to warrant the formation of an international commission of inquiry to look into these grave violations, calling for an international pressure on Manama over its refusal to grant visit requests to the UN’s special rapporteurs.

Commenting on the ministry's allegations, Jawad Fairooz, al-Wefaq's former MP, said that "after systematic and ongoing oppression by all means against freedom of expression inside Bahrain, the government wants to restrict this freedom abroad," asking: "Isn't this a clear proof that Bahrain is a police state?"

Besides, Bahraini human rights advocate, Sayed Yousif al-Muhafda, said that the statement is marred by fallacies, pointing out that "None of the participants in the human rights conference are internationally or locally listed in the terror lists," adding that "holding conferences does not violate international conventions as the statement claims."

Sayed al-Muhafda revealed that those who had wrote the statement are "not familiar with international law, human rights law, humanitarian law and Lebanon's domestic laws that guarantee freedom of expression."

The Bahraini government's comments come amid the Saudi-led hostile campaign against Lebanon.

Today [Thursday], Bahraini London-based activists will organize a press conference in front of the Bahrain Embassy, with the participation of members of the British Parliament and human rights organizations, to condemn the ongoing flagrant violations against human rights in the country.

Meanwhile, a growing number of British lawmakers is rallying around Bahraini exiled activist Ali Mushaima's campaign calling on Manama to release the detained opposition leader Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace, along other political prisoners, including his own father, Shiekh Hassan Mushaima.

Al-Singace has been on hunger strike since more than 150 days, demanding the return of his confiscated academic research. Meanwhile, Mushaima has been on hunger strike outside Bahrain’s London embassy for 16 days so far where he receives near-daily visits from British MPs.

Thus, the questions that pop up are: "Will the Bahrain government send a letter of protest to the UK?" Then, "Does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs know why are these Bahraini activists practicing their freedoms in Beirut and not in Manama?"