Bahrain urged to restore citizenship of dissidents

Amnesty International has called on the Bahraini regime to restore the citizenship of dozens of peaceful activists stripped of their nationality.

“Amnesty International is seriously concerned about the Bahraini authorities’ increasing resort to revocation of nationality as a means to punish critical voices, as the authorities stripped 72 individuals of their Bahraini nationality, rendering many of them stateless. The organization urges the authorities to rescind this decision and stop targeting dissidents,” read the statement issued by the international body on Thursday.

“Deprivation of nationality is permitted only under narrow circumstances under international law, and must be accompanied by sufficient due process protections and a right to appeal…. Stripping citizens of their nationality on the basis of vague allegations without due process protections is arbitrary and in violation of Bahrain’s international human rights obligations,” the statement added.

The human rights watchdog also lashed out at the Manama regime for treating Bahraini political dissidents in the same way as Bahraini nationals who have joined the ranks of the Takfiri ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria

“In a worrying move, the authorities have put the names of a number of known Bahraini human rights and political activists on the same list as other Bahrainis who have been alleged ISIL fighters,” said the statement.

On January 31, Bahrain revoked the citizenship of 72 people for taking part in anti-government protests and fighting for the ISIL.

Bahrain, a close ally of the United States in the Persian Gulf region, has been witnessing almost daily protests against the ruling Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011, with Manama using heavy-handed measures in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.

The tiny Persian Gulf kingdom has seen an escalation of protests over the past months after the regime in December arrested Sheikh Ali Salman, a senior cleric and the leader of the main opposition party, al-Wefaq.


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