Salam for Democracy and Human Rights issued a special report about the violations practiced against the Shia majority in Bahrain during Ashura this year.
According to the report, the authorities made 199 violations to tighten the grip on commemorating Ashura rituals organized by Shia annually, marking Imam Hussein bin Ali’s martyrdom, the third Imam of the Shiites.
Salam said that the violations were resembled in “summoning and interrogating preachers, religious citers, obsequies’ administratives and normal people, arbitral arrests, maltreatment, sabotaging and confiscating flags and banners as well as clamping down on those taking part in Ashura processions through tear gas.”
“The authorities made 57 violations in 2013, 79 in 2014, 169 in 2015 and recorded the highest rate in 2016 with 199 violations, which proves what the organization had already concluded that the violations of religious freedoms are taking place in a systematic way by the Bahraini authorities,” according to the organization.
It explained that the authorities “sabotaged the processions in 128 cases and that these violations led to clashes between the citizens and security forces in 10 villages.” The organization also documented 42 cases of incriminating the religious discourse and freedom of expression, explaining that “it recorded 7 cases in which preachers were not allowed to attend the mourning processions due to the siege imposed on Diraz. Besides, 35 cases of summoning and investigating preachers, religious citers, obsequies’ administratives and normal people were documented. 13 arbitral arrests were recorded as well as 3 maltreatment cases resembled in long-term detention in investigations room without food or drinks.”
Salam demanded the Bahraini authorities to “stop their arbitral practices that violate Shia religious freedoms and impose further restrictions of freedom of expression and respond to the visit request of UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression,” calling on the international community and human rights organizations to play “a pressing role through addressing the Bahraini authorities to stop the violations related to freedoms of beliefs, opinion and expression against Shia.”