Bahrain: NPWJ and NRPTT strongly condemn suspension of main opposition party Al-Wefaq

15 Jun, 2016 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome, 15 June 2016
On 14 June 2016, a Bahraini court issued an order suspending the activities of the main opposition party Al-Wefaq on charges of “creating “an environment for terrorism, extremism and violence” in the country. Al-Wefaq, whose offices have been closed and its assets frozen, will be unable to operate pending a judicial decision on its full dissolution on 6 October 2016. The announcement comes 2 weeks after a Bahraini Appeals Court extended from four to nine years a prison sentence imposed on Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq, overturning a trial court’s decision to acquit Sheikh Salman of advocating the overthrow of the government by force.
Furthermore, also on 14 June Bahraini security forces re-arrested prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab on charges of “spreading false information”.

Statement by Niccolò Figà-Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice: 

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) firmly condemn the alarming decision by the Bahraini authorities to suspend the main opposition party in the country, which has consistently called for peaceful protest, condemned all forms of violence and advocated for a fair and just democratic political system in Bahrain through the establishment of a genuine constitutional monarchy. The accusations made by the Ministry of Interior against Al-Wefaq seem to be entirely without merit.

“Today’s shocking and unprecedented ruling is part of an escalating crackdown aimed at criminalising free speech and eliminating any peaceful and dissenting opposition voices in the country. It also blatantly demonstrates that the Bahraini regime is determined to close any avenue or prospect of dialogue to advance democratic reform, rule of law and respect of human rights in the country.

“This is clearly a highly dangerous move that can only further increase political instability and fuel social unrest and disunity. As stated by Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Right, in his opening speech to the 32 session of the Human Rights Council, currently meeting in Geneva, repression will not eliminate people’s grievances but it will increase them. The international community cannot remain silent in front of what is rapidly becoming the realisation of the worst possible scenario for Bahrain: the establishment of a state of tyranny and repression where civil and political rights of the majority of Bahraini citizens are negated”.

“We urge the international community, and the European Union (EU) in particular, to unequivocally condemn this major blow to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in Bahrain and to take immediate concrete steps to ensure that the regime complies with its obligations under international human rights laws. Failure to do so is, in reality, giving its blessing to a process clearly designed to thwart democracy, rule of law and human rights”.