Incidents of Anti-Shiism in March, 2019
Anti-Shiism in the form of direct violence, discrimination, and marginalization, was reported in number of nations during this month.
It is important to note that cases of violence noted in this report are in fact only a sample of the incidents of anti-Shiism faces by the worlds Shia minority. Shia Rights Watch recognizes that incidents of violence are in large part not reported as many religious minorities live in fear of further persecution on the basis of their religious identity.
Bahrain continues to be the most dangerous county for Shia Muslims.
Condition of Prisons, and Violation to Prisoner’s Rights
As the imprisonment raise in Bahrain, prisons’ conditions is declining dramatically. Human rights activists reported that number of female activists have been denied communicating with their family members. The families complain that the status and wellbeing of the women is not clear as they have not been permitted to call anyone. Amira Al-Qashaami as well as the two sisters Fatima and Iman Ali Abdullah is among those whose families are concerned due to the lack of communication between them and the inmates.
March 5th marked second years behind the bar for the female activists Hajer Mansoor Hassan, whose conviction has been recognized as “unlawful” by the UN. Hassan was sentences to three years in prison. As number of other prisoners, Hassan’s access to health care and phone calls to home is denied according to right groups.
Extension of detention, or postponing the trial dates have been utilized as a mean of mental torture to the inmates and their families by authorities in Bahrain. Manama’s public prosecutor extended the detention of Bahraini female detainee, Hadeer Abadi, by an additional 30 days. The 25-year-old was detained after being summoned for questioning. However, the authorities are yet to release any information about her charges.
Minors in Prisons
Minors are charged for taking part in protest as the government considers protests “illegal gathering” in Bahrain. Hussein Radhi and Ali Hussein Abdulwahab spent almost one month behind bars before they were released. The minor’s trial was set to commence on March 17. The third minor, Hassan Hamza, was also detained and his detention was extended for additional week since the public prosecutor’s office failed to deliver the 14-year-old’s file to the designated judge in time for Thursday’s hearing.
Also, Sayed Ali Taha, 15 years old, who has been in the custody of Manama’s security services, was transferred to Dock Detention Center without explanations.
On March 13th, Manama court sentenced Bahraini opposition Ebrahim Sharif to six months in prison over his critical tweet of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. The court found Sharif guilty of ‘insulting the head of a foreign state’. He was granted bail for the appeal process in the amount of 500 Bahraini dinars (just over USD 1,300). Sharif denies the charges against him, arguing that his tweets fall within the realm of freedom of opinion.
Bahrain Court continues to arrest and charge people for their participation in sit-in, organized in support of Sheikh Isa Qassim that took place in 2017. So far 167 people have been convicted by charges related to that sit-in.
Bahrain repeatedly arrests and convicts its citizen accusing them of political movements.
Rights groups have repeatedly accused Manama of jailing Bahraini minors, females and activists without proper cause and then subjecting them to ill-treatment in detention.
Saudi court announced that female activists who have been detained during crack downs since last year will face trial. The authorities did not specify charges or court dates. The announcement shocked human rights groups. The activists have reported ill treatment and even sexual harassment however the authorities have not taken any measures to investigate the reports. Human rights agencies have repeatedly asked the Saudi court to release the women without any conditions however Saudi authorities accuse the activists of organizing political movement.
Beside domestic violations, Saudi Arabia’s active involvement in Yemen concerns the international committees. Five British parties called for an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia on the fourth anniversary of the Saudi-Yemeni aggression on Yemen, which led to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Germany was first country to take initiative in addressing Saudi’s misuse of arms against civilians. This country announced that it would not approve new arms exports to the kingdom until further notice. Finland and Denmark followed the lead and halted their sales. However, no country comes close to the United States in major weapons supply to Saudi Arabia. Over the past five years the US accounted for 61% of major arms sales to this country. In the month of February The U.S House voted to withdraw U.S.
Although more actions must be taken to stop Saudi’s human rights violation in its country and its involvement in humanitarian crisis elsewhere, SRW believes withdrawing support and banning arm sale are a great start. This NGO also believes that such actions are the result of human rights reports that highlights and report the violations done by Saudi Kingdom.
Although ISIS is losing ground in Iraq, this group managed to attack a Turkaman tribe killing as many as 20 people.
Also, Iraqi security forces discovered another mass grave in the north of the country. As many as 65 bodies were found and taken to be identified. Numbers of mass graves have been discovered in Iraq during last decade.
According to authorities, at least 7 people are killed during individual assassinations by armed and masked men in the month of March.
Iraq continues to face attacks, killings, and insecurity. Most of such incidents are not reported as they have become a norm of the society. SRW believes normalization of human rights violation is dangerous and must be addressed. Iraqis, as all other people, have the right to peace and security. Therefore the violations they face must be covered by media and national and international committees must take active steps to stop them.
Balochistan University Superintendent Sayyed Hussein Shah was shot and killed in the Pakistani city of Quetta during this month.
Pakistani Shia have complained about mysterious “enforced disappearance” of their family members. The families organize sit-in to protest the government’s inactivity and lack of support. A sit-in took place in Karachi during this month as well.
Pakistani Shia have asked their local governments to secure their areas however lack of government’s protection has claimed many Shia lives.
At least 6 people have been killed and 23 others wounded in multiple explosions in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul during celebrations to mark Nowruz, the start of their New Year. The blasts reportedly occurred near Kabul University and the Kart-e Sakhi shrine on Thursday.
Important celebrations and gatherings have been targeted by ISIS, Taliban and other group in pats. Last year on Nowruz, a bomb attack carried out by ISIS terrorists killed 33 people celebrating near the shrine.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in a statement that four centers of the Shia community would be suspended in his country. The authorities stated that the centers are “Iran-backed”.
SRW encourages the French to dis-associates general Shia population from specific country as not all Shia are representative or dependent on Iran.
Shia Rights Watch continues to monitor and report violations to increase awareness and reduce the discriminations against minorities.