The Bahraini judicial system has continued to display intolerance towards opposition as this week they sentenced one Shia citizen to death and 22 others for life under the charges of forming a terrorist group.
This group, according to the Bahraini government, killed two people, including a policeman. In addition to these charges, the 23 prisoners had their citizenship revoked and two of them were fined 200,000 dinars. These charges have been unsubstantiated and the punishments handed down are excessive. The Bahraini judicial system has routinely violated due process and continues to hand down punishments against Shia Muslims that far exceed any actions taken by the defendants. While tough punishments are handed down to Shia Muslims, members of the security forces that use excessive force and engage in torture against prisoners are rarely indicted. Shia Rights Watch condemns the most recent actions of the Bahraini judicial system and calls for an investigation into court rulings against political dissidents and marginalized groups.
On Monday December 28th, Bahraini Security Forces arrested Hamid Al-Basri, former member of the municipality council. This occurred during an early morning raid where Al-Basri’s mobile phone and laptop were confiscated without a warrant. Shia Rights Watch condemns the excessive actions taken by the Bahraini security forces and urges a review of police practices in the country.
As mentioned in the previous news write up, the whereabouts of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky are unknown and the reports that have emerged are conflicting. Whereas initial reports stated that the Sheikh was in the custody of Nigerian Security Forces, the Controller of Kaduna Prisons stated otherwise. In a statement given on December 31st the Controller stated “we only have 191 followers of the Shi’ite leader in our custody. But we do not have their leader”. Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky is the leader of the Nigerian Zaria Shia community and a well-known public figure in Nigeria. Shia Rights Watch urges all parties to work together to confirm the whereabouts of Sheikh El-Zakzaky in order to work toward the restoration of justice in the aftermath of this unthinkable tragedy.
Unfortunately the year in Iraq ended the same way it started, with a barrage of bombings and shootings against Shia Muslims. In the final week of 2015 there were six attacks against Shia Muslims, killing 28 people. The most deadly attack came on December 26th when eight people were killed by an IED and gunfire. As the year closes Shia Rights Watch condemns the horrific actions of terrorist groups against Shia Muslims in Iraq and calls for greater measures of protection for this group and other vulnerable populations in the country.