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Shia Weekly News #40

Bahrain

In Bahrain the disregard for the rule of law by the Al-Khalifa regime continues as a Bahraini court revoked the citizenship of five Shia Muslims under charges of spying for Iran on November 5th. Officially the Bahraini court charged them with “spying for and seeking with Iran and its agents to carry out hostile acts against the kingdom”. These alleged attacks were supposedly directed at public facilities and banks.

Shia Rights Watch disputes the claims made by the Bahraini authorities and the sentence handed down to the men. Two of the five Shia Muslims who were on trial appeared in court on November 5th and stated that they were forced to confess under torture. Any confession made under duress cannot be considered valid. In addition to the violation of the right to a fair trial which in enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant On Civil and Political Rights, torture is a human rights violation as stated in the two previously named documents. Shia Rights Watch demands the immediate release of the Shia detained under these charges and demands that these charges are dropped.

On the same day that the previous life in prison sentences were handed down, Bahrain’s First High Criminal court sentenced 22 Shia Muslims to three years in prison over the peaceful demonstrations that occurred in Sitra in September. The court claimed that the defendants assaulted, in conjunction with other unknown suspects, a policeman and threatened to use violence to threaten public security.

Many of the claims made by the Bahraini authorities have yet to be substantiated. On the other hand, the excessive use of force by Bahraini Security Forces is well documented. Beatings and shootings of protestors have been documented by many human rights organizations, and the excessive use of tear gas was documented by Shia Rights Watch last year. Lastly the independence of the judiciary remains an issue of scrutiny. Shia Rights Watch demands the release of these activists immediately.

Pakistan

Yet another Shia business owner was shot and killed in Pakistan this week. On November 5th, terrorists from Ahl e Sunnat wal Jjama’at shot and killed shopkeeper Sadiq Ali in Quetta. Ali, who owns a mechanic shop, was shot in the head and sustained critical injuries before dying at the scene. Haji Muhammad Sadiq Ali was 66 years old and leaves behind a son and two daughters. The gunmen are still on the run and have yet to be identified. Shia Rights Watch condemns the actions committed by these terrorists and urges the Pakistani government to devote the necessary resources to investigating this crime.

Twenty Shia Muslims of the 50 who were detained on the 20th of Muharram in Islamabad were released on bail. The detainees were arrested during a Muharram procession which the local authorities did not sanction. This has been denounced as unjust as anti-Shia groups have been able to engage in processions in the city under the protection of the authorities. Shia Rights Watch demands the release of the remaining detainees and that the charges against them be dropped. This procession is an expression of the freedom of religion for Shia Muslims and it must be respected.

Saudi Arabia

Ministry of Public Health in Eastern Province announced open investigation for a Shia employee of a Hospital in Demam area.

A Shia Muslim custodian of the Women and Children Hospital in Eastern Province is under investigation after her phone prayer call application recited Shia call to prayer.  Ministry speak person stated they will announce her punishment after investigation in over.

Shia Muslim of Saudi Arabia have always been discriminated against. In fact many are unemployed due to systematic employment discrimination. Shia Rights Watch in concerned for the employment security of this female employee.  This NGO urges the Ministry of Health to respect freedom of religion of its employees.

Iraq

In addition to the scores of targeted bombings in Shia neighborhoods in Iraq, ISIS has blown up a number of houses belonging to displaced Shia Shabak Kurds in the village of Bazwaya which is east of Mosul on November 5th. At least 13 houses were bombed by the group   but no human casualties were reported. The situation on the grown for Kurds and Shia has been rapidly deteriorating as efforts to stop the terrorist group have stalled. Shia Rights Watch calls on the enhanced protection of vulnerable religious and ethnic groups in or near ISIS held territory.

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