Tensions run high in Bahrain as 17 are sentenced to imprisonment. Sources report, Bahraini forces used excessive force and shot at groups of youth in peaceful protest. Of the 17, five were sentenced to life in prison, three were sentenced to 10 years (each) in detainment. Eight were revoked of citizenship.
Earlier in May, Bahraini court sentenced Shaikh Isa Qasim to a suspended year long term in Bahraini jail. Protests following Qasim’s arrest have resulted in the arrest of 286 and the death of five. Protestors were assembled in a peaceful sit in around Qasims home to prevent police from entering the home.
The struggle for recognition in Bahrain has been long and hard. Since the Arab Spring of 2011, Shia Muslims of Bahrain have stood against the tyranny of a minority government. Although their efforts remain free of international support, protestors have stood by their words and have given their all in the struggle for freedom. Protestors demand equal rights to their non-Shia counterparts and representation within the government.
Bahrain is a majority Shia nation led by a minority non-Shia government. With Saudi support, the Bahraini government has limited and undermined its Shia population and ignored all efforts for organized discourse.
Fears of increased violence towards the opposition exist after the newfound authority and arms given to Saudi Arabia by the United States President. Sources claim, since the recent Arms deal, increased force has been used in the targeting of Shia Muslims in gulf countries.
Shia Rights Watch calls for increased international attention on the case of Bahrain. Further, SRW asks the Bahraini government to refrain from violence towards protestors and demands grounds for dialogue and discourse.