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Shia News Wire #52

01/23 to 01/29/16

Saudi Arabia

On Friday January 29th, a Shia mosque was targeted by two gunmen wearing suicide belts in yet another

anti-Shia rampage. Early reports are confirming at least two people were killed and seven injured at the

Imam Rida mosque in Mahasen, Saudi Arabia, however this number may rise. According to witnesses at

the scene, one attacker detonated himself in the mosque while the other opened fire. The second

gunman was prevented from detonating his suicide vest by mosque attendees. The Friday prayer which

was the subject of the attack was targeted for holding a memorial service for Sheikh Nimr, the Shia cleric

who was executed by the Saudi government at the beginning of the month for his peaceful resistance to

the regime. Mohammed al-Nimr, sheikh Nimr’s brother was in attendance at the mosque at the time of

the attack and expressed his worries that the death toll may rise. Video of the aftermath of the attack

has circulated the internet and it shows numerous worshippers bloody and either laying on the ground

in pain or fleeing the scene. A responsible party for these attacks has yet to emerge but it is highly likely

that this was perpetrated by ISIS who has attacked numerous Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia in 2014 and

2015. Shia Rights Watch strongly condemns this attacks and call for a full investigation and for the

responsible parties to be brought to justice.


News has emerged of the torturing of a prisoner of conscience in Azerbaijan at the end of 2015. A

Eurasian news agency has reported that Shia Muslim theologian Taleh Bagirov was subjected to “severe

torture” during his detention at the Main Directorate for the Struggle with Organized Crime which is run

by the country’s interior ministry. Exact details on his torture are unknown but it is known that he

suffered a broken nose. Bagirov was one of the prisoners who were arrested in the November 26th raid

which we reported a few months ago and it currently awaiting trial. Shia Rights Watch condemns the

maltreatment of Taleh Bagirov during his detention and seeing as how he committed no crime, calls for

The overreach of the Bahraini judicial system has continued as a court in the island nation gave an

additional 15 year sentence to 57 prisoners at the Jaw prison who were involved in a mutiny in March

2015. Of the prisoners, the court revoked the citizenship of 23 of them and fined two of them 200,000

dinars ($530,000). This is a clear example of a judicial system that lacks due process. These steep

sentences, fines, and the revocation of citizenship is a punishment that far outweighs the crime. Shia

Rights Watch calls for the immediate reversal of this decision.


The actions of the Bahraini government in 2015 have come under increased scrutiny and that has

emanated from two of the largest human rights NGOs in the world. This past week, both Human Rights

Watch and Amnesty International have highlighted the poor human rights record of the country.

Amnesty International mentioned that the Bahraini authorities continue to silence the opposition

through unnecessary for and continue to torture detainees. Human Rights Watch in their annual report

stated that “the torture of detainees continued due to the failure of authorities to implement effectively

recommendations for combating torture” such recommendations were put forth by the Bahrain

Independent Commission of Inquiry in 2011. Overall they wrote that the abuses occurring in the country

“points out the ineffectiveness of institutions established by the state since 2011 to safeguard detainees

and the persistent failure of authorities to hold officials accountable for torture and other serious rights

violations. The time has come for Bahrain’s actions on human rights to live up to its commitment to

In the wake of the Zaria Shia massacre, many questions are left unanswered and the Islamic Movement

of Nigeria has pressed the government for answers. This week the group published a list of members

who had gone missing following the attack. This extensive list contains 705 names. Should the worse

that people expect come to fruition, this would drastically raise the official casualty list for this attack.

The government has launched an investigation but it has come under immense scrutiny from the Shia

community both in Nigeria and around the world. Shia Rights Watch is calling for an independent

investigation of this incident to bring the truth to the light and restore the faith of the Shia community in

the country’s democracy. For the full list of names missing, visit the link below.

Shia News Wire #51


A Shia Muslim Chemistry teacher is being hailed as a hero today in Pakistan for his efforts to protect his students during a deadly terrorist attack. Syed Hamid Hussain, an assistant professor of chemistry at the Bacha Khan University of Charsadda, attacked three Taliban gunmen as they approached his classroom and made it possible for his students to escape. According to student accounts, Hussain first ordered his students to stay inside the classroom and as the Taliban gunmen approached the department he jumped out of the classroom and shot at them before being killed. The students used this opportunity to escape the school. At least 21 people would be killed in this school near the city of Peshawar. Peshawar is the site of another deadly terrorist attack at a military school that killed over 100 children.



Since the beginning of the year, Bahrain has sentenced numerous political dissidents to staggering jail sentences and this week was no different. News has emerged from the island kingdom on January 17th that since the beginning of the year, 82 Bahrainis from the village of Bilad Al-Qadeem were sentenced to a total of 911 years in prison. This includes 45 prisoners who are serving more than five years each. Notable Shia opposition clerics are among those sentenced such as Sheikh Ali Salman, Sheikh Abdul Jalil Al-Moqdad, Sheikh Mohammed Habib Al-Miqdad and Sheikh Mizra Al- Mahroos.

Later in the week on January 20th, news emerged that the High Criminal Court of Manama sentenced 17 year old Ahmad al-Arab to an additional 10 years in prison on charges of protesting the regime and alleged terror acts, raising his total sentence to 130 years in prison. Furthermore the court has ruled that Ahmad Al-Arab will be stripped of his citizenship upon release, when his is 147 years old. Charges of protesting the regime and terror acts are charges regularly handed down to political dissidents in an attempt to intimidate protestors who voice their discontent with the ruling government.

On the same day, the High Criminal Court of Bahrain sentenced 23 people to 10 years in prison each over their alleged involvement in an attack on security forces and unlawful assembly in the village of Bani Jamra. According to Bahraini media, the accused detonated explosives that were intended to kill members of the security forces.

Shia Rights Watch strongly condemns the systematic oppression of Shia Muslims in the country. The encroachment upon the free speech and assembly of Bahraini citizens through unlawful detainment displays character that is out of line with the standards of the international community. The time has come for the release of all political prisoners and an independent review of government and police practices against Shia Muslims.

Shia News Wire #50


ISIS continued to terrorize Shia Muslims in 2016 when gunmen stormed the al-Jawhara shopping center in New Baghdad on January 11th. The two assailants began shooting and when security forces entered the mall to confront them, they detonated their explosive vests. In total, 18 people were killed in this Shia majority area.

Almost simultaneously, another bomb detonated at a tea shop in the town of Muqdadiya 50 miles north of Baghdad. In this incident, 20 people were killed. Later in the day, a car bomb exploded in south-eastern Baghdad which killed five civilians.

While no group initially claimed responsibility for these attacks, ISIS would later post a message online that stated that they had targeted the “rejectionist heathens” through these attacks.

On January 14th further attacks were carried out against the Shia community around Baghdad and 10 civilians were killed. The first attack involved the detonation of an improvised explosive device which killed two and injured four others in the town of Taji.

More explosions and shootings occurred in the areas of Sheikh Omar, Hussainiyah, al-Jihad, Shaab, and Latifiyah.

Unfortunately rather than slowing down, the attacks against Shia Muslims has increased. Shia Rights Watch condemns these attacks and calls for greater protection of the Shia community in the face of this renewed violence.



On January 12th, gunmen attacked a Shia religious center in Sitra. Gunmen drove by the Al-Marzouq Hussainia hall and fired upon it and quickly sped off. Nobody was killed in this incident and the gunmen have yet to be identified or apprehended. Shia Rights Watch condemns these actions against the Bahraini Shia community and calls for greater protection for Shia Muslims at their places of worship.

January 14th marks the start of Sheikh Ali Salman’s trial and Shia Rights Watch reiterates its call for his release. The Sheikh was arrested on December 28, 2014 and charged with attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers. As the leader of the main opposition group, this trial is yet another way for the Bahraini government to stifle dissent within its borders.

In a new report published by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, 42 citizens (including 5 children) were arrested in the first week of 2016. Of these 42 citizens, 43% of them were arrested during a police crackdown on a rally to show solidarity with Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who was executed on New Year’s Day. In addition to the arrests, the Bahraini judicial system sentenced three people to life in prison and six others received a total of 30 and a half years in prison. Shia Rights Watch condemns the excessive nature of the Bahraini security forces and judicial system. A top-down reform of law enforcement needs to be conducted immediately.



The nine Shia lawmakers in Kuwait’s parliament boycotted the national assembly on January 13th and 14th due to growing anti-Shiism among the assembly. The lawmakers cite accusations made by their colleagues saying that they are agents of Iran and members of Hezbollah. In addition to accusations made by their colleagues, the Shia members state that a recent judicial decision to convict 22 individuals including an Iranian national. The Iranian national was charged with recruiting Kuwaiti nationals to travel to Lebanon to fight with Hezbollah. This trial has been condemned by many for being flawed as it is likely the confessions obtained from the defendants came after torture from security forces.


Shia News Wire #49

Sheikh Nimr

As 2016 begins, the aftermath of Sheikh Nimr’s execution has been an overwhelming concern of the human rights community and the Shia community. Since the execution last week, there have been protests around the world, in some places these occurred daily. In Saudi Arabia, the place of Sheikh Nimr’s execution, daily protests have condemned the regime’s actions. Shia protesters in the eastern province have continued the work of Sheikh Nimr by calling for greater freedoms for the Shia community in the country. In Bangladesh, the Shia community has staged demonstrations condemning the actions of the Saudi government. Around the world, the Shia community has staged peaceful demonstrations to show solidarity with the Saudi Shia community and condemn Shiekh Nimr’s execution.



In Fawkner, Melbourne, the more than 1000 member Shia community has been denied access to the Imam Ali Islamic Center and roughly 150 worshipers were subsequently forced to pray in the adjacent street. Following a dispute with the local council, the prayer hall was rendered inaccessible to the mosque attendants. The local council cited fire safety deficiencies in its decision to restrict access to the Islamic Center however the Shia community leaders stated that they were given insufficient time to rectify such issues. Shia Rights Watch urges both parties to quickly negotiate a settlement to return access of the center to the Shia community. Such a closure interferes in the free worship of the Melbourne Shia community.




The targeted assassinations of Shia shopkeepers has continued in Pakistan as Naveed Haider, 22 was shot and killed on Sarki Road in Quetta. In addition to Naveed Haider’s death, his brother Javeed Haider, 24, was also showt and is currently critically injured. According to reports, the assailants belong to Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jammat (ASWJ) however they have yet to be identified or apprehended. Despite recent arrests by the Pakistani government of such terrorists, the actions have continued and Shia Rights Watch urges that more be done to protect the Shia community.



The Bahraini government has heightened its anti-Shiism following the execution of Sheikh Nimr. In addition to cutting diplomatic relations with Iran, it has worked to crush any dissent internally relating to the execution. Reports have surfaced saying that Bahraini Security forces have arrested Sheikh Ahmad al-Jidhafsi who is a senior Shia cleric after he attended rallies condemning the execution. This follows a year of tremendous onslaught from the Bahraini government against the majority Shia community. Shia Rights Watch condemns this arrests and calls for the release of all detained political prisoners.


Shia News Wire #48


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.

#Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimer al Nimer

Shia Rights Watch expresses it deepest sorrow after Saudi Arabia executed another pro-democracy Shia advocate.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Saudi vocal advocate was executed along with other 47 Shia Muslims early Saturday, according to Saudi officials. He was shot and arrested after the 2011 uprise in this country.

Although Sheikh and many others were executed due to their pro-democracy and equality wishes, Saudi accused them as terrorists.

Execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr is a clear message that the Saudi kingdom is not taking promised steps towards equality in this country” says Mustafa Akhwand, the director of SRW. Hundreds of Saudi Shia are being punished because they want to have access to their basic rights of human dignity, yet Saudi  Arabia kills them under the umbrella of “terror activity”, Akhwand continued. Such behavior and the world’s inability to take action is a strong sign of weak international leadership.


Incidents of Anti-Shiism in December 2015


This report will analyze the data compiled on Shia deaths, injuries, and arrests that occurred between December 1st and December 31st.  December has been a relatively low risk month for Shia around the world with the exception of the massacre in Nigeria.  The attacks towards Shia stretched from Nigeria to Pakistan and they were focused in 6 countries.  Iraq, like the previous months, had a constant rate of Shia killings.  A total of 549 deaths of Shia were officially reported and 106 were wounded.  For this report we used the most conservative estimate of the Nigeria massacre which was reported between 300-1000 deaths.  The data for this report was gathered from a variety of different sources. The most well-known incidents of anti-Shiism were retrieved from stories that are reported to Shia Rights Watch by eyewitnesses. Each incident is thoroughly evaluated for both authenticity and relevance. For an incident to be included in this report it has to show clear intent to target Shia Muslims on the basis of religious beliefs. The subsequent sections will present and analyze the data gathered by Shia Rights Watch for December.

Where have Shia Muslims been targeted? 

Shia Rights Watch_December_1

In December, Shia Muslims were victims in six countries: Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Azerbaijan. There were a total of 549 Shia deaths this month, 106 wounded, 65 arrests and one Shia was sentenced to death.  One major event happened this month that devastated all human rights activists and the Shia communities around the world: the massacre in Nigeria which is officially reported with 300 deaths, but many credible sources believe the number is closer to 1000.


Compared to last month there has been a %58 decrease of death tolls in Iraq.  The December deaths and casualties in Iraq shows that Iraq continues to be the most persistent and continuous high risk country for Shias. The number of injuries in December are half of November’s.  This month, like the month before, the city of Baghdad had the highest number of Shia killed.  IEDs and gunfire are the most common reason of deaths in Baghdad.  ISIS is still the main responsible group for these killings.  The lower number of bombings and deaths in Baghdad is believed to be connected to the mass anti-ISIS campaign in Ramadi which has been challenging ISIS worriers and gaining their attention for this battlefield.


In the middle of December, we witnessed the most brutal massacre of Shia in Nigeria.  This massacre was executed by the Nigerian National Army.  Many observers believe the death toll is near 1000.  Official reports confirm at least 300 dead.  There is an immense lack of clarity regarding the number of casualties and deaths because every other day mass graves are being discovered and the Nigerian National Army arrests activists and reporters who investigate this incident.  The Human Rights Watch has confirmed that the Nigerian National Army buried all the bodies without the permission of family members.  The leader of the Shia in Nigeria, Sheikh Zakzaky, was heavily beaten and injured during this raid.  He is currently arrested and there are many reports about the lack of proper health care for him.  Shia Rights Watch is deeply concerned about the continuous assaults on Shia in Nigeria and their lack of basic human rights.

Shia Rights Watch_December_2


A bomb has been exploded in the central market of the predominantly-Shia city of Parachinar in Pakistan’s sprawling tribal belt.  At least 23 were killed and many wounded.  There is no official data for the number of the wounded but the police announced at least 23 bodies were identified.  There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but Pakistani security agencies believe it comes within the context of ongoing Sunni-Shia sectarian violence that has claimed thousands of lives across Pakistan over the last three decades.


Since last month (November 2015) there has been an ongoing cycle of assaults against the Shia of Azerbaijan.  The population of Azerbaijan is %85 Shia, and although the country is secular and relatively safe, the government does not tolerate any kind of religious activity that expressed any level of criticism towards the President.  Azerbaijan’s Interior Minister, Ramil Usubov, said that the Shia had been targeted in the eastern village of Nardaran for allegedly plotting a coup against the government.  He mentioned that 5 Shia (members of the Movement for Muslim Unity) were killed and 32 were arrested.  Azerbaijan’s parliament has been debating a law to ban the display of flags honoring the martyred Shia Imam Hussein on streets and also prohibiting those Azerbaijanis who have received religious education abroad from performing religious ceremonies.  The incidents in Azerbaijan are extremely concerning for the Shia Rights Watch, since the government does not allow any independent human rights organization to operate and investigate in that country.  We believe that Shia of Azerbaijan will face more human rights abuse since this country has been under the radar and does not receive any coverage regarding its human rights abuse.

Shia Rights Watch_December_3

Saudi Arabia

Abdullah al-Zaher, the youngest person currently sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, has been sentenced to death by the Saudi court.  Zaher, who is 19 years old now, was just 15 when he was arrested after attending an anti-government demonstration.  He was sentenced to be beheaded.  There is still no information about the date of the execution.  Many human rights organizations condemned his trial and believe it was unfair and flawed.  His father believes that Zaher was forced to confess to crimes he did not commit and he was denied the right to consult with a lawyer or with his family.


The Bahrain Human Rights Society (BHRS) said that the Bahraini authorities arbitrarily arrested 13 citizens during the first week of December.  Meanwhile A Bahraini court sentenced a Shia citizen to death and jailed 22 others for life for forming a “terrorist group”.  The court also revoked the citizenships of the 23 convicts and some sources said that they were tried in absentia.


Although the number of Shia deaths and assaults in December has been almost the same as the previous months of 2015, the level and type of December’s assaults have been immensely worrisome.  The Nigeria massacre has shocked many around the world, since it has been one of a kind in the recent history of Nigeria.  The maltreatment of Shia communities in Nigeria and taking away their basic human rights is the start of a horrific cycle of violence and religious intolerance.  The incidents in Azerbaijan are also important, not by number, but by the context of the assaults.  It is highly expected that the government of Azerbaijan will increase its raids on Shia ceremonies and most likely we will observe more violence and systematic intolerance against Shia activists in Azerbaijan.  In Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia although the number of anti Shia incidents were significant, they were not surprising to us compared to the previous months of 2015.   The lack of a clear and just judiciary procedure in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia remains a highly sensitive issue for the Shia Rights Watch, and the recent advances in Iraq by the Iraqi government in liberating Ramadi gives us hope to see less violent activities in the Capital city against the Shia Muslims.

Bahrain Finishes up 2015 by Sentencing Shia, Revoking Citizenship and Penalizing Them

On the final hours of 2015, a Shia Bahraini citizen was sentenced to death and 22 others were detained in the Sunni-ruled nation. Further, their citizenship were revoked in addition to being forced to pay 200,000 dinars in fines.

The unjust prosecution of the Bahraini government continue and even escalate in extent. Shia Rights Watch (SRW) condemn the inhumane actions of the gulf nation and demand a just examination of the aforementioned cases, along with others still on trial. SRW also calls on the international community to shed light on the happenings of Bahrain and demands equal rights for all Bahraini citizens, Shia and Sunni alike.

Shia News Wire #47


Over the past week the Shia community has continued to reel from the news about the mass killing of Shia Muslims in Zaria city in Nigeria. Although the Nigerian military is maintaining its innocence, new reports and evidence are showing the malicious actions of the Nigerian armed forces. The military spokesman claimed that no people were killed by the army but that has been categorically proven false. Africa director for Human Rights Watch states that for the military “at best it was a brutal overreaction and at worst it was a planned attack on the minority Shia group”.

On December 21, the Nigerian army bulldozed an Islamic center, Hussainiyyah Baqeeyatollah, belonging to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). The demolition was with hopes to reduce congregation of IMN members and to reduce the spread of Shia beliefs in the area. In recent years, shia Islam has seen a fast expansion, reaching a population of 4 million. This expansion has been under the leadership of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, an open critic of Nigerians corruption and human rights violations. Since his abduction, Sheikh Zakzaky has yet to be heard from. However, the governor of Kundana State has announced that the Sheikh will be “prosecuted for any crimes that he may have committed”.

Rallies and protests have continued to emerge around the world from New York to Karachi. A Nigerian military attempt to investigate the situation has been denounced by the international community, including Shia Rights Watch. As details emerge surrounding the atrocity, Shia Rights Watch urges a fair and impartial investigation by an independent body.


A recently released report by the Bahrain Human Rights Society provided new details on aggression by Bahraini security forces in the first week of December. According to the group there were 23 sit-ins by protestors, and 25 peaceful protests. These actions were met with 18 incidents of violence by security forces in 14 villages. A total of thirteen citizens were arrested this week. Shia Rights Watch condemns the actions of the Bahraini Security Forces and calls for an independent review into the actions of these forces.

Saudi Arabia

This past week the Saudi Judiciary issued a decree to release Iranian Hajj pilgrim Gholam-Reza Momayez after they unjustly detained him for 75 days. Momayez was detained by Saudi authorities for criticizing the Saudi government’s handling of the hajj stampede that occurred earlier this year in which anywhere between one and five thousand people were killed, including almost 500 Iranians. While Momayez will be released soon, this governmental overreach is clearly designed to clamp down on dissent by both citizens and visitors.


Pakistani security forces claimed that they arrested 24 militants connected with the systematic murder of Shia Muslims throughout the country. Most of the arrests occurred in Karachi, where terrorist groups have carried out targeted assassinations against Shia shopkeepers and intellectuals. Shia Rights Watch recognizes this a start to restoring justice to Shia communities however much more needs to be done.


As the year closes on the country with the largest number of violations against Shia Muslims, Iraq has witnessed yet another attack on a Shrine. As mortar shells were fired upon the Imam Hassan al- Askari Shrine in Samarra. This attack would injure seven people in the area. ISIS claimed responsibility for this attack yet nobody has been taken into custody in connection with this attack. Shia Rights Watch continues to call for greater protection for the Shia community in the country in their communities and their places of worship.

Three of the shells hit the al-Qalah area, and one shell detonated 700 meters from the Shrine.

In must be mentioned that the shrine was also attacked in 2006, resulting in the shrines demolition but no injuries. It took until 2009 to repair the collapsed golden dome; however until today tourism has been limited due to possible dangers.


Shia Weekly News #46


The casualties of Iraq in the past week have been over 60 deaths, explosions ranging in location from Diyala, Nahrawan, Abu Ghraib, Madain, Latifiya, Al-Amin, and Al-Obaidi neighborhoods of Baghdad. The bombings have been consequent, killing civilians daily.
Bombings have been prominently in popular civilian hubs, targeting people women, children and noncompetitive populations.

It is worth noting that up to December 16, a total of 410 civilians have been killed in Iraq.


On December 13, a bomb placed in an oil tin in a crowded market located in Parachinar, a predominantly shia populated town in northwest Pakistan resulting in the death of 23.  While no responsibilities have been claimed, security agencies do believe this attack to be a continuum of anti-Shia violence present in Pakistan.


Gunfire targets Ab- Abd Al-Saleh Mosque in southwest neighborhood of Al-Hemla in Manama Bahrain on December 16, 2015. despite not having exact reports of injured worshippers, the Jaafaria Endowment Administration (WAQF) have said they have in their possession surveillance of the perpetrators and their vehicle.

In addition, Bahraini security forces have continued their violent anti-Shia arrest rampage this week when they arrested Layla Abdulnabi after she was sentenced to six months in the Jaw prison. Abdulnabi’s sentence was for her participation in demonstrations against police assault after one of her family members was attacked by them. This raises the number of detained Bahraini women to five. Shia Rights Watch calls for the immediate release of Layla Abdulnabi as she was only exercising the right to voice her opinion. On the other hand, and investigation should be carried out to uncover the culture of brutality rampant within the Bahraini security forces.


On Saturday December 12, armed Nigerian soldiers opened fire in the Hussainiyyah Baqeeyatollah of Zaria, Nigeria. In the same weekend, raids and crackdowns on the Shia community in the same area killed hundreds of innocent civilians. In addition, a total of seven notables in the community were abducted by the armed forces, included Shaikh Ibraheem Zakzaky. Associated Press has confirmed a total of 1000 deaths in this atrocious act.

Three days after attack, the bodies of the dead were taken from the mortuary of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital and buried in a mass grave by the Nigerian army. Access to the graves and the deceased has been highly limited by the army to the public and families, thus limiting an exact death count. The Nigerian government is depriving its Shia citizens the right to commemorate their loved ones.

The whereabouts of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky remains unknown after his detainment. It has been however reported that while detained, Zakzaky suffered a total of four bullet wounds.

In response to the mentioned atrocious events, the African Union and the United Nations were called upon to question the Nigerian membership and asked to push for release of detainees.

In addition, Shia Rights Watch (SRW) has expressed its concern for the Nigerian Shia populations after said attacks, as shia comprise a minority population in the nation and have called upon General Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations to call personally assign and oversee an investigation committee to the events of Nigeria.

Through participation in a political briefings in regards to Nigeria on the 18th of December at the UMAA national headquarters, and presentation in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC and the Nigerian consulate of New York City, SRW is working to demand information in regards to the mass graves as well  as working to implement justice and rights for all minority groups in the region.

Saudi Arabia

The human rights violations committed by the Saudi government continue to rise as the year comes to a close. This time the Saudi judicial system has called for the beheading of 19 year old Abdullah al-Zaher. The 19 year old was arrested in March 2012 when he was 15 for participating in a protest in the Shia-majority Qatif province. Zaher was charged with harboring protestors, participating in demonstrations, setting fire to a car, and throwing Moltov cocktails. While the courts said they received a confession from Zaher, his father noted that this statement came under the threat of torture.

The trial and sentencing of Abdullah al-Zaher is a violation of due process and would constitute as cruel and unusual punishment. What is occurring in Saudi Arabia should stand out to the world as a shortcoming of human rights. With 151 executions so far this year, Saudi Arabia is only behind Iran and China as countries with the most executions. For a young man to endure this punishment is appalling and Shia Rights Watch calls for Zaher’s release.

The human rights violations committed by the Saudi government continue to rise as the year comes to a close. This time the Saudi judicial system has called for the beheading of 19 year old Abdullah al-Zaher. The 19 year old was arrested in March 2012 when he was 15 for participating in a protest in the Shia-majority Qatif province. Zaher was charged with harboring protestors, participating in demonstrations, setting fire to a car, and throwing Moltov cocktails. While the courts said they received a confession from Zaher, his father noted that this statement came under the threat of torture.


In four videos released by ISIS, the group threatened to carry out attacks against Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. In addition to this, the group urged all of its members to kill all Shia Muslims in the two countries. In addition to denouncing Shia Muslims as unbelievers, the video denounced the Saudi regime stating that they are loyal to the west and do not follow the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab. It called on all Saudi soldiers to quit military service and carry out the group’s message. Shia Rights Watch calls for the protection of Shia Muslims in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia from potential attacks by this terrorist group.


UN Complaint