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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.


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