Amnesty: 32 Bahraini Dissidents Rounded Up within Days in Clampdown


Bahrain’s authorities have dramatically escalated their crackdown against perceived critics with 32 people summoned for questioning by the Public Prosecution within the past five days and charges brought against the majority of them, said Amnesty International, less than a week ahead of the country’s UN human rights review session in Geneva on 1 May.


In a report it released on Tuesday (April 25, 2017), Amnesty noted that those summoned include human rights defenders, political activists, lawyers, a journalist and relatives of victims of human rights violations, raising fears that they are being targeted as part of a deliberate attempt to stop them – and deter others – from criticizing Bahrain ahead of and during its upcoming review at the UN Human Rights Council.


“The intensified crackdown against Bahraini dissidents in recent days is highly alarming and exposes the shocking extremes to which Bahrain’s authorities are prepared to go to silence criticism of their human rights record,” said Samah Hadid  Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut Office.


“The timing, just a week before the examination of the country’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council, strongly suggests that this is part of a deliberate attempt to prevent peaceful critics from speaking out about the government’s record in Geneva.”


According to Hadid, the “charges against these individuals are baseless and are merely a ploy to punish human rights defenders and other peaceful critics for highlighting the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain. The world must not stand by as Bahrain continues with its calculated campaign to persecute human rights activists, political opponents and anyone else who dares to speak out about human rights.”


“The international community and in particular allies of Bahrain, such as the UK and USA, must urge the authorities to ensure that the charges are dropped and travel bans are lifted. Anyone who wishes to participate in Bahrain’s Human Rights Council session must be allowed to travel to Geneva,” Hadid concluded.


To read the full report, click here.