Revoking Citizenships: the Silent Execution


The Bahraini regime used stripping of nationality as an instrument to punish the political opponents since the last century. The first time it was used was in 1954 when a national leader, Abdul-Rahman Al-Bakir, was stripped of his Bahraini nationality for his political activities against the authorities. He was deported along with a number of opposition figures to the Saint Helena Island in the south of the Atlantic Ocean. Whilst in the sixties and seventies, the Bahraini regime refused to renew the passports of a number of political opponents residing or studying abroad, and did not allow them to return to the country. This continued into the eighties whereby hundreds of citizens with Persian heritage were forcibly deported to Iran and had their nationalities denied.

At the start of 2001 during the launch of the National Action Charter, the authorities intended to appease large parts of the nation and meet demands set out in regard to those that had been stripped of nationality. Nationality was indeed returned, but only to some. This resulted in many returning to Bahrain hopeful of stability after the agreement by the population to the National Action Charter, whilst the ones that remained outside were continually pressured but at a lower intensity.

This pressure continued with the rise of the Arab Spring in Bahrain in February 2011, where a vast and varied percentage of the Bahraini population moved to push for democracy, which was accompanied by serious human rights violations; arrests, torture, abuse, unfair trials, and arbitrary revoking of citizenships.

The full report: Revoking Citizenship: The Silent Execution