Fourteen members of the British Parliament called on their country’s authorities to reconsider relations with Bahrain due to its deteriorating human rights record, calling for the need to pressure the Bahraini government to release political prisoners, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of their detention.
This came in an urgent message sent by British MPs to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, on Wednesday 17 March 2021.
The letter expressed criticism of 14 British MPs against the government for the continued support of Bahrain, despite its classification as one of the “priority countries for human rights”, for the United Kingdom.
The representatives who signed the letter affirmed that after a decade has passed, Bahrain is still practicing what they described as repression on dissent, while the British government continues to support the Bahrain regime, stressing the need to stop “blind support for violators of civil society rights simply to express their opinion, and to help Manama restore the state. Stable and reformatory with good human rights record ”.
Turn off blind support
Zara Sultana, an MP for the British Labor Party, who wrote the letter, said: “As we approach the tenth anniversary of the arrest of activists and political leaders in Bahrain for their participation in pro-democracy protests, we, the undersigned, are writing to draw attention once again to the continuing suppression of democracy and political opposition in Bahrain. the two seas”.
Sultana added, “It is time to withdraw from blind support for those who violate civil society just to express an opinion,” noting that she wrote a similar letter and sent it to Bahrain last month.
British MPs called for the immediate and unconditional release of the opposition leaders detained in Bahrain, including: Hassan Mushaima, Abdul Wahhab Hussain, Abdul Hadi Al Khawaja, Abdul Jalil Singace, Muhammad Habib Al-Miqdad, Abdul Jalil Al-Miqdad, Saeed Mirza Al-Nuri, Sheikh Ali Salman, and those accused on charges of communicating with countries And incitement to murder and vandalism of property, according to those accusations.
Jeremy Corbyn, the former British Labor Party leader, was among the signatories to the letter, as well as Labor MP Diane Abbott, as well as the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Duffy.
This comes at a time when leaked documents have been highlighted that show that the British Foreign Secretary stated that the United Kingdom will conclude trade deals with a country, regardless of whether it has poor human rights records.
He said, in a phone call the contents of which were leaked to the British media, that he had hoped that establishing commercial relations with such countries and preserving these relations would have a “positive impact” on their human rights records, adding: “We do not get rid of full relations because we have problems. . We are having a conversation because we want to change the behavior. ”
Site British Middle East Eye, Friday 19 March 2021, He explained that since the outbreak of the Arab Spring revolutions in 2011, which saw protesters march in pro-democracy demonstrations in the Gulf state, Bahrain’s Sunni princes have launched a comprehensive crackdown against opposition groups and human rights activists.
Europe condemns Bahrain’s violations
It is noteworthy that a few days ago, the European Union expressed its deep concern about what it described as the miserable deterioration of the human rights situation in Bahrain, pointing to the continuing penalties, arbitrary arrests, prosecutions and harassment of human rights defenders.
On March 11, 2021, the European Parliament adopted a draft resolution condemning human rights violations in Bahrain, after it was voted on by an overwhelming majority.
Where 633 deputies out of 689 supported the draft resolution condemning the increase in the use of the death penalty, the continued use of torture against detainees, and the persecution of human rights defenders in Bahrain.
The European Parliament also called on Bahrain to quickly stop the impending death sentences against 26 prisoners, and condemned the continued use of torture against detainees and the persecution of human rights defenders, stressing that “the human rights situation in the country continues to worsen.”
Escalation of repression in Bahrain
It is noteworthy that “Human Rights Watch” said, in its global report 2021, that In 2020, the Bahraini authorities stepped up their crackdown For online activities and social media, and prosecuted critics for peaceful expression, and courts upheld death sentences against opposition activists after unfair trials, despite promises by the country’s princes to enact real reforms.
The Court of Cassation, the court of last resort in Bahrain, upheld the death penalty against at least four people who participated in opposition activities after trials marred by allegations of torture and due process violations, according to Human Rights Watch, which pointed out that there are at least 27 people in the country awaiting execution. Death sentence, of whom 26 face imminent risk of execution.
“The Bahraini authorities are using the many tools of repression at their disposal to silence and punish anyone who criticizes the government,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. Bahrain stepped up its use of the death penalty, targeted people for their activism on social media, and denied prominent opposition figures medical treatment while in detention.
Bahrain also prosecuted several public figures only because of its social media posts, especially since the Ministry of Interior announced, in May 2019, that it would prosecute people who follow “inflammatory accounts” or share their posts on “Twitter”.
Independent media has not been permitted to operate in Bahrain since the Ministry of Information Affairs suspended Al-Wasat newspaper, the country’s only independent newspaper, in 2017.