Human Rights Watch (HRW) has expressed deep concern over the high number of citizenship revocations in Bahrain, condemning the ruling Al Khalifah regime’s heavy-handed crackdown on political dissidents and rights activist in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
UN Advocate at the HRW office in Geneva Laila Matar told Arabic-language Lualua television network on Saturday that the international organization had recorded 133 cases of citizenship revocation in Bahrain last year, noting that the move came in response to the victims’ criticism of the Manama regime.
Matar added that Human Rights Watch was gravely concerned about military trials for civilians.
“We don’t believe trying civilians should be in whether civil or military courts, because there is a problem with fair trial procedures in both courts,” she said.
On March 5, the Consultative Council, the upper house of the Bahraini Parliament, voted for the measure less than two weeks after it was approved by the Council of Representatives, the lower house.
The move saw Manama manipulating part of its constitution, which defines the identities of those who can stand trial at such courts.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.
Manama has spared no effort to clamp down on the dissent and rights activists. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Manama government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown on anti-regime activists.