France has condemned the Bahraini regime’s decision to dissolve the country’s largest leftist political party, the National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), stating that the measure which comes as part of the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty’s crackdown on dissent, prevents national reconciliation efforts in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
“The worsening tensions in Bahrain constitute a brake in the resumption of a broad political dialogue that encompasses all components of Bahraini society,” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal told reporters in a daily online briefing on Friday.
He added, “This dialogue is the only way to ensure national reconciliation.”
Bahrain’s Administrative Court ruled on May 31 to dissolve Wa’ad and hand over all its properties to the treasury.
Back in March, Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments accused Wa’ad of “incitement of acts of terrorism and promoting violent and forceful overthrow” of the Manama regime.
It also claimed that the political group “glorified convicted terrorists and saboteurs who used weapons and detonated bombs in killing and wounding several security [personnel], threatened citizens and residents’ safety and damaged private and public properties.”
Last year, Bahraini authorities dissolved the country’s main Shia opposition group, Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, as well as Islamic Enlightenment Society (Tawiya) and al-Risala Society.
On May 21, a Bahraini court convicted prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who is the spiritual leader of al-Wefaq, of illegal collection of funds and money laundering and sentenced him to one year in jail suspended for three years.
It also ordered the 77-year-old cleric to pay $265,266 in fines. The court ruling sparked widespread demonstrations across the kingdom.
Bahraini authorities stripped Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship on June 20, 2016. They later dissolved the Islamic Enlightenment Institution, founded by him, in addition to the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.