Revoking Nationality of Bahraini Opposition Figures is a "Frightening and Chilling" Decision

Press Release
November 7, 2012

Revoking Nationality of Bahraini Opposition Figures is a "Frightening and Chilling" Decision

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) – Amnesty International today condemned the Bahraini authorities’ “frightening and chilling” decision to strip 31 opposition figures, including politicians, activists and religious figures, of their Bahraini nationality.

A Ministry of Interior statement indicated that the group had their nationality revoked because they had caused “damage to state security.”

As a result of the ruling, those members of the group who only held Bahraini citizenship are now stateless.

“The authorities have provided the vaguest of reasons for the deprivation of nationality, which appears to have been taken on the basis of the victims’ political views,” said Philip Luther, director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Most worryingly, the authorities are making some in the group stateless. This, as well as any arbitrary deprivation of nationality, is prohibited under international law.

“We urgently call on the Bahraini authorities to rescind this frightening and chilling decision.”

The Ministry of Interior statement referred to Bahrain’s Citizenship Law, which “permits the revocation of nationality” by order of the King if a citizen “causes damage to state security.”

Among the 31 people sentenced are Jawad and Jalal Fairouz, who were previously arrested for allegedly participating in anti-government protests in 2011, and Ali Hassan Mshaima, the son of opposition activist and prisoner of conscience Hassan Mshaima.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.