Bahrain is stripping dissidents of their citizenship, and the U.S. is silent – The Washington Post

Another example of revocation being used to political ends:

The tiny island kingdom of Bahrain is increasingly turning to a particularly draconian tool of repression: stripping dissidents of their citizenship.

Rights activists say authorities have revoked the citizenship of 103 people so far this year, already more than in 2016. All were convicted of terrorism-related crimes in trials that rights activists say lacked due process and transparency.

The pace of citizenship revocations has increased amid an intensifying crackdown on opposition. And activists charge that the silence of the West, particularly the United States and Britain, has emboldened authorities to press ahead with more repressive measures than the kingdom has employed since the response to mass protests in 2011.

“There’s absolutely zero pressure for them to reform or do anything that’s less than repressive,” said Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and one of those deprived of his citizenship. That attitude was clear, he said, when President Trump reassured the king of Bahrain at a meeting in May that there would be no “strain” in their relationship.

“This was an indicator that human rights is absolutely not part of the U.S. interests,” Alwadaei said.

An official at the Bahraini Embassy in Britain said authorities revoke citizenship “in the aim of preserving security and stability while countering threats of terrorism.”

“Revoking citizenship is only done in accordance with the provisions of the law, in cases where the person involved were engaged in activities that has caused damage to the interest of the Kingdom and its national security,” the official said in an email, responding to questions on the condition of anonymity.

Bahrain, an archipelago in the Persian Gulf that is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, has a majority-Shiite population but is governed by a Sunni monarchy. In 2011, thousands of protesters demanding democratic reforms were met with a brutal crackdown and mass arrests. International pressure led to an inquiry that documented allegations of torture and violations by security forces, and recommended reforms.

But that pressure has largely evaporated, and the government has recently taken the crackdown to new lengths, dissolving political groups and the kingdom’s last independent newspaper. Many activists and opposition figures have been jailed, and security forces killed five protesters in a raid on a demonstration in May.

Source: Bahrain is stripping dissidents of their citizenship, and the U.S. is silent – The Washington Post

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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