The Australia-based Gulf Institute for Democracy & Human Rights (GDHR) launched on Monday (October 17, 2016), its report on the citizenship revocation in Bahrain, entitled, “Revocation of Citizenships: The Silent Execution.”
The English political philosopher John Locke argues that “men are naturally free and equal as part of the justification for understanding legitimate political government as the result of a social contract where people in the state of nature conditionally transfer some of their rights to the government in order to better ensure the stable, comfortable enjoyment of their lives, liberty, and property.” He believes, also, that “governments exist by the consent of the people in order to protect their rights.”
Unfortunately, some governments still treats their citizens as if they are subjects in a society run by Tribal rule, whereby the ruler and his tribe control all the wealth of the country and enjoy special rights and no responsibilities. On the other hand, they pillage the citizens’ legitimate rights and deprive them of their basic freedoms. These governments impose specific and contrary laws on its citizens and dispose of certain common laws without legal justifications – as is currently the situation in Bahrain.
On the 7th November 2012, the Bahraini authorities passed a decision to strip 31 Bahraini citizens of their nationalities. The decision was aired on Bahrain’s national television channel and on Bahrain’s News Agency website, before the decisions of revoking citizenships came successively.
This report will attempt to explore the historical background, the rationale behind, and the consequences of these decisions.
The Bahraini regime used stripping of nationality as an instrument to punish the political opponents since the last century. The first time it was used was in 1954 when a national leader, Abdul-Rahman Al-Bakir, was stripped of his Bahraini nationality for his political activities against the authorities. He was deported along with a number of opposition figures to the Saint Helena Island in the south of the Atlantic Ocean. Whilst in the sixties and seventies, the Bahraini regime refused to renew the passports of a number of political opponents residing or studying abroad, and did not allow them to return to the country. This continued into the eighties whereby hundreds of citizens with Persian heritage were forcibly deported to Iran and had their nationalities denied.
At the start of 2001 during the launch of the National Action Charter, the authorities intended to appease large parts of the nation and meet demands set out in regard to those that had been stripped of nationality. Nationality was indeed returned, but only to some. This resulted in many returning to Bahrain hopeful of stability after the agreement by the population to the National Action Charter, whilst the ones that remained outside were continually pressured but at a lower intensity.
This pressure continued with the rise of the Arab Spring in Bahrain in February 2011, where a vast and varied percentage of the Bahraini population moved to push for democracy, which was accompanied by serious human rights violations; arrests, torture, abuse, unfair trials, and arbitrary revoking of citizenships.
Alleged Rationales behind the Decision of Revocation:
On November 7, 2012, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) published the statement of Bahrain Ministry of Interior in which 31 Bahraini citizens were stripped of their nationalities because they “are resulting in damage to the security of the state”, according to the statement.
On August 6, 2014, the fourth Instance of the High Criminal Court stripped nine accused after convicting them of forming and joining a terrorist group, and training and receiving training on use of weapons and explosives.
In the Appeals Court hearing on January 27 2015, the decision to strip the above nine citizens of their nationality was cancelled by a court ruling because of the occurrence of the alleged acts before the amendments to the “Anti-terrorism Act”, which allows for the deprivation of nationality in case of conviction.
On September 29, 2014, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported that the Public Prosecution-based General Attorney Ahmed Mohammed Al-Hamadi said that the Fourth Grand Criminal Court has issued a verdict today sentencing nine people to life in prison and stripping them of the Bahraini nationality.
On November 20, 2014, a Bahraini court sentenced three Bahrainis to 10 years in prison and revoked their nationalities. They were accused of involvement in the “explosion that occurred in Al-Akr Town”.
The Bahraini regime attempted to disguise the facts by revoking the citizenships of about 50 opponent citizens in addition to individuals who fought outside Bahrain, and believed to have links with ISIS. On January 31, 2015, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) published a Decree stripping of the nationalities of 72 Bahrainis “for acting in ways that harm the interests of the Kingdom”.
On June 11, 2015, Bahrain High Criminal Court fined 57 defendants, sentenced them to prison, and revoked the citizenship of all the convicts, except the third one.Thus, it stripped 56 opponents of their nationalities over forming a terrorist group; the charge which the authorities usually accuse the opponents of.
On November 5, 2015, Bahrain New Agency (BNA) reported that the General Advocate for Terror Crime Prosecution, Attorney Ahmed Al Hammadi, said that five individuals have been convicted of espionage and terror-related offences and that their citizenship has been revoked.
On November 9, 2015, Advocate General and Chief of the Terror Crimes Prosecution, Ahmed Al-Hammadi, announced that two individuals have been convicted of terror-related offences and sentenced to ten years in prison. The Chief of the Terror Crimes Prosecution also confirmed that the individuals’ citizenship has been revoked due to the seriousness of the offences.
On November 15, 2015, the High Criminal Court handed down life sentences to 12 suspects on trial for carrying out terrorist activities in the Kingdom and revoked their citizenship.
On November 23, 2015, High Criminal Court revoked the citizenships of 13 defendants. Chief of the Terror Crime Prosecution Advocate General Ahmed Al-Hammadi the court charged the defendants of setting up and joining a terror cell, training in making explosives, attempted murder, using bombs, illegal rallying, possessing Molotov Cocktails and committing forgery for a terror purpose.
Bahrain Human Rights Society documented 24 decisions of revoking citizenships during December 2015, in addition to prison sentences, death penalties, fines, and other human rights violations.
According to the annual report of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, Bahrain was ranked the first in revoking the citizenships in 2015. 208 Bahraini citizens, opponents and activists were stripped of their nationalities over their activities demanding democracy and freedom. The statistics of the Freedoms and Human Rights Department at Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society revealed an increase by 300% in 2015 compared to the cases of revoking citizenships between 2011 and 2014, as 52 Bahrainis were stripped of their nationalities during 4 years while 208 Bahrainis were stripped of their nationalities in 2015 only.
On February 22, 2016, the Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa issued a Decree to revoke the citizenship of the Bahraini citizen Raed Ali Houssein Hourani and his family, over activities that harm the interest of the country.
On March 15, 2016, the High Criminal Court sentenced a defendant to “15 years in prison and revoke his citizenship.”
On May 30, 2016, the High Criminal Court sentenced 10 defendants to life and two others to 10 years in prison, and ordered the revocation of citizenship of 12 defendants. The defendants were charged of the formation of an illegal terrorist group “Saraya Al-Ashter”. On 31 of the same month, Chief of Terror Crimes Prosecution, Advocate General Ahmed Al Hammadi stated that the High Criminal Court sentenced seven suspects to life in prison in the case brought against the “Dar Kulaib Warehouse” suspects. Three other defendants were given 15-year jail terms and another was given a one-year prison sentence. The court also revoked the citizenship of the 11 suspects, ordered two suspects to pay BD200.000, and confiscated the seized items, Al-Hammadi said.
On June 11, 2016, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported that the King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa issued on May 25, 2016 Decree No. 38 of 2016 revoking the citizenship of 3 of the National Guard following activities that harm the interests of the Kingdom.
On June 16, 2016, Chief of Terror Crimes Prosecution, Advocate General Ahmed Al Hammadi, said that the High Criminal Court had issued its verdict against 10 suspects in the case of the so-called “Hezbollah of Bahrain” terrorist group. The court sentenced eight suspects to 15 years in jail, and an additional BD 200,000 fine for two of them. The ninth and tenth defendants were handed down three-year jail terms and fines of BD500. The court ordered the revocation of the citizenship of the ten suspects, the Advocate-General said.
While in June 20, 2016, Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior issued a statement in which it announced the revocation of the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, the most prominent leader of the Shiite sect in Bahrain.
On June 23, 2016, Chief of Terror Crimes Prosecution Advocate General Ahmed Al Hammadi said that the High Criminal Court had issued its verdict against the suspects involved in the case of the so-called “Daesh” terrorist group. The court sentenced one suspect to life in prison, and 23 others to 15 years in jail. It also ordered the confiscation of the seized items and the revocation of the citizenship of 13 defendants.
On June 27, 2016, the Fourth Higher Criminal Court revoked the citizenship of 5 Shiite citizens accused of links with terrorist groups. On the same day, Chief of Terror Crimes Prosecution Advocate General Ahmed Al Hammadi said that the high Criminal Court ordered the revocation of the citizenship of two suspects accused of a blast carried out in Al-Qidam area.
Deportation of the Citizens:
On April 23, 2014, the Bahraini authorities have proceeded through the Ministry of Interior to forcefully deport Shia cleric Hussain Al-Najati after direct and unrelenting pressure posed against him to leave the country. Sheikh Al-Najati was stripped of his citizenship in 2012.
On February 5, 2015, the Bahraini authorities detained Farhat Khorsheed and his family in Bahrain’s airport after their return from abroad. Mr Khorsheed was prevented from entering Bahrain, as he was one of the Bahrainis that had their nationality stripped in the list released on 31 January 2015. Amnesty International revealed that it addressed the Bahraini authorities asking for an urgent action to allow Mr. Khorsheed to enter the country. The Bahraini authorities responded after several hours saying that he left Bahrain.
On February 24, 2015 the Bahraini authorities deported Hussain Khairallah Mohammed Mohammedi to the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Mohammedi was stripped of his nationality.
On May 14, 2015, the Bahraini authorities issued a decision to deport 2 citizens whose citizenships were revoked earlier in the same year. They were Sheikh Mohammed Khojasteh, the Shiite cleric and the leader in the Islamic Scholars Council, and the university professor, Dr. Massoud Johromi.
On March 8, 2016, a Bahraini Court of Appeal approved the convict to deport 2 citizens whose citizenships were revoked; Ibrahim Karimi and Ali Isfandiar.
Contravention the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights:
The revocation decision is a stark denial of international laws and a grave abuse of human rights. Bahrain has both signed and ratified the International Covenant for Civil and Political rights, which further ties the party of the covenant to ensure the obligations set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Within both the treaty and the declaration, the denial and revocation of nationality is warned of.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality; and
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
In the preamble of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it is stated that:
“Recognizing that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights.”
Further, under Article 2 it is added that:
“1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
“2. Where not already provided for by existing legislative or other measures, each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Covenant, to adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present Covenant.”
Finally under Article 5:
“1. Nothing in the present Covenant may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognized herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant.”
The Effects of the Revocation Decision:
The revocation decision has severely impacted on the victims and their families and put a strain on many facets of their lives and endeavours; be it social, political, legal, employment and even their safety, as a direct result of this decision. Some of the struggles are summed up below:
• Deprivation the new-born children from a nationality.
• The barring of the use of many services previously available to them as citizens, which including hospital and housing services
• Deprivation of their right to identity, documents of legal proof, and exposed to issues with immigration laws and asylum.
• A loss of feeling of security and a sense of perennial threat.
• Deprivation of the services provided for pensions and pecuniary benefits
• The barring of the right to work, especially in governmental positions. Note that the majority that were working in the private sect were immediately terminated from employment.
• The barring of the right to benefits for housing, inflation, and application for housing and social insurance.
• The barring of travel outside the country and the inability to return back to Bahrain of those that were originally abroad.
• The inability to enjoy their human and civil rights, such as to vote and elect oneself.
Appendix No. 1
Manama, Nov. 7 (BNA) — According to clause (c) of Article (10) of the Citizenship Law which permits the re-evaluation of nationality when a holder of the Bahraini citizenship causes damage to state security, the Bahraiin citizenship of the following individuals have been revoked:
1. Saed Al Shahabi
2. Ibrahim Ghulom Karimi
3. Jaafar Ahmed Al Hassabi
4. Ali Hassan Mushamie
5. AbdulRaouf Al Shahabi
6. Moussa AbdAli Mohammed
7. Abbas AbdulAziz Omran
8. Mohammed Mahmoud Al Kharraz
9. Qassim Badr Hashem
10. Hassan Amir Akbar Sadiq
11. Sayyed Mohammed Ali Al Mousawi
12. Abdulhadi AbdulRasoul Ahmed
13. Alawi Saed Sayed Sharaf
14. Hussain AbdulShaheed Hubail
15. Hussain Mirza Abdulbaqi
16. Khalid Hameed Mansour
17. Kamal Ahmed Ali
18. Ghulam KhairAlla Mohammadi
19. Mohammed Ibrahim Hussain Fathi
20. Sayyed Abdulnabi Al Moussawi
21. Taymour Abdulla Jumaa Karimi
22. Mohammed Redha Mortadha Abed
23. Habeeb Darweesh Ghulom
24. Ibrahim Ghulom Abbas
25. Mariam Al Sayyed Ibrahim
26. AbdulAmir Ibraim Al Moussawi
27. Ibraim Khalil Ghulom
28. Ismael Khalil Ghulom
29. Adnan Ahmed Ali
30. Jawad Fairouz Ghulom
31. Jalal Fairouz Ghulom
The Minister of Interior will take the necessary measures to implement this in conformity with the Kingdom’s commitments under international law. The affected persons have the right of appeal.
Appendix No. 2
The Ministry of Interior is responsible for protecting the security and stability of Bahrain. Part of that responsibility is a duty to fight terrorism and identify those who engage, encourage or participate in such acts.
Each citizen of Bahrain has the responsibility to act in ways that do not harm the interests of the Kingdom. Based on article (10/c) of the Bahrain nationality law, with a revision by the Interior Minister and approval of the cabinet, a decree was issued to withdraw the Bahraini nationality of 72 individuals for illegal acts, including
– Spying for foreign countries and recruiting a number of persons through social media
– Financing groups carrying terrorist operations
– Defaming the image of the regime, inciting against the regime and spreading false news to hinder the rules of the constitution
– Carrying out a series of explosions so as to subvert homeland security and terrorise citizens
– Seeking to form a terrorist group, train them on the use of weapons to commit crimes
– Smuggling weapons
– Inciting and advocating regime change through illegal means
– Joining terrorist cells to harm the interests of the Kingdom and subvert national stability
– Belonging to terrorist groups fighting abroad.
– Defaming brotherly countries.
1. Mohammed Hassan Ali Hussain
2. Farahat Khursheed Afrah Khursheed
3. Masood Mirza Jaffar Jahrami
4. Hussain Khairallah Mohammed Mahdi
5. Ali Asfandiyar Khadad Mohammed
6. Safa Al Dhawi Al Adawi
7. Sayed Ahmed Mustafa Mohammed Al Wadai
8. Sayed Qassim Majeed Ramadan Alawi
9. Ibrahim Ali Ibrahim Al Aradi
10. Ibrahim Ali Hassan Al Madhoon
11. Ishaq Faheem Ishaq Abdulrahman
12. Ahmed Jaffar Mohammed Ali
13. Ahmed Rashid Hameed Al Jabri
14. Ahmed Ridha Mashaallah Shakeeb
15. Ahmed Mohammed Ali Saleh
16. Ayoub Mohammed Mustafa Al Murbati
17. Turki Mubarak Abdullah Al Binali
18. Jaffar Ahmed Hassan Al Aal
19. Jaffar Ahmed Abdullah Salman
20. Jaffar Yahya Ali Hussain
21. Habib Abdullah Hussain Al Jamri
22. Hassan Ahmed Abdullah Sulaiman
23. Hassan Abdullah Isa Al Ghasra
24. Hassan Abdulnabi Hassan Ali
25. Hassan Ali Mohammed Juma Sultan
26. Hussain Jassim Ahmed Al Hadad
27. Hussain Yousif Mohammed Jassim
28. Hamad Mubarak Juma Habib
29. Khalid Mohammed Abdullah Ali Al Mannai
30. Daij Khalifa Abdullah Al Thawadi
31. Rashid Ahmed Rashid Al Rashid
32. Sami Ahmed Hamad Al Mannai
33. Salman Ibrahim Mohammed Ali
34. Salman Abdullah Darweesh Abdullah
35. Salman Alyan Turki Al Ashban
36. Saber Ali Ahmed Al Salatna
37. Dhafer Salah Ali Saleh
38. Obada Adel Hassan Hamad
39. Abas Hassan Ali Abusafwan
40. Abdulamir Jaffar Rashid Al Aradi
41. Abdulaziz Nazar Ali Al Jowder
42. Abdulghani Isa Ali Al Khanjar
43. Abdullah Ibrahim Ahmed Al Saleh
44. Abdullah Abdulrahim Abdullah Fakhro
45. Aqeel Ahmed Ali Mahfoodh
46. Aqeel Jaffar Ahmed Ridha
47. Ali Ahmed Ali Abdullah
48. Ali Hassan Abdulrahman Fakhro
49. Ali Hassan Abdullah Abdulimam
50. Ali Mubarak Abdullah Al Binali
51. Ali Mahmood Jaffar Al Kharaz
52. Ammar Ahmed Ali Saqer Al Atawi
53. Omar Jassim Mohammed Buzaboon
54. Omar Abdullah Mohammed Ali Al Qahtani
55. Isa Abdullah Isa Al Sarh
56. Kareem Isa Ali Al Mahroos
57. Maher Othman Saleh Abadi
58. Mohammed Ali Ahmed Al Tal
59. Mohammed Isa Yousif Saqar Al Binali
60. Mohammed Mubarak Abdullah Al Binali
61. Mahmood Nasser Juma Mushaima
62. Murtadha Majeed Ramadan Al Sindi
63. Muhanad Yousif Hussain Al Harmi
64. Maytham Omran Hussain Al Jamri
65. Mirza Mohammed Ali Ramadan
66. Naji Ali Naji Qassim Al Ruqaimi
67. Nawaf Mohammed Ahmed Saif
68. Yasser Abdulhussain Ali Al Sayegh
69. Yasser Abdullah Isa Al Ghasra
70. Yahya Ali Yahya Al Hadid
71. Yousif Ahmed Hamad Abdullah Al Mannai
72. Yousif Omran Jassim Omran
Proper legal procedures will be taken by the Interior Ministry to implement this decision.