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Amnesty Urges Bahrain Regime to Restore Dissidents’ Citizenship

5 February 2015 13:35

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Amnesty International urged Bahrain Thursday to restore the citizenship of dozens of dissidents stripped of their nationality in a government decree that handed them the same punishment as suspected ISIL operatives.

The human rights watchdog said that last Saturday’s decision against 72 people had treated peaceful activists in the same way as Bahrainis suspected of travelling to Iraq or Syria to fight for the Takfiri group ISIL.Amnesty International

“The authorities have put the names of a number of known Bahraini human rights and political activists on the same list as other Bahrainis who have been alleged ISIL militants,” it said.

Amnesty said that any move that risked leaving a person stateless should be taken only after due legal process and within the strict limits set by international conventions.

Information Minister Isa Abdulrahman al-Hammadi has said that most of those targeted “are abroad and can challenge the decision legally”.

Bahrain has been witnessing unrest since Al khalifa regime launched deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 2011.

The kingdom’s main opposition group, Al-Wefaq, has said that most of those stripped of their citizenship — around 50 — were dissidents living in exile.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said the list also included at least four journalists — all of whom were “forced into exile because of legal threats.”

“Bahraini journalists who dare to express critical views already face serious risks, including legal action and imprisonment. Now Bahrain is punishing them by taking away what they value most,” it said.

It is not the first time that Bahrain has used counter-terrorism powers to strip dissidents of their citizenship but last week’s decision targeted the largest number so far.

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