Amnesty International has condemned a decision by Bahrain to deport 10 dissidents arbitrarily stripped of nationality, calling on Manama to refrain from making the move.
The ten are among the 31 Shias whose citizenships were revoked in November 2012. They were never tried in a court.
“Arbitrarily depriving these Bahrainis of their nationality and forcing them out of Bahrain renders them ‘stateless’ and goes contrary to Bahrain’s international obligations,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, the rights group’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director.
The ten men have been informed that they could be deported within days, but they have not been told where they will be sent.
“They have already been effectively stripped of basic rights such as access to work, health care and education simply for holding dissenting views and deporting them just adds insult to injury,” Sahraoui said.
Twenty one of the dissidents whose nationalities have been revoked have already left the Persian Gulf state.
“The Bahraini authorities are running out of arguments to justify repression. They are now resorting to extreme measures such as jail sentences and revoking nationality to quell dissent in the country, rather than allowing people to peacefully express their views,” Sahraoui added.
On August 21, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Bahraini regime to repeal laws that allow revoking the nationalities of dissidents.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of protesters have held numerous demonstrations in the streets of Bahrain, calling on the Al Khalifa royal family to step down from power.
Many Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds injured and arrested in the regime’s ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.