31 October 2014 – On 28 October 2014, 10 Bahrainis, who had their citizenship revoked on 7 November 2012, were sentenced to deportation and a 100 Bahraini dinar (USD 265) fine. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) condemn the court’s decision and the ongoing targeting of the aforementioned individuals.
The ten Bahrainis are part of a group of 31 who had their citizenship revoked in 2012. 18 of the individuals targeted already resided outside of Bahrain. Of the 13 remaining, Jalal and Jawad Fairooz were out of the country when the revocation was announced, which forced them into exile. The remaining 11, who resided in Bahrain, were rendered stateless. The Government of Bahrain said the 31 could file an appeal against the revocation, but they were not allowed to do so as they had no legal status as a result of the revocation of their citizenship. Only after mounting international pressure did the government permit the aforementioned individuals to appeal the revocation. In June 2013, the remaining 10 individuals who resided in Bahrain were forced to surrender their passports and identification cards to the government.
One of the 11 Bahrainis has already been forced into exile by the Bahraini government. On 23 April 2014, Shaikh Hussain al-Najati left Bahrain after the government threatening his family with physical harm if he refused self-deportation. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom condemned the harassment and described it as an act of religiously motivated discrimination.” The BCHR recently published a detailed report on the use of revocation of citizenship by the Bahraini government to target human rights defenders.
In July of this year, the remaining individuals were forced to sign documents by the Immigration Office legally acknowledging that they were no longer Bahraini citizens, but foreign nationals who must seek a sponsor to remain in the country or face deportation. Then, on 10 August 2014, the Public Prosecution charged them under articles 111 and 64 of the Penal Code and articles 15, 28-1 and 29-2 of the Asylum and Immigration Law, with “being a foreigner in the country and breaking the Immigration and Residency Law (Foreigners Law)”.
The aforementioned organizations call on the Government of Bahrain to:
- Immediately halt the deportation of the nine Bahrainis, which is in violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
- Immediately reinstate the nationality of the 31 whose citizenship was revoked in 2012, and;
- Accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.