Bahrain Weekly Update 6/12/17

Top Stories

UN Experts Denounce “Deteriorating” Human Rights Conditions

Nabeel Rajab’s Trial Delayed Again

Date Set for Waad Appeal

Pearl Roundabout Repopened, Renamed

Updates from Bahrain

UN Experts Condemn Deterioration in Human Rights: In a statement on Friday, June 16, five independent experts reporting to the UN Human Rights Council voiced their concern and disappointment with the state of human rights in Bahrain. The experts denounced the “sharp deterioration” in human rights in the country, citing last year’s ban of the opposition party al-Wefaq as a turning point. They also identified numerous worrying actions, stating, “The authorities have resorted to drastic measures to curb dissenting opinions such as torture, arbitrary detention, unfounded convictions, the stripping of citizenship, the use of travel bans, intimidation, including death threats, and reprisals for cooperating with international organizations, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.” This statement follows critiques made last week by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, also denouncing Bahrain’s human rights record and calling for the government to pursue “a new path.”

Nabeel Rajab’s Trial Delayed: On June 12, the trial of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab was delayed to June 13. Rajab stands accused of spreading false information, “about domestic matters with the aim of discrediting and adversely affecting the State prestige” through television interviews by Bahrain’s Primary Court. This marks the trial’s ninth delay and the one-year anniversary of his detention. On June 14, Rajab’s attorney requested to postpone the trial until his client’s health improved and he could attend, but the court refused. Rajab has been hospitalized since April for injuries incurred while in solitary confinement.

On Tuesday, June 13, U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) gave a speech on the House floor calling for U.S. action on Rajab’s case and urging his release. Additionally, 37 members of European Parliament acknowledged the anniversary of his imprisonment and called for his release in an open letter to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini.

Date Set for Waad Dissolution Appeal: Bahrain’s Second Supreme Court of Appeals has scheduled an appeal of the First Insurance Court’s decision to disband the secular opposition party Waad. On Wednesday, June 14, lawyers Sami Siyadi and Hafez Ali presented the 11-page appeal report to the court. The trial is set for October 11. A judge ordered the party’s dissolution in May 2017 over charges of supporting terrorism and advocating violence.

Pearl Roundabout Reopened, Renamed: Pearl Roundabout, one of the primary sites ofBahrain’s violently quashed  pro-democracy protests, reopened to traffic on Tuesday, June 13. The circle, now renamed al-Farooq Junction, has been guarded by security forces since 2011. The Pearl monument from which the site derived its name was demolished by the government in March 2011.

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