SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights has examined the case of prominent Bahraini political figure and Chairman of Amal Islamic Society, Sheikh Mohammed Ali Almahfoodh.
Mr Almahfoodh was arrested during the widespread arrest of Bahrain’s opposition leaders from April to May 2011. The manner in which he was arrested was intimidating, where numerous masked and armed individuals raided the property he was in, beating him and his two sons in the process, destroying and vandalizing furniture, and then finally escorting him to a police vehicle. Communications and the whereabouts of Mr Almahfoodh was unknown, and telephone calls were limited and brief.
Mr Almahfoodh’s family have also been targeted. His daughter’s family have been subject to raids, where male members present in her home were subjected to beatings, and female members harassed and verbally abused. Mr Almahfoodh’s wife suffered a stress-related breakdown following the raids.
Mr Almahfoodh’s political party, Amal, was established in 2002 and represents a major portion of Bahrain’s indigenous Shia population. Even prior to the popular Bahraini uprising, Amal was repeatedly investigated, raided and subjected to closures – a key event occurred in 2005 when the party was closed for 45 days and members sentenced to imprisonment. On 14 April 2011, the Ministry of Interior submitted a case to Bahraini court to dissolve Amal.
SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights has come to a clear conclusion that the Bahraini authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Mr Almahfoodh along with the rest of the political leaders, who have unlawfully been sentenced to imprisonment and harassment against them and their families. SALAM also demands of the Bahraini authorities to stop pursuing political and civil societies in Bahrain, which is not only infringing on the Bahraini constitution but the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Bahrain has signed and ratified.