Bahraini NGOs: Sheikh Maytham Al Salman, Dr Taha Al Derazi and all prisoners of conscious in Bahrain should be released and authorities to be hold accountable

Four Bahraini non-government organisations (NGOs) issued the following statement with regards to detention of two human rights defenders and members of Bahrain Human Rights Observatory (BHRO), Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman (religious freedoms officer at BHRO), and Dr Taha Al-Derazi (consultant neurosurgeon) after 10 hours interrogation by Bahraini security authorities. Al Salman and Al Derazi been detained yesterday with Ali Aman and Hani Albiladi. They will be taken to public prosecutor today for clear repression of legitimate freedom of expression and revealing human rights violations.

Despite provisions of national and international law safeguarding freedom of expression, the Government of Bahrain has only escalated its use of criminal charges and restrictive legislation to silence activists, civil societies and media outlets in the country.

Bahraini authorities have arrested recently more than 50 shia religious scholars as well as a number of human rights activists and civilians for allegedly illegally protesting, and continued crackdown on civil society, after the nationality revocation of Sheikh Isa Qassim on 20 June 2016.

Al Salman in a video message published on the 4th of August, 2016 denounced the measures taken by authorities in Bahrain in the last few weeks that included the rearrest of prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, the revocation of the Nationality of Sheikh Qasim, dissolving Al Wefaq, the largest political party in Bahrain, dissolving the biggest Shia Cultural CSO, imposing restrictions on mobility rights for shia’s intending to participate in the biggest Friday Prayers held in Bahrain at Imam Sadiq Mosque, systematic interrogations with Shia clerics and banning some from the right to lead prayers and sermons, accusing the most prominent shia religious figure of money laundering for practicing a shia ritual and other repressive measures.

Al Salman said in his message “These measures are expected to escalate to harsher measures and Bahrain could witness a gross increase in human rights violations unless the international community exerts effectual and effective pressure on authorities to immediately stop these measures and commit to an all inclusive meaningful dialogue process that leads to sustainable stability and respect of universal human rights in Bahrain”. He continued “The prospects of stability and national dialogue are diminishing significantly due to the authorities’ lack of tolerance for any opposition.” He also warned of the grave consequences facing human rights defenders, religious leaders, political societies, CSO’s in general through a series of repressive administrative and judicial measures.

In his message Al Salman concluded by warning that Bahrain’s CSO’s human rights community and activists are in serious danger of being completely wiped out and silenced unless the international community intervenes.

We call upon the international community to ensure Bahraini authorities to release all prisoners of conscious and protection of all human rights defenders and to stop shia persecution, and to hold the government fully accountable of continuous human rights violations which are taking place in Bahrain.

The signatory organisations are as follows: Salam for Democracy and Human Rights, Bahrain Forum for Human Rights, Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, Bahraini German Organization for Human Rights and Democracy