Bahrain. At the end of September, the Emir of Bahrain,
Sheikh Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifa, appointed four women, among
them a Christian, as well as a Jewish man to the members of
the country's highest advisory congregation, Shuran.
COUNTRYAAH, Shuran's 40 members have no formal powers, but issue
recommendations on how to govern the country. Previously,
all important posts in the country were held by Muslim men.
On August 23, a passenger plane of the Airbus A320 type
from Gulf Air crashed just before landing in Bahrain. All
135 passengers and crew died. The cause of the accident
could not be clarified.
The conflict with Qatar over the Hawaiian Islands was not
resolved during the year.
Danish-Bahrain human rights activist Maryam Al-Khawaja,
co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights, was
arrested in August 2014 when she landed at Manama's airport.
She went in to visit her father, who had been sentenced to
life in prison by the dictatorship, and was on a hunger
strike. After 3 weeks in custody, she was released on bail
and then traveled out of the country. In late November, she
was sentenced to 1 year in prison in absentia. The
dictatorship was to use the verdict to prevent Maryam from
trying to enter again. Maryam's sister Zainab was tried in
October for tearing a photo of the king in pieces. In
December, she was sentenced to 3 years in prison and a $
8,000 fine for "insulting the king".
In November, the dictatorship carried out elections,
which were, however, boycotted by a majority of the
In December 2014, 2 men were sentenced to death. Amnesty
International strongly criticized the verdict as the 2 men
had been subjected to torture. By the beginning of the
month, the state had further tightened its terrorist
legislation. Suspects could now be held in custody for up to
7 months before a trial, police could detain and interrogate
suspects for up to 28 days, were granted extended powers to
conduct house searches and were given the right to
disconnect all telecommunications in an area for up to 24
hours. The following week, two bombs were dropped in the
villages of Damistan and Karzakan. cost a Jordanian valet.
21 Bahraini nationals were deprived of their citizenship in
2014 after being convicted of "terrorism"; 4 organizations,
including the country's largest opposition movement on
February 14, the coalition, during the year was banned and
designated as terrorist organizations. The United States and
the EU continued unconditional support for the dictatorship
- despite the expulsion of a senior North American diplomat
Bahrain joined in the fall of 2015 for Saudi Arabia's
attack war against Yemen.
In March 2016, authorities arrested human rights activist
Zainab al-Khawaja. She was released in June, where after she
traveled to Denmark, where she also holds citizenship. She
stated that authorities were putting together a lengthy
indictment against her that would trigger a lengthy prison
In May, an appeals court doubled the secretary general of
the country's largest opposition organization al-Wifaq,
Sheikh Ali Salman's imprisonment from four to nine years in
prison. In June, authorities went ahead in the fight against
opposition by simply banning al-Wifaq and confiscating its
funds. At the same time, the organization's spiritual
leader, Sheikh Isa Qasim, was deprived of his citizenship
for allegedly calling for sectarianism. Hundreds of
protesters, including many clerics, then gathered outside
Qasim's house in Diraz for a peaceful protest against the
dictatorship. Authorities responded again by raising charges
against 50 Shia clerics. During the year, the authorities
deprived 133 Bahraini nationals of their citizenship. 7 were
expelled to the country - as stateless. Since 2015, 341 had
been deprived of their citizenship.
In 2016, Britain was under construction for a permanent
naval base in Bahrain and therefore completely refrained
from criticizing the deterioration of the human rights
situation in the country. The same was true of the United
States. In August 2016, 5 UN human rights experts issued a
joint statement criticizing the authorities' systematic
persecution of Shi'as.