x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Bahrain revokes citizenships of 31 Shiite activists

The government move comes after Bahrain late last month banned all protests and gatherings.

Bahraini authorities have revoked the citizenships of 31 Shiite activists, among them two former members of parliament, for having "undermined state security," state news agency BNA reported yesterday.

The names of the 31 activists, including brothers Jawad and Jalal Fairuz, both ex-MPs who represented the major Shiite Al Wefaq bloc, were listed in the report, which quoted an interior ministry statement.

Also named was Ali Mashaima, son of prominent activist Hassan Mashaima who is head of the radical Shiite opposition movement Haq and who is serving a life sentence for allegedly plotting against the monarchy.

The government move comes after Bahrain late last month banned all protests and gatherings to ensure "security is maintained," after clashes between Shiite-led demonstrators and security forces in the Sunni-ruled country.

Bahrain has experienced unrest since February 14 last year when Arab Spring-style protests led by the Shiite majority erupted. Hundreds of people were arrested when the security forces, aided by troops from neighbouring Saudi Arabia, crushed the uprising within a month.

Many activists, some whose names appear on yesterday's were tried in a special military court set up at the time.

Another former MP and leading Al-Wefaq member, Matar Matar, told AFP that some named on the list were acquitted by the military court while others were never charged with "undermining state security."

Other opposition sources said that some of the named activists are currently living abroad.

According to the International Federation for Human Rights, 80 people have died in Bahrain since the unrest began.

*Agence France-Presse