Bahrain: The judiciary system is targeting lawyers

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) denounces the unjust sentence against the lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi and considers it a clear and explicit violation of human rights. The Bahraini authorities should stop prosecuting prisoners’ defenders simply for expressing their views.

Moreover, the Center expresses its concern about the harassment and prosecution that lawyers are exposed to, the latest of which is the issuance of the Disciplinary Council (for lawyers’ cases), today, a ruling on lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi to prevent him from practicing his profession for a year. The sentence came on the background of the disciplinary case filed by the Bahraini Minister of Justice due to Al Shamlawi’s post on Twitter. It should be noted that Al-Shamlawi had previously apologized for that tweet. In details, the Criminal Court convicted Al-Shamlawi on June 30, 2020, on charges of “inciting hatred or contempt for a group of people,” and “misuse of communication devices.” The charges included two tweets that Al-Shamlawi published criticizing religious practices related to Ashura, which is the most important religious memory for Shiite Muslims. Ironically, the disciplinary council that tried Al-Shamlawi consists of lawyers and judges appointed by the Minister of Justice for a term of two years.

The Center believes that this ruling is unfair and lacks constitutional and legal principles, and it is a retaliatory sentence against a man who announced his permanent support for the cases of jurists and prisoners of conscience. BCHR also calls on the Bahraini authorities to stop the systematic policy of silencing lawyers who defend human rights and criticize the authority’s work.

It should be noted that Al-Shamlawi has defended prominent opposition figures, including the imprisoned Sheikh Ali Salman, leader of Al-Wefaq, the largest political opposition party in Bahrain.

This is not the only issue that affects lawyers, as BCHR previously published many statements in which it called to stop targeting lawyers in particular, including the lawyer and human rights defender Abdullah Hashem, after he was accused of spreading false news by expressing his opinion on some social issues on “Twitter”.

Therefore, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Nedal Al-Salman, stresses the previous demands and calls in particular for dropping the charges against lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi. Al-Salman also calls on the Bahraini authorities to “stop the policy of retaliation against lawyers for their mere defense of opposition detainees, and to stop using loose legal materials to prosecute human rights lawyers “.