130 human rights organizations appeal to the Pope of the Vatican to demand the release of prisoners of conscience in Bahrain

On the occasion of his upcoming visit to Bahrain, we wish on the Pope to call for the release of the prisoners of conscience

In light of the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Bahrain between 3-6 November, the organizations who signed on this statement hope that His Holiness will adopt an initiative urging the Bahraini authorities to end violations and issue a real shift towards transitional justice, fairness and reparation for all victims and the release of all prisoners of conscience, including human rights defenders and opposition leaders.

Human rights organizations have monitored the imprisonment of opposition leaders, prisoners of conscience, and religious scholars who have always expressed their belief in the values of human rights, freedom, equality, religious tolerance and coexistence. Because of their demand for a state of social justice, equal citizenship, human dignity and political pluralism, they were subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment and long prison sentences, and some of them were executed and had their citizenship revoked.

The human rights and civil organizations that signed below express their deep concern about the policy of suppressing public freedoms pursued by the successive governments of the State of Bahrain for more than ten years, and in which forms of violations vary, such as: arbitrary arresting more than 20 thousand cases during eleven years, and torture (of more than 6000 victims), extrajudicial killings of more than (200), as well as hundreds of victims who were subjected to: enforced disappearance, unfair trials, religious persecution, travel bans, revocation of citizenship (more than a thousand cases), and political death sentences (12 rulings currently in execution against five detainees), naturalization in violation of the law, denial of civil and political rights, dissolution of opposition political societies (Al- Wefaq National Islamic Society, Democratic National Action Society (Waad), Islamic Action Society (Amal)), which suffers from a wide human rights and political crisis, and outright evasion of the implementation of international obligations related to the universal periodic review, the demolition of 38 mosques, the violation of the rights of citizens of various political, social and religious persuasions, not to mention the end of political freedom of action.

Human rights organizations wish on the Pope of the Vatican to adopt an initiative urging the Bahraini authorities to release all prisoners of conscience, numbering nearly 1,500. We also urge all conference attendees to visit prisoners of conscience, led by opposition leaders, and to raise the human rights situation while they are in Bahrain with the official authorities.