LONDON, July 28, 2013 – Bahrain Press Association (“BPA”), the London-based association concerned with defending and addressing issues related to Bahraini media and press people, is condemning the outputs of the Bahraini National Assembly, composed of the lower and upper houses that convened for the first time since inception. In an extraordinary session held jointly by both houses, the Assembly, upon a call by King Hamad Bin Salman Al Khalifa to convene in an extraordinary fashion to discuss the toughening of penalties pertaining to terrorism acts committed against the community although the session is believed to have essential constitutional suspicions.
The BPA-after thorough follow-up on the session deliberations, its final concluding statement, and its recommendations- is expressing its disappointment with most of the members’ speeches and the recommendations that were full of instigating backed by an open authorization to the security forces to commit atrocious cruelty and threaten the ‘citizenship’ rights of the Bahrainis calling for the political reforms. Such speeches and recommendations pave the way for an open-ended war that would eliminate the freedom of expression, if any, and the freedom of conscience under no-stand judgments and unacceptable reasons.
The BPA conceders the outputs of the session a national disaster bringing back the scene Bahrain went through while the State of National Safety was on in March 2011. At the time, many crimes and violations were reported and documented that claimed the lives of 120 Bahrainis and the imprisonment and torture against thousands of other Bahrainis.
The BPA stresses that the recommendations are an open authorization to the country’s king, the executive authorities, and security forces to issue decree laws and amend certain laws that would impose and iron fist on civil liberties and press freedoms and would ban demonstrations from being called for in the capital city of Manama. The outputs would also impose the state of national safety ‘martial laws’, would lead to the arrest of some leaders and political activists, and to deprive them of their nationality in clear violation to the law on the allegations to protect the community. Undoubtedly, this violates the international law and the international conventions of which Bahrain is a signatory with a commitment to implement the bylaws contained therein with the focus on the universal human rights.
The BPA is doubtful about the preamble of the undertaking vowed by the Bahraini authorities to abide by the human rights commitments. The Bahraini authorities, with the testimony of the international community and human rights organizations, still turn a blind eye to the recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry “BICI” along with the recommendations made by the Human Rights Council of the UN.
The BPA Chair, Mr. Adel Marzooq, said “The National Assembly’s statement – and its recommendations – is a black dot in the history of the legislative authorities with its two houses. It also gives a green light to the fierce security fist practiced by the Bahraini authorities. Furthermore, it is a dangerous escalation paving the way to new violations which the country may witness as per this ‘rejected’ authorization when it comes to the international law and all other humane considerations.”
Mr. Marzooq also stressed that “Such recommendations allow the Bahraini authorities to enact many suppressing policies and laws on the freedom of opinion and the freedom of the press. It also flings to the wall all previous undertakings made by the regime and violates the universal human right to citizenship.”
Therefore, the BPA is calling upon the international community – especially the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom – to very quickly move to stop imposing such recommendations and to oblige the Bahraini regime to satisfy its international undertakings and commitments and to initiate a real and meaningful political solution capable of lifting the country from its long-standing crisis.