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Authorities Further Attack Human Rights Lawyer and Others Whose Citizenship has been Unlawfully Revoked

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On 5 April 2015, authorities in Bahrain arrested human right lawyer Taimoor Karimi, who had his citizenship revoked in 2012. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) condemns the authorities’ continued targeting and harassment of activists whose citizenship was illegally revoked.

On 5 April 2015, ten Bahrainis who had their citizenship revoked had an appeal hearing against the court’s initial sentence of deportation and a BHD100 fine that was issued on 28 October 2014. The trial was postponed to 6 May; however, after leaving the court, a policeman called back lawyer Taimoor Karimi, seized his driving license and asked him to stay at the courtroom. He was asked to pay the fine of BHD100, an amount he didn’t have at the time. He was immediately arrested without allowing him to contact his lawyer or family.

Karimi was kept in a room in the public prosecution until 2 pm. Then he was handcuffed and transported to Passport and Residency Directorate where he was kept for five more hours without taking care of his basic needs, including food, drink or being allowed to use the toilet and pray until he started calling and banging on the door. He suffers from high blood pressure and wasn’t given his medicine or allowed to contact his family.

Security forces attempted twice to take Karimi to Jaw Prison but failed to do so because of administration issues so he was taken back to the Passport and Residency Directorate twice. He was finally detained in Jaw Prison and was allowed to call his family after a full day between detention centers. At Jaw Prison, he was kept in the cell for foreigners and wasn’t allowed in the cells where Bahrainis are detained. On 6 April, his family paid the fine but he wasn’t allowed to leave before being sponsored by one of his relatives. Karimi and his sponsor were told to be present at the Passport and Residency Directorate after his next appeal hearing.

It is important to note that nine other Bahrainis are facing the same situation and are required to find sponsors or else they’ll be deported by force. The Government of Bahraini revoked the citizenship of more Bahrainis in 2014 which increases the number of individuals at risk of deportation. Moreover, their bank accounts were seized on orders from the authorities and they’re unable to even change the ownership of their properties.

BCHR believes that the authorities are deliberately harassing and humiliating those whose citizenships have been revoked, and particularly those who have had undertaken human rights activities. The actions taken by the Government of Bahrain are in direct violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that guarantees everyone “the right to a nationality” and states that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.”

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the Government of Bahrain to:

  • Immediately halt the deportation of the nine Bahrainis, which is in violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • Immediately reinstate the nationality of the 31 whose citizenship was revoked in 2012, and;
  • Accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
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