Bahrain files suit to suspend opposition group

Bahrain's Ministry of Justice on July 20 filed a lawsuit seeking to suspend all activities of the main Shi'ite opposition group for three months. The move comes after leaders of the Al-Wefaq party were charged recently with holding an illegal meeting with a US diplomat from the State Department. The lawsuit, however, does not mention the meeting, but rather seeks to suspend the party for violating quorum and transparency requirements. Al-Wefaq leader Ali Salman said his party plans to challenge the move.

Political tensions remain high Bahrain following protests that began in 2011. In April a Bahrain court sentenced eight activists to life in prison for killing a policeman and participating in anti-regime protests last August. In March a Bahrain court sentenced 13 citizens to life in prison and one man to 10 years in prison for attempting to kill a police officer and participating in an illegal protest. Also in March Bahrain's Fourth High Criminal Court convicted 11 defendants of possessing weapons, ammunition and explosives and of manufacturing bombs for terror purposes, which resulted in 15-year prison sentences for the accused and significant fines.

In late 2013 a judge in Bahrain rejected a request from human rights activist Nabeel Rajab to approve his conditional early release, for which Rajab was eligible under Bahraini law. Psaki commented that the US continues to urge Bahrain to permit all sectors of society to peacefully voice their political views.

From Jurist, July 21. Used with permission.