Bahrain Arrests More Dissidents Ahead Of Elections

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PARIS – PFIF has strongly condemned the arrest of Bahraini former member of parliament Al-Wefaq Ali Rashid Al-Ashiri due to publishing a tweet asking for election boycott.

Bahraini forces have stepped up arrests of political dissidents and anti-regime activists ahead of this month’s parliamentary elections in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

The regime’s forces on Monday stormed houses in the town of al-Dayeh west of the capital Manama, arresting six citizens, Bahrain’s Lulu TV reported.

Other reports suggested that Bahraini forces had also raided the districts of Hamad and Jad Hafs in search of dissidents.

The arrests come as Manama is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on November 24.

Earlier in October, Bahrain’s main Shia opposition group, the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, which has been dissolved and banned from conducting any activity by the ruling Al Khalifah regime, announced a boycott of the kingdom’s upcoming elections.

PFIF said in a press statement that the arrest of al-Ashiri for publishing a tweet on Twitter announcing that he and his family will boycott the elections this month represents a flagrant violation of human rights and freedom of opinion and expression.

The Institute stressed that the arrest of Al-Ashiri represents an arbitrary measure and constitutes an extension of Bahrain’s policy of banning opposition movements in the country and imprisoning hundreds of dissidents and stripping a number of them because of their anti-government positions.

It stressed that the declaration of participation in or the general election is a personal right guaranteed under international laws and charters, and public expression of this cannot be a justification for the authorities to practice arbitrary detention without legal basis.

It also confirmed that al-Ashiri and other Bahrainis have the right to express their views and criticize the ruling authorities, which can criminalize those who express their positions peacefully against their practices and cannot impose participation in elections or support citizens.

PFIF called for an immediate release of the opponents and all detainees against the background of opinion or political and legal activity in Bahrain and the cessation of violations by the authorities in the country against dissidents.

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