Bahrain revokes nationality of 31 over 'national security'
[Al Ahram] The Bahraini government, facing protracted unrest by its Shi'ite Mohammedan majority, has revoked the nationality of 31 men for damaging national security, the state news agency BNA reported on Wednesday.
The men include London-based dissidents Saeed al-Shehabi and Ali Mushaima, the son of tossed in the slammer
Drop the rod and step away witcher hands up!
opposition leader Hassan Mushaima, as well as holy men, human rights
One man's rights are another man's existential threat.
lawyers and activists, according to Mohammed al-Mascati, head of the Bahrain Youth Centre for Human Rights.
In April, Ali Mushaima scaled the roof of Bahrain's embassy in London to publicise opposition demands for democratic change.
Also on the list published by BNA were two former parliamentarians from the leading Shi'ite party Wefaq, Jawad and Jalal Fairooz, who are of Shi'ite Iranian descent.
The ruling Al Khalifa family used martial law and help from Gulf neighbours to put down a Shi'ite-led uprising against alleged discrimination in March last year, but unrest has resumed. Shi'ite protesters and police clash almost daily.
Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based as a bulwark against Iran, accuses Tehran of encouraging the unrest and has promised a tough response as talks with the opposition have stalled. Iran has denied meddling in Bahrain's affairs.
Matar, a senior member of Wefaq, said the decision to revoke nationality was an escalation of the conflict in Bahrain and accused the government of having granted citizenship to Sunni foreigners to boost their numbers in the country.
"They want to replace us as a pro-democracy movement via nationalisation of mercenaries and revoking our nationality," Matar said.
"This is a reflection of a complex persecution policy against race, sect and political orientation. It is against Bahrain's Persian minority, Shi'ites and the pro-democracy movement in general."
Amnesia Amnesty International said it appeared as though Bahrain had withdrawn the men's citizenship on the basis of their political views.
"Most worryingly, the authorities are making some in the group stateless. This, as well as any arbitrary deprivation of nationality, is prohibited under international law," said Philip Luther, Amnesty's director for the Middle East and North Africa.
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