State Department Commemorates 5th Anniversary by Calling for More Reforms
On 17 February, the US Department of State (DoS) issued a statement commemorating the fifth anniversary of Bahrain’s pro-democracy uprising in 2011. The statement highlights ongoing US concerns regarding “limitations on peaceful assembly, political activism, and the criminalization of freedom of expression” since the uprising. DoS calls on the Bahraini government to work with the opposition to move forward with reforms, including “the release of opposition figures like Ibrahim Sharif and Sheikh Ali Salman.””
Updates from the Ground
- Authorities arrested 31 individuals, including 6 children. The majority of arrests were carried out during house raids.
- Bahrain’s MOI stated that it has interrogated children aged 9 to 14 years in the specialized Terrorism Prosecution and detained some of them in the Juvenile detention center.
- Criminal and appeals courts altered, upheld convictions, and sentenced 31 individuals to more than 172 years in prison. Courts postponed the trials of 11 individuals.
- A Bahraini court amended the sentence of AlWefaq’s Majeed Milad to one year in prison for inciting disobeying the law following a speech he delivered.
- The high criminal court sentenced the owners of Twitter handles @AbuKhamis and @HajiAhmed to five years in prison. Both were convicted over tweets criticizing the war in Yemen.
- The Minister of Interior announced additional measures to “organize” Shia religious processions including setting days, times and places they’re held.