Bahrain revokes nationality of 31 over national security

Wed Nov 7, 2012 11:19am EST
 
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DUBAI (Reuters) - The Bahraini government, facing protracted unrest by its Shi'ite Muslim 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 jailed opposition leader Hassan Mushaima, as well as clerics, human rights 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 publicize 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 neighbors 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.

"COMPLEX PERSECUTION"

"They want to replace us as a pro-democracy movement via nationalization of mercenaries and revoking our nationality," Matar said.   Continued...

 
Riot-police fire rubber coated bullets as anti-government protesters run for cover during clashes in the village of Sanabis west of Manama, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed