Bahrain’s government must end its intimidation of a Shi’a Muslim cleric who was stripped of his nationality, said Amnesty International.
Shaikh Hussain al-Najati was reportedly given 48 hours to leave the country on Tuesday and warned that his family may be harmed if he failed to do so. He is among 31 opposition activists – all Shi’a Muslims – who were stripped of their Bahraini nationality by the Ministry of Interior in November 2012 on national security grounds. The 48 hour deadline ended this morning. After he failed to leave, he received a call from a state security officer saying he would pay for his decision. If deported, he will become stateless.
“This campaign of threats, harassment and intimidation against Shaikh Hussain al-Najati is unacceptable and must stop immediately. Forcing him out of his own country would render him stateless.” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
“The decision to strip Ayatollah Sheikh Najati of his nationality, along with 30 others in 2012 was little more than an arbitrary attempt to silence all government critics. It should be rescinded immediately.”
Shaikh Hussain al-Najati’s office was raided by plainclothes police on Sunday. Two days later, he was questioned by intelligence officials without his lawyer before security officers gave him a 48-hour deadline to leave.
Under the Bahrain Citizenship Law and its amendments, Article 10 stipulates that nationality can be revoked (Paragraph A) if a person engages in the military service of a foreign country; (Paragraph B) if he helps or engages in the service of an enemy country; or (Paragraph C) if he causes harm to state security. There is no further definition or detail of what could amount to “harm to state security”.