SHAFAQNA – The Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society designated 2017 as one of the bloodiest years in Bahrain’s history, marred by repression and rights abuses.
In a statement released on New Year’s Day, the opposition group asserted that the past twelve months have witnessed a coup against Bahrain’s constitution and international treaties, encouraging authoritarianism, tyranny and corruption.
According to Al-Wefaq, Manama employed a variety of different methods to carry out over a dozen extrajudicial killings, handed down death sentences, placed the country’s highest religious authority Sheikh Isa Qassim under house arrest and jailed thousands.
Meanwhile, over 150 Bahrainis have been stripped of their citizenship while many were subjected to brutal torture, forced to sign confessions and put on trial over politically motivated charges.
Out of the thousands of cases involving the prosecution of activists, Al-Wefaq described the most recent death sentences issued by the country’s top military court against six civilians as the biggest setback for justice.
The opposition party added that the decision to return its Secretary-General Sheikh Ali Salman to court on new charges is an act of “revenge”.
Moreover, the year marks one of the worst economic declines in Bahrain involving mounting public debt, austerity measures and rampant corruption.
The statement also accuses Manama of rejecting all forms of dialogue and political partnerships.