Al Khalifah regime arrested 1,300 activists in 2016: Rights group

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SHAFAQNA – According to a report released by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) on Thursday, there were 187 children among those arrested by regime forces last year, Presstv reported.

In 2016, the Bahraini judiciary issued 91 life sentences and four death penalties, while the citizenship of 204 people were revoked, the BCHR said.

According to the report, Bahraini people staged 1,523 protest rallies across the sheikhdom during the period.

The report comes as the country prepares to mark the sixth anniversary of the anti-regime uprising in February 14, 2011.

Ahead of the anniversary, a group of opposition activists have issued a statement, calling for a high turnout of people in anti-regime protests to mark the occasion.

The statement pointed to the Thursday killing of three pro-democracy activists by Manama regime forces and called on the nation to actively participate in the their funeral procession on February 14.

On Thursday evening, protesters took to the streets across Bahrain, chanting slogans in protest at the deaths of 29-year-old Rida al-Ghisra, Mahmoud Yahya, 22, and 35-year-old Mostafa Abedali, whom regime forces shot dead off Khalifah Bin Salman Port, east of the capital Manama, at dawn.

Since February 14, 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis, calling on the al-Khalifa rulers to relinquish power.

In March that year, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, themselves repressive Arab regimes, were deployed to the country to assist Manama in its crackdown on protests. Hundreds of Bahraini activists have been imprisoned and suppressed.

On June 20, Bahraini authorities stripped Sheikh Qassim of his citizenship, less than a week after suspending the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the country’s main opposition bloc, and dissolving the Islamic Enlightenment Institution founded by Qassim, and the opposition al-Risala Islamic Association.

Over the past few weeks, demonstrators have held sit-in protests outside Sheikh Qassim’s home to denounce his citizenship removal.

Bahrain has also sentenced Sheikh Ali Salman, another revered opposition cleric, to nine years in prison on charges of seeking regime change and collaborating with foreign powers, which he has denied.

Sheikh Salman was the secretary general of the al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, which was Bahrain’s main opposition bloc before being dissolved by the regime.

Things actually seem to be getting worse. The country’s only remotely critical newspaper, Al Wasat, which was shut down in 2011, has now been ordered by the government to close its online edition too after criticizing the executions.

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