Manama targeting family of late Al-Wasat co-founder

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SHAFAQNA – The UK-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) accused Manama of targeting the extended family of the late Karim Al-Fakhrawi, who co-founded Bahrain’s only independent newspaper, Al-Wasat.

Al-Fakhrawi was tortured to death while in the custody of Manama’s National Security Agency (NSA) in April 2011.

This week, his 20-year old nephew, Hussein Abalqassem, was expelled from Bahrain after being accused of living in the country illegally.

Abalqassem was born to a Bahraini mother but his father is a foreign national. Under the kingdom’s ‘unfair’ nationality law, Bahraini women do not have the right to pass on their citizenship to their children. And although Abalqassem spent his whole life living in Bahrain, he does not hold the Bahraini nationality.

“Hussein Abalqassem is someone who should have been born with the Bahraini nationality and allowed to live his life freely,” said BIRD’s Director of Advocacy, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei.

“He has been punished twice: for being born into a family the Bahraini regime has targeted for reprisals, and by the grotesque law barring mothers from passing on their nationality to their children. This discriminatory law must be quashed,” Alwadaei added.

Last year, Manama deported Abalqassem’s older brother to Iran. Meanwhile, his elder half-brothers were arrested and face trumped-up charges.

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