SHAFAQNA – Opposition figures in Jaw Central Prison, including Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of prominent Al-Wefaq group, announced they would abstain from family visits, in protest of a decision by prison authority to reduce time of visit from 1 hour to half an hour.
In a phone call with Al-Manar Website, Sheikh Salman’s wife, Alya Radhi said she had received a call from her husband in which he confirmed the decision by opposition figures.
“The prison authority decision to shorten the time of visits comes as a part of escalation against all Bahrainis,” Radhi said, noting that such measures don’t only apply to prisoners but also affect their families who are being subjected to humiliating inspections.
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.