SHAFAQNA – Iran in separate letters to UN Chief Antonio Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein warned of the Bahraini government’s security approach, and called for the peaceful settlement of issues and withholding unfair verdicts against prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassim.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
As you know, since 14th February 2011 with the formation of civil peaceful protests, Bahrain was involved in political and social crisis, which still continues and the government of the country has made the crisis more complicated by adopting a security approach.
Currently, Bahrain as the smallest and least populated country in the region has the largest number of political prisoners, and about 7 thousands of the people (including more than 1500 children between 10 to 15 years) have been jailed due to protest against existing situation. From the beginning of the crisis, the government of Bahrain has tried to attribute people civil demands based on the citizenship rights to religious motives. The destruction of dozens of mosques and places of worship under the pretext of baseless and fabricated accusations, prevention and restriction in performing religious rituals, collecting religious symbols which are rooted in historical and cultural traditions of Bahrain, summoning numerous religious scholars and preachers, holding fabricated courts and imprisoning political and religious leaders who are respected by the people, the prohibition of more than 120 preachers from giving religious preaches and withdrawal of citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ghasem, the Shiite spiritual leader of Bahrain, are as a part of measures which have been employed by the government against the national identity and religious beliefs of the majority of society, although this majority count as the most-original residents and citizens of the country, but they enjoy the minimum level of citizenship rights.
According to the latest statistics announced in the media, more than 460 citizenships of Bahrain citizens have been cancelled and more than 320 people were killed and hundreds wounded during peaceful demonstration and marches. Solely, during the assault in the past few days by security forces to the Al-Deraz area and the house of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ghasem, 6 people were martyred, 200 people injured and 286 people also arrested. Similarly, thousands of people have fled to other countries due to limitations, political and security pressure and social and religious discriminations. Withdrawal of citizenship of Bahrain’ citizens in the excuse of groundless crimes, arrest and trail of human rights activists, the prohibition of freedom of expression and opinion, prevention of holding peaceful gatherings, arbitrary arrests and placing travel ban on protesters and victims of human rights, in total, represent an organized violation of human rights in Bahrain.
Unfortunately, the government of Bahrain still continues its suppression acts which are in contradiction to all international laws and regulations. One of the latest actions of the Government is issuing unfair verdict against Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ghasem on 21 May 2017, which leads to one year jail sentence and confiscation of properties and assets that are given to him as khums duty.
Despite repeated recommendations by international organizations to carry out reformations and establishing democracy, non-violation of human rights and return to political dialogue in order to settle the disputes, the government of Bahrain has not considered implementation of these recommendations, rather has worsen the situation than before. In spite of the commitments of the government of Bahrain to adhere to concerned international conventions, unfortunately the recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights mechanism in Geneva and the independent fact-finding committee recommendations have been ignored ad there is no sign of any positive development in the country.
It is expected that the international community, on the basis of the responsibilities under the United Nations Charter and relevant International Conventions and with a proper and accurate understanding of the crisis in Bahrain and its related threats, including the long- lasting conflict in Bahrain and the region, fulfill its duties to prevent the violation of human rights and organized religious and tribal repression. It is obvious that respect and promotion of human rights, has a direct link to genuine democracy and the nation of Bahrain in only pursuing its democratic rights including the right to vote, which unfortunately has been put under abuse and oppression.
In this regard, I request your excellency to employ all your efforts and capacities of international organizations and human rights mechanisms for the abolition of unfair verdict against Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ghasem, to guarantee his and his followers full security and safety, restoration of withdrawn citizenship of Bahrain’ citizens and unconditional release of all persons who have been detained due to the application of these basic rights. In this regard, a comprehensive impartial investigation in relation to the committed crimes against the innocent people is imperative and expected to be fulfilled.