Q – To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the arrest in November of women in Bahrain for establishing and organising a public referendum, inciting hatred against the regime and disrupting the elections there; and whether they consider that such charges are compatible with Articles 15, 17, 18, 19 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
A : We are aware of the arrest of 15 women on 16 November on suspicion of disrupting the electoral process, belonging to an illegal group and calling for the overthrow of the government. We understand that all of them have now been released, but investigations into 12 individuals continue. Our Embassy in Bahrain will continue to monitor these cases.
Q – To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the reported deprivation of citizenship of former Bahraini nationals and of whether any of the persons concerned had access to the courts to challenge the decisions; and how many of those concerned are currently in the United Kingdom.
A- The Government has raised repeatedly with the Government of Bahrain its decision to withdraw citizenship from 31 individuals in 2012. Ministers publicly expressed concern at the decision by the Cassation Court to uphold the life sentences of these individuals. We encourage the authorities to conduct full and transparent investigations into any of those accused of crimes and ensure that individuals are given a right of appeal against citizenship deprivation decisions. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold figures on the location of these individuals.
Q – To ask Her Majesty’s Government when was the last time they met with Al-Wefaq, the opposition party in Bahrain; what is the rationale for their policy in respect of meeting that organisation; and what steps they have taken to evaluate that party’s boycott of the elections there on 22 November.
A – Our Ambassador and his team in Bahrain and officials in London frequently meet senior members of Al-Wefaq. The British Government’s engagement with Al-Wefaq, as with all political societies in Bahrain, is focused on encouraging constructive engagement in political dialogue. It is disappointing that the opposition societies boycotted the elections on 22 November, but we are encouraged by the 51.5 per cent turnout, and welcome the participation of a broad range of candidates. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office halted engagement with all political societies, independent candidates and former members of parliament during the election period. We intend to re-engage when the new parliament is inaugurated in mid-December.
Q – To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have about the reported attack by Bahraini security forces on Youssif Baddah in the village of Sitra on 19 November.
A – We understand that Youssif Baddah was injured by a tear gas canister while taking part in a demonstration on 19 November, and is currently undergoing medical treatment for his injury while under arrest. The British Government will continue to monitor the case and encourage the Government of Bahrain to ensure that due legal process is followed in this case and international norms of justice adhered to.
A – The UK continues to encourage the Government of Bahrain to agree a new date for a visit by the Special Rapporteur for Torture and to enhance its overall co-operation with UN institutions, including through visits by other Special Rapporteurs and UN officials.