Sheikh Akhtari urges int’l community to take responsibilities over Bahraini crisis

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SHAFAQNA – Following the approach of Sheikh Isa Qasim’s trial by Al-Khalifa regime Secretary General of the AhlulBayt World Assembly Sheikh Muhammad Akhtari has written a letter to High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

Part of the letter: “Unfortunately, the international community has not given the Bahraini crisis due attention and the criticism is valid that this ongoing violation of human rights and the intensification of the suppression of the protestors in Bahrain is happening in the silence and neglect of the international community and due to the support of certain countries.”

Full text of the letter is as follows:

As you know, Bahrain has fallen into a social-political crisis since the start of peaceful protests on February 14, 2011. The crisis has not only continued, it has complicated due to the regimes hostile approach towards the issue.

Bahrain currently has the highest number of political prisoners in the region despite it being the smallest and least populated country in the region. Four thousand people have been imprisoned and are being tortured physically and psychologically for protesting the status quo in their country. This has led to international legal bodies including the Human Rights Watch and the United States’ Department of State to warn against the human rights situation in Bahrain.

Since the begin in of the crisis, the Bahraini government has tried to paint the demands of its people for their civil rights as sectarian. The destruction of tens of mosques and places of worship for fabricated accusations; preventing and limiting religious ceremonies; removing religious symbols which are deeply routed in the history and culture of the Bahraini people; the summoning of numerous scholars and preachers; arranged court cases and imprisoning religious and political leaders respected by the masses; preventing 120 clerics from delivering religious speeches; and in their latest attempt interfering in Islamic rulings and revoking the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qasim, the religious leader of the Shias of Bahrain are some of the measures taken by the regime in Bahrain against the national identity and religious belief of the dominant majority of its population. A majority who, despite having the strongest routs in Bahrain, have minimal civil rights.

Despite the repeated recommendations of the international community for reform, the halt of human rights violations and returning to a political dialog to resolve differences, the Bahraini regime has not only not paid any head to fulfilling these recommendations but has made conditions worse than ever before. Although the Bahraini governments vows to adhere to international conventions, the recommendations of the UNHRC in Geneva and the independent fact-finding committee lead by Dr. Basyouni have been neglected and except for ineffective and superficial measures no positive change has occurred in Bahrain.

Revoking the citizenship of over 250 Bahraini citizens over dubious charges, which is in violation of articles 15 of the UDHR which states that “everyone has the right to a nationality,” and that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality”; arresting and prosecuting human rights activists; preventing free speech and religion; banning peaceful congregations; arbitrary detentions; and preventing protestors and victims of human rights violations from leaving the country are all showing the continued systematic violation of human rights in
Bahrain.

Dear Madam,

The Bahraini government has tried Sheikh Isa Qassim in his absence and without any defense for “money laundering” and will give its final verdict on March 14.  It is predicted that he will be deported/exiled before the sentencing.

This is happening while we see a sixth year of an illegal occupation of Bahrain by Saudi armed forces. The military forces known as the Peninsula Shield Force attacked this country and, in addition to suppressing the peaceful protests and terrorizing the defenseless people, it has arrested many human rights activists and dissolved political organizations and social institutions. This unfortunate behavior by an alien occupying force has continued up to date.

Unfortunately, the international community has not given the Bahraini crisis due attention and the criticism is valid that this ongoing violation of human rights and the intensification of the suppression of the protestors in Bahrain is happening in the silence and neglect of the international community and due to the support of certain countries.

The fact that the peaceful protest of the Bahraini people has not bared any cost on the international community should not cause neglect towards the crisis. It is feared that the Bahraini government may take actions under international disregard that will cause the protest to no longer be peaceful.

The Bahraini regime is attacking the identity, beliefs, and rites of the majority of the Bahraini society and the inevitable result of that is nothing but sectarian conflict. Without a doubt, such a conflict will not be limited to the national borders of Bahrain but will bear regional consequences.

Dear Madam,

It is expected that the international community takes its responsibilities as per the charter of the United Nations and various international conventions seriously. That is, that by having an accurate understanding of the crisis in Bahrain and its consequences including a lasting sectarian conflict in Bahrain and the region, and in order to prevent systematic violation of human rights as well as religious and sectarian persecution and to preserve international peace and security, the international community must act based on its responsibilities in order that the opportunity for peaceful reform in Bahrain is not lost.

Considering the ongoing trend and the possible raid against Sheikh Isa Qassim who has had a very positive role in preventing violence and extremism in Bahrain, it is of utmost importance that the necessary measures are taken to prevent any such raid and to ensure in his prosecution he is granted his full rights and that his citizenship is reinstated with hast.

Ms. Mogherini,

The AhlulBayt World Assembly, as an NGO which is active in social, cultural, propagational, human, and religious matters, and which has over 300 million followers of the Household of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him and them) under its coverage, is hereby warning the international community against the suppression conducted by the Al Khalifa regime in Bahrain.

These actions will lead to the increase of violence in that country and will have catastrophic results.

We believe any aggressive action against the religious leader of the Muslims in Bahrain, his eminence Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, especially the unwise decision to exile or imprison him will lead to tension and bloodshed in that country.

It is thus deemed necessary that your respected self, the High Representative of the European Union of Foreign Affairs, take effective preventive action before March 14 and advise the Bahraini government to ensure security, peace and stability in the region by accepting democracy, respecting civil rights, and granting the Bahraini people the right to vote.

It is evident that the continuation of the current approach will cause the situation to intensify and will have no outcome other than the change in approach by the people in their protests and this will lead to an obscure outlook for Bahrain and the region.  We emphasize that any form of neglect and lack of appropriate and timed action could lead to a human catastrophe and cause bloodshed towards people. Thus, we request for you to take immediate action.

Respectfully,
Mohammad H.Akhtari
Secretary General of the AhlulBayt World Assembly

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