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Statement on the Anniversary of the Arrest of Ebrahim Sharif and Other Prisoners of Conscience
Categary : Statements

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2013-03-27 21:32:35




 

 

The 17th of March, 2013 marks the second anniversary of the arrest of activist and political leaderEbrahim Sharif Al Sayed, Secretary General of National Democratic Action Society (Waad). It also marks the commencement of an arrests campaign against various political and human rights  figures.  The arrested figures are renowned for their political, human rights and nationalistic activism, as well as their deep rooted commitment to peacefulness in the defence of citizens’ rights.  None of these activists and leaders have committed any violent or criminal acts, yet have nonetheless been targeted by security forces due to their involvement in the popular protests during 14 February 2011’s massuprising. These activists and leaders have done nothing but voice their opinion through public speeches and open forums, encouraging people to choose their political system via peaceful means and through a popular referendum.

 

With the arbitrary arrests of thousands of protestors, the so-called “National Safety” status was imposed, which was the equivalent of a State Security state of emergency but of a magnitude never experienced by Bahrain in recent history.  During this period, rampant and unfettered infringements of human rights, collective punishment and revenge in villages took place, along with extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary dismissals from work, media incitement and provocation occurred unchecked and without any official attempt to stop these acts.

 

On this painful anniversary, Waad takes the opportunity to reiterate the following:

 

Firstly:  Ebrahim Sharif Al Sayed, Secretary General of Waad, is a political leader with deep rooted nationalist ideologies and affiliations from the beginnings of his involvement in secret political work in the seventies.  He is renowned for his allegiance to liberal political ideologies which opposereligious states, and he is a member of the Sunni community.  Accordingly, the National Security Apparatus’ claims against him stipulating that he believes in the principle of guardianship of Shiitereligious jurists as a form of political governance “welayat al faqih”. Thus, accusations of his affiliation with a group that believes in the establishment of an Islamic republic under the rule of Iran, and his supposed financial support of these causes through the use of the Shiite “Al khoms” are laughable.  Such ridiculous claims only serve to demonstrate that the body orchestrating such fabricated allegations is ignorant of Ebrahim Sharif’s political history and is extremely inefficient and unprofessional to the extent of fabricating malicious charges that no sane person can believe.

 

Furthermore, it is entirely illogical and inconceivable for Ebrahim Sharif to be accused of being linked to any foreign country, particularly seeing as his political society (Waad) has categorically rejected all allegations pertaining to allegiance to Iran and confirmed its unquestionable commitment to Arab nationalism.  Nonetheless, the judiciary disregarded this fact entirely, despite Sharif’s clear stance in this regard, and relied solely on “evidentiary proof” submitted by the military prosecution consisting of so-called “confessions” despite being proven to have been obtained under torture.  Additionally, they purported to rely on speeches and recordings after selective and intentional censoring and manipulation which removed all references to the adoption of peaceful means to achieve demands.  They also relied on testimonies and reports produced by National Security Apparatus officers, who had executed the arrest warrants, conducted the investigations and weredirectly involved in the torture as confirmed by Sharif and the other political leaders before the court.

 

Secondly:  Ebrahim Sharif’s arrest came as a vengeful retaliation and is in no way based on anyethical or moral grounds, from a regime that does not believe in difference of opinion nor transparency in conduct.  Ebrahim Sharif, since assuming the position of Secretary General of Waad and throughout his parliamentary election campaigns in Muharraq and Um Al Hassam, has been a nationalistic voice always calling for unity and vehemently rejecting all types of discrimination.  He also relies on precise economic, financial analysis and data to uncover vast corruption pertaining tomisappropriation of lands and public wealth, in addition to burgeoning secret budgets for multipleroyal courts.  All of the aforementioned have been the prime reason for his arrest, torture and false charges of foreign links levied against him without any supporting evidence.

 

Thirdly:  The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report and recommendationsconfirmed the innocence of the political leaders, including Sharif, and considered them prisoners of conscience.  Furthermore, the report stated that the military trials did not comply with the standards of a fair trial (Paragraphs 1701-1720). This report was accepted by HM the King, who publicallycommitted to the full implementation of its recommendations. To date, the release of political prisoners -as a clear recommendation that would ultimately demonstrate the regime’s sincerity in respecting its undertakings before the local and international community- is still being stalled,manipulated and is a far from being implemented.

 

Fourthly: The judiciary completely disregarded the first verdict issued by the Court of Cassation on 30 April, 2012, which stipulates the revocation of the military court ruling.  This revocation was based on the fact that the military court’s verdict lacked the necessary moral and material elements of the alleged crimes and had failed to demonstrate, using evidence, the presence of these elements.  Thecharges of toppling the regime using force, terrorism, illegal means or establishment of a terrorist cell and collaborating with foreign countries were not examined in full detail and no evidence was submitted in court to establish any of these charges.  Accordingly, the Court of Cassation in the first instance found the ruling of the military courts deficient and lacking, which necessitates its full revocation and correction on the basis of its contravention of the text of the law and its implementation.

 

Fifthly:  Despite the confirmation of the BICI report with regards to the non-compliance of the military courts with the standards of a fair trial (Paragraphs 1701-1720), Ebrahim Sharif’s detention along with the other prisoners of conscience continues in total disregard of their innocence, the lack of evidence and justifications for the validity of charges imposed by the judiciary and amidstinsubstantial and weak statements made by Public Prosecution.  Additionally, their unlawful detention continues despite the court’s decision to dispense with hearing defence witnesses and the appointment of replacement lawyers, in blatant contravention of Article 20(e), which states, “every person accused of an offence must have a lawyer to defend him with his consent”.  Accordingly, local, regional and international human rights organisations and parties will pursue the reinstatement of the rights of these prisoners of conscience and their retrials to confirm their vindication, thereby offering them official restitution, compensation and accountability for those who tarnished their names.

 

Sixthly:  The BICI’s report recommended in Paragraph 1291 the revocation of all verdicts and punishments against those who have been accused of committing non-violent crimes relating to political expression. For that reason, these prisoners of conscience should have been released immediately after the issuance of the report as opposed to the continuation of their arbitrary detentionin this manner.  The report was clear on the fact that the perpetrators of all infringements and torture against all detainees and prisoners of conscience, including Ebrahim Sharif, must be held accountable for their heinous acts.  The report referred to various testimonies from prisoners, including that of Sharif, which contained details of the mistreatment they have endured and violation of their rights and dignity.  Therefore, this recommendation should be implemented immediately without further delay as is the case with other recommendations the regime is currently refusing to implement.

 

Seventhly:  For the current dialogue taking place between the regime and the opposition to succeed in spite of the efforts made to stifle positive outcomes, the detained political leaders must participate, with Ebrahim Sharif in the forefront as the Secretary General of Waad. For any national dialogue to succeed, all factions of social and political societies must be allowed to participate, which is what the regime has claimed. The detained political leaders and human rights activists are an integral part of this society and hence, have the right to participate in this dialogue.  This would be the case if the intent to achieve a successful dialogue with serious outcomes is genuine.

 

Glory and immortality to our martyrs.  Shame and disgrace to torturers and human rightsabusers.

 

Power to our people in their plight for a society built on rights, justice, freedom, equality, social justice and true democracy.

 

 

The Political Office

National Democratic Action Society (Waad)

17 March 2013

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

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