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Netherlands Should Form Committee of Inquiry in Case of Bahraini Citizen Ali Al-Shuwaikh: Salam

2019-03-06 - 10:49 p

Bahrain Mirror: Salam for Democracy and Human Rights demanded the Dutch authorities to form a committee of inquiry into the reasons for rejecting Ali Al-Shuwaikh's asylum request and the reasons for not allowing him to travel to a country other than Bahrain, where he was sentenced to life in jail and revoked of his nationality.

The organization said in a statement "On February 28, 2019, the Supreme Criminal Court of Bahrain sentenced Bahraini citizen Ali Mohammed Al-Shuwaikh to life imprisonment and the revocation of his citizenship. He was tried under the "Protecting Society from Terrorist Acts" law, known locally as the Terrorism Act, a law condemned by the United Nations committees and human rights organizations for violating international human rights standards."

"Ali Al-Shuwaikh participated in popular protests and rallies that broke out in February 2011 that demanded political and civilian rights. The public prosecution brought against him different charges. In February 2017, Ali Al-Shuwaikh was able to leave Bahrain and eventually arrived in the Netherlands, where he applied for political asylum. On October 20, 2018, the authorities in Netherland forcibly deported him to Bahrain after they refused his asylum request. Al-Shuwaikh asked the authorities to deport him to any country other than Bahrain, where he feared for his fate. He also feared being subjected to torture and forced confessions, and then unfair sentences from the non-independent judiciary," it added.

Salam continued "Upon his arrival at Bahrain Airport on October 20, 2018, the Bahraini authorities arrested Al-Shuwaikh and detained him without him being able to communicate and meet with his lawyer. The Criminal Investigations Unit held him for 11 days before he was transferred to Dry Dock Prison and forced to sign confessions under torture. The prison administration allowed the Al-Shuwaikh's family to visit him for the first time in Dry Dock Prison on November 4, 2018. On February 28, 2019, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, the revocation of his citizenship and a fine of BD 500. The court did not investigate Al-Shuwaikh's claims that he was forced to sign confessions. The court did not allow the representative of the Dutch diplomat, who came from Kuwait to attend the trial in January 2018, which was public. The court guard prevented the Dutch diplomatic, "France Butte," from entering the courtroom."

The organization believes that the Dutch authorities bear part of the responsibility for what happened to Al-Shuwaikh, given that he was refused asylum there in October 2018. They claimed that he was unable to prove he was at risk of persecution if deported to Bahrain, which is what happened. The Dutch authorities also bear responsibility since they did not allow the victim to choose the country he wished to travel to other than Bahrain. His passport was valid at that time.

Salam stressed that "the international community, including the Netherlands, must be aware of the serious risks involved by extraditing victims fleeing persecution from their own countries such as Bahrain, where fair trials are absent."

It hoped that "the Dutch authorities will form a committee of inquiry into the reasons for rejecting Al-Shuwaikh's asylum application and the reasons for not allowing him to travel to a country other than Bahrain. We also call upon the Bahraini authorities to stop trying and imprisoning their opponents, including following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted under torture. "

Salam urged the Bahraini authorities to correct their poor human rights record, by immediately releasing of all prisoners of conscience, dropping all charges against them and compensating them for all damages they have suffered. We also call on them to repeal unfair laws that violate international law, to ensure the separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers and the independence of the judiciary.

Arabic Version