Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa continues to target the well-known lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi and retaliate against him for defending rights activists and national opposition figures.
The minister filed a disciplinary complaint against Al-Shamlawi with the Lawyers Disciplinary Board.
He said in a letter obtained by Bahrain Mirror that it was decided to "refer lawyer Abdullah Abbas Habib Al-Shamlawi to the Lawyers Disciplinary Board for violating article 43 of the lawyers' code."
Article 43 stipulates that "any lawyer who violates the provisions of this Law, violates the duties of his profession, performs an act that undermines the honor of the profession, is to be punished by one of the following disciplinary sanctions: 1.Warning- 2.Blame- 3.Suspension from practicing his work for 3 years- 4.Crossing name from the list.
In his letter, the minister did not specify the violation Al-Shamlawi has made. The head of the High Criminal Courts Unit, Yousif Al-Naar, sent a notice demanding the presence of Al-Shamlawi and set February 8th as a date to consider the disciplinary proceedings filed by the Minister of Justice in his capacity.
The lawyers' disciplinary board which will confront the lawyer is made up of "the President of the High Civil Court, two judges of the High Court and two working lawyers determined by the Minister of Justice."
In 2020, lawyer Al-Shamlawi was subjected to retaliatory trial over two cases filed against them after he expressed his opinion on the Twitter social media platform and discussed a religious subject related to fasting in Ashura and the second case was over a tweet in which he criticized distributing housing units to newly-naturalized Asian nationals.
He was sentenced on June 30, 2020 to a 8-month jail term; a 6-month jail term was issued against him for the first case and a 2-month jail term was issued over the second case. The court also set 200 BD for halting the execution of the sentence.
In July 2020, Bahrain's Disciplinary Board of Lawyers prohibited al-Shamlawi from practicing law for one month.
"Lawyers who defend dissidents or unpopular defendants should not be targeted for reprisal by the government," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Bahrain should stop using dubious provisions in the law to harass and persecute the lawyers who defend opposition activists and human rights."
Al-Shamlawi has defended prominent opposition figures, including jailed opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, and his opposition to the authorities' decision to isolate members of opposition groups and prevent them from running in the 2018 elections, saying the decision is unconstitutional, calling it "catastrophic".