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Bahrain: Court upholds unlawful dissolution of major opposition political group

    January 22, 2019

    Responding to the Bahraini Court of Cassation’s decision to uphold a ruling to dissolve the opposition group National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) and confiscate its assets, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director Lynn Maalouf said:

    “The court’s decision to dissolve the opposition political group Wa’ad, a group committed to non-violence, is just the latest manifestation of how the authorities have been resorting to all means, including the judiciary, to crush any form of dissent in their country.

    “Amnesty International calls on the Bahraini authorities to ensure that Wa’ad is allowed to reopen and resume its activities without delay and uphold the rights to freedom of association and expression. The international community must also use its leverage with the Bahraini authorities to push them to put an end to their systematic crackdown on opposition, which has been going on for far too long, unchecked.”

    Background

    In May 2017, the Bahraini Court of First Instance issued a ruling to dissolve Wa'ad. In October of that year, the court of appeals upheld the decision.

    Wa’ad’s dissolution is similar to the dissolution of al-Wefaq, the largest opposition group in the country. Both were prevented from participating in the November 2018 elections, as were candidates affiliated with them.

    The Bahraini authorities prosecuted Waad for describing individuals sentenced to death as “national martyrs”.