Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman to RFI: Once I Set Foot in Bahrain, Authorities would Ban my Travel if not Arrest Me
2017-05-18 - 2:12 p
Bahrain Mirror: In an interview with Radio France Internationale (RFI), Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman noted that meeting with other religious clerics who call for dialogue and respect for political rights is becoming more difficult in Bahrain. He clarified that the Bahraini authorities are banning all forms of civil activities.
"The Bahraini government has never supported initiatives aimed at bringing communities together, and has canceled some of them, such as group prayers and joint meetings," the religious freedom activist stated.
Moreover, Sheikh Al-Salman noted that "President Obama announced on May 19, 2011 that Coptic churches should not be burned in Egypt and that the Shiite mosques in Bahrain should not be demolished." "However, since that day, the Bahraini government demolished 38 Shiite mosques, one of them dates back to 1549, while a number of historical mosques were also demolished," he went on to say.
Sheikh Maytham noted in his interview that the Shiites, who represented between 65% to 70% of the citizens in Bahrain, suffer from discrimination and marginalization, stressing that their demands are democratic.
"Authorities opened the door for religious clerics that use media to incite hatred against those who demands more democracy (...) and to create sectarian division that negatively affects the national structure," he went on to say.
He further voices his concern regarding the health status of prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, especially after he underwent a medical surgery and was then forced back to Prison.
"It is clear that Nabeel Rajab is a victim of government reprisal against human rights defenders," Sheikh Maytham said.
He clarified that the best way to judge the human rights situation in any state is through monitoring the status of its human rights defenders, and therefore, based on what Nabeel Rajab and other activists are suffering from, the situation in Bahrain is not good.
"Human rights defenders in Bahrain are either in prison, not allowed to travel, or in exile," he said, adding that he "has been summoned for interrogation more than 26 times in the past 18 months."
"In the Universal Period Review of Human Rights held in Geneva, we did not see any human rights defenders from Bahrain, while in 2012 we had 47 participants," Sheikh Salman said.
Sheikh Maytham reasserted that "once he sets foot in Bahrain, the authorities will prevent him from leaving, if not arrest him."
In this context, Sheikh Al-Salman expressed his regret that the international community doesn't condemn the crackdown against human rights defenders in Bahrain more firmly, stressing that "dialogue alone can achieve stability in the country."
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