03 March 2019 - 23:52
News ID: 443709
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An independent human rights group says Bahraini officials are exploiting anti-terror laws to suffocate freedom of speech and silence voices critical of the ruling Al Khalifah regime as Manama presses ahead with its crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners in the kingdom.

RNA - Speaking at the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva on Friday, Clara Sanchez Lopez with Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain said that Manama was “using its broad and vague counter-terror laws to criminalize free expression and … dissent.”

She also expressed serious concern over Bahrain’s abuse of such legislation “to restrict civil and political space in the kingdom by targeting human rights defenders and activists.”

“The Bahraini government has effectively dissolved political opposition under the guise of countering terrorism and using false terror charges. Prominent Bahraini human rights defenders are also serving prison time on false terror charges,” Lopez added.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

According to Press TV, Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.

Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.

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