Keen to hear the Irish Governments reaction to the arrest of Khalil Al Marzooq two weeks ago in Bahrain, when he was accused of inciting terrorism and violence and supposedly supporting a terror cell? He was remanded in custody for 30 days while the case is built against him.
This is a man who is internationally known and respected for his outspokenness for civil rights and as an advocate for peaceful democratic reform, and his party, AlWefaq, is a signatory of the Non Violent Treaty.
Al Marzooq is a prominent former Deputy Speaker of Parliament and member of the Council of Representatives and served as first deputy chairman. He resigned from his seat in Parliament, along with 17 other members of Al Wefaq, in protest following the government crackdown in 2011. Subsequently he led negotiations with the government in the Bahrain National Dialogue; however the opposition has recently withdrawn in dismay from these sham negotiations, which the Government are lauding internationally, while they have now arrested the second most important figure in the opposition party who is a key figure in that same dialogue. This is a clear indication of their attitude to the peace talks.
The Bahraini Authorities are also filing a law suit against the Shia Council, the main religious body for the Shia majority in the country, and trying to shut it down in an extreme act of sectarianism, this against the back drop of the plans for the Arab Human Rights Court to be based in Manama.
We are approaching the 2nd anniversary of the BICI Report which was lauded by the International Community as ground breaking, however nothing has been properly implemented and it has been proven as another cosmetic ruse. Case in point is the mass sentencing on Sunday of 95 civilians to between 3-15 years, including women and children. A shocking 808 year combined total and with these charges allegedly fabricated through coerced confessions under torture.
In this instance the same judges were used during the military courts which were criticised by the BICI and yet the current court systems uses these same judges and kangaroo system.
Evidently the authorities are stepping up and escalating their repression in a bid to wipe out all opposition voices and figures. What is Ireland doing to address this or to use the Irish Experience to help the Regime understand that peaceful dialogue is the only way for peaceful reconciliation? We achieved a chair on the Human Rights Council at the same time as them, surelythere's a burden of responsibility to have more than a quiet word?
As Obama said in 2011, there can be no proper dialogue until those who should be involved in it are released from prison. We call on the Bahraini Authorities to end the rampant and brutal violations against the people and replace the negative atmosphere in the country with some clear commitment to progress by releasing the pro reform demonstrators and opposition figures.