Al-Wefaq was Bahrain’s largest political society, its most popular. Last July, it was suspended and dissolved.
The National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) is the country’s leading secular opposition. Last Monday, the ruling al-Khalifa regime began legal proceedings to dissolve it over fabricated claims about “incit(ing) acts of terrorism and promoting violent and forceful overthrow of the political regime” – no evidence presented, nothing suggesting accusations are credible.
The despotic al-Khalifa monarchy wants all challenges to its ruthless rule eliminated. Groups and individuals critical of the regime are ruthlessly targeted.
Numerous political prisoners languish under horrific conditions, brutally tortured and ill-treated, others extrajudicially executed. Human rights champions are especially vulnerable.
Prominent activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was imprisoned for life. Noted human rights champion Nabeel Rajab faces imprisonment again.
In 2011, Wa’ad leader Ebrahim Sharif was wrongfully arrested, prosecuted, convicted, imprisoned and brutally tortured. At the time, the group was suspended, its offices closed, its web site blocked, on charges of “critic(izing) the armed forces and
disseminating false news to cause sedition and divisions between citizens.”
Twice its offices were vandalized and set ablaze. Member Munura Fakhro’s home was attacked. Wa’ad and Al-Wefaq were earlier suspended in 2014 ahead of farcical elections to Bahrain’s rubber-stamp parliament.
According to the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy’s advocacy director Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei, “(t)he dissolution of Wa’ad would mean the government’s complete destruction of the peaceful opposition…”
“It would also represent a coup de grace in what has been an unrelenting attack on the country’s political space over the last year, as well as a complete termination of all formal avenues for expressing dissent or the right to free political association.”
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain executive director Husain Abdulla said it’s “no coincidence that…in the last two months,” alone, the regime “commit(ted) some of the most flagrant violations of basic civil, political, and human rights we’ve seen since 2011.”
“The disturbing disdain for human rights and international institutions expressed by the new US president, coupled with the general effort to mute international criticism led by Bahrain’s other key ally in the UK, has generated an emboldened Manama that feels completely secure in eliminating any legitimate challenge to the repressive status quo.”
The regime governs ruthlessly – with full support and encouragement from Washington, Britain, its Saudi neighbor and other rogue states.