Rights group slams Bahrain deportations as 'illegal'

Human Rights Watch accuses authorities of carrying out illegal deportations that are tearing families apart
Rights group slams Bahrain deportations as 'illegal'
By Staff writer
Mon 21 Mar 2016 01:57 PM

Bahraini authorities have been accused of carrying out "illegal deportations", with an international rights group saying they are tearing families apart.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the country has deported five stateless Bahrainis, whom they had previously stripped of their citizenship, since February 21.

The group said another nine people stripped of their citizenship will be at risk of deportation if a court of appeal does not overturn the decision to strip them of their citizenship, which it said is based on a vague accusation that they had "damaged state security".

On December 7, 2015, the court of appeal, upholding a decision to strip eight people of their citizenship, ruled that the authorities can exercise their discretion and need not provide “specific means of proof” when revoking the citizenship of nationals who “cause harm to the state” or fail in their “duty of loyalty” to it.

“These unlawful deportations are ripping families apart and causing untold suffering,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director.

“Bahrain should stop the deportations immediately and restore citizenship to those who have been left stateless, especially when this was done without justification or because they criticised their government.”

In 2015, authorities stripped 208 Bahrainis of their citizenship, Human Rights Watch said, adding that although the Bahraini authorities have followed a legal procedure, the court of appeal’s reasoning appears to grant the authorities absolute discretion to make decisions without considering the impact on the family life of those affected, no matter how arbitrary or unreasonable.

“Bahrain’s allies can and should press Manama to end this policy of banishing peaceful dissidents,” Stork said.

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