'Bahrain freedom only for praising govt.'

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Friday, 29 October 2010


Bahrain-freedomAn activist says freedom in Bahrain is only for admiring the ruling monarchy and the Shia majority will face repression if they talk of the kingdom's problems.

"Freedom is there only if you want to praise the regime ... [But] when you want fairness and equal opportunities to all; when you want the stopping of denaturalization or retaining the land that is occupied by the ruling family, then you will become terrorist, enemy to the country and so on," Saeed al-Shahabi from Bahrain Freedom Movement said in an interview with press TV on Thursday.

"What you have is absolute monarchy which wants to rule, [as it] wants everybody to be silent towards these repressive policies," he

"The rule of law is absent. The constitution is imposed by the polls and there is direction in who will appear in front of the law and who is excluded from that law," he opined.

Al-Shahabi also warned that as long as there is "discrimination against the majority who are Shia, we will continue to have this repression and oppression."

Last week, parliamentary elections were held in Bahrain, which saw thousands demonstrating against what they insist is discrimination by the Sunni-led government.

Shias say they are discriminated against in housing, health, and education, in addition to government sector jobs.

Shias comprise 70 percent of Bahrain's population, yet hold only 17 of the 40 seats in the directly-elected lower house of parliament.

Additionally, the upper house, or Shura Council, also has 40 members that are entirely appointed by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifathe and has vetoing power.

Moreover, the Bahraini king appoints all the country's ministers.

The government came down hard on the Shia opposition and human rights activists leading up to the elections in August and has reportedly arrested more than 250 dissidents that were protesting the election campaigns.


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Al-Shahabi described the elections in the Sheikhdom as "incidents that last for a week or so as we had before in 2004 and 2006 and nothing has changed."

"The rule of law is absent. The constitution is imposed by the polls and there is direction in who will appear in front of the law and who is excluded from that law," he opined.

Al-Shahabi also warned that as long as there is "discrimination against the majority who are Shia, we will continue to have this repression and oppression."

Last week, parliamentary elections were held in Bahrain, which saw thousands demonstrating against what they insist is discrimination by the Sunni-led government.

Shias say they are discriminated against in housing, health, and education, in addition to government sector jobs.

Shias comprise 70 percent of Bahrain's population, yet hold only 17 of the 40 seats in the directly-elected lower house of parliament.

Additionally, the upper house, or Shura Council, also has 40 members that are entirely appointed by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifathe and has vetoing power.

Moreover, the Bahraini king appoints all the country's ministers.

The government came down hard on the Shia opposition and human rights activists leading up to the elections in August and has reportedly arrested more than 250 dissidents that were protesting the election campaigns.


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