Bahrain Forum monitors 54 violations of religious freedom during the Ashura season this year

The Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) said that from September 1 to 8, 2019, it had observed 54 violations of freedom of religion and belief of Shia Muslims in the Ashura season in Bahrain.

In a statement on Monday 9 September 2019, the Forum pointed out that the violations were related to the harassment of the Ashura commemorations, including vandalism and confiscation of banners and Ashura flags (11 cases), the arrest of preachers and a procession official (4 cases), and summoning preachers and elegists to security centers for interrogation for the content of their speeches or poems in Husseiniyahs (39 cases).

The Forum pointed out that the security authorities adopt a methodology to undermine religious freedoms as a policy of collective punishment, leading to the attempt to impose official customs that criminalize some religious practices and rights.

Bahraini authorities used their legal powers to investigate or prosecute as tools of intimidation and punishment against preachers and religious minors, thus restricting their freedom. Freedom of expression in general is guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Articles 18 and 19.

The Forum pointed out that the Bahraini areas that have been subjected to violations related to the assault on Ashura are as follows: Al-Musalla, Al-Markh, Karbabad, Hamad Town, Jurdab, Shakhura, Buri, Nabih Saleh, Karzakan, Al-Balad.

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