Systematic repression in Bahrain does not exclude a segment of society but rather affects everyone who opposes tyranny and struggles for justice and rights.
Among those groups are lawyers who have turned into a permanent target of the Bahraini regime by restricting and arbitrary arresting, preventing them from practising their work without a legal basis.
In the latest development, the Appellate Disciplinary Board of the “Bahraini Court of Appeal” decided to support the Disciplinary Council for Lawyers’ decision and punish Bahraini lawyer Fatima Al-Hawaj by removing her name permanently from the list of lawyers.
Under the decision, lawyer Al-Hawaj is prohibited from practising the legal profession or reviewing cases or anything related to them unless she is a party to them as a plaintiff or defendant or creating new agencies.
Lawyer Al-Hawaj commented on the decision to remove her from the list of lawyers on Twitter permanently, “Winds will not shake mountains. My knowledge and my experience are irrevocable. I will remain advocate Fatima Al-Hawaj.”
This was preceded by issuing a decision by the Disciplinary Board of the Bahraini Ministry of Justice months ago to suspend prominent Bahraini lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi for one year from practising the legal profession over a tweet.
In a joint statement, Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy condemned the official harassment of lawyers critical of the government.
The two organizations referred to the case of lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi. They stressed that the authorities should stop using the broad provisions of the Penal Code to punish individuals simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
The Salam Organization for Democracy and Human Rights also expressed its dissatisfaction with what is happening to lawyers in general in Bahrain, “in terms of restrictions, threats and the formation of revenge cases for their role in support of truth and justice.”
In a press release, the organization stressed that the legal profession should enjoy complete independence under the United Nations principles adopted in September 1990 (the Havana Principles) regarding the role of lawyers.
It added that these basic principles guarantee full protection for lawyers’ enjoyment of independence and freedom from harassment or threats, whether individually or collectively. The legal profession has an independent syndicate and a law that organizes it and guarantees administrative and financial independence to protect it and its members.
Salam organization warned that the Bahraini Law of the Year 1980 and its amendments do not protect the legal profession and its great mission supporting truth and justice.
She said that despite the government promises to issue a new law for the legal profession, it is still suspended in the House of Representatives, “and that its draft contains many legal and human rights notes, which makes it incompatible with the Havana principles regarding the role of lawyers.”