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British parliamentary petition: Bahrain elections lack legitimacy

A parliamentary petition presented in the British House of Commons called for the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience ahead of the alleged parliamentary elections in Bahrain.

The European Observatory for Middle East Policies said that three members had signed the petition without any amendments.

The petition stated that the parliamentary elections would be held in Bahrain “amidst the ongoing repression” in light of the continued arrest of prominent opposition figures, including Hassan Mushaima, Abdul Jalil Al-Singace, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Abdul-Wahhab Hussain and Sheikh Muhammad Habib Al-Miqdad.

It explained that they are serving life imprisonment behind bars in Bahrain’s prisons for their role in the 2011 pro-democracy uprising in the country alongside Al-Wefaq group leader Sheikh Ali Salman, despite international calls for release.

In addition, the petition raised concerns that Bahrain’s 2018 Political Isolation Law prevents members of dissolved political societies and sentences individuals from running for office or voting, even if they have been pardoned.

It also highlighted that tens of thousands of people would be unable to run for elections due to this legislation.

The petition denounced the Bahraini Public Prosecution’s threats that anyone calling for a boycott of the elections would face imprisonment and a fine.

It cautioned that the Bahraini parliament lacks the legislative authority to scrutinize ministers or government officials effectively in light of the Bahrain elections’ lack of legitimacy and a mockery of democratic principles.

The parliamentary petition called on Bahrain to release opposition leaders and all political prisoners and death row prisoners highlighted in the latest report issued by the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and Human Rights Watch ahead of the elections.

It called on the government not to recognize the outcome of these elections and urged Bahrain to immediately and unconditionally release all opposition figures and repeal the repressive political isolation law.

A few days ago, the opposition Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society reviewed, in a recently issued pamphlet, 139 reasons for boycotting the sham parliamentary elections being conducted by the regime in Bahrain during a stifling constitutional, political and human rights crisis.

The 139 reasons included all the legal and constitutional flaws, the lack of the electoral process on the minimum elements of justice and institutionalization, and its lack of all the basic foundations for scientifically expressing the will of the citizens.

The reasons were presented based on different dimensions and angles of the experience, resulting in a formal and unrepresentative council that cannot accomplish anything.

According to Al-Wefaq, the summary concluded that any council that emerges from these elections would only represent the government.

Among the reasons presented by the opposition association is the parliament’s loss of the ability to protect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and its forced acceptance of the executive authority’s mistakes and infringements on freedom of expression. Parliament is often a partner in restricting freedoms.

They also included the regime’s rejection of dialogue with citizens and political and social existences, in addition to controlling religious pulpits and mosques and directing them to serve the policies of the authority, and the exacerbation of discrimination, as the state was built based on tribal, sectarian and sectarian discrimination, and this does not produce a state.

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