Bahrain leaves 31 activists stateless

Nov. 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

MANAMA, Bahrain, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The government in Bahrain announced it revoked the citizenship of 31 people whom officials said were considered national security threats.

The government, through its official Bahrain News Agency, said it reserved the right to revoke citizenship according to a law that "permits the re-evaluation of nationality when a holder of the Bahraini citizenship causes damage to state security."

The list of those stripped of their citizenship includes Jawad Fairouz, whom CNN identifies as a former member of Bahrain's Parliament from Shiite opposition movement, al-Wefaq.

In late October, Bahrain Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa announced the government enacted a temporary ban on public demonstrations, saying the right to peaceful assembly was abused by some groups in the country. It had blamed some of the unrest on al-Wefaq supporters.

Bahrain was criticized for its crackdown on opposition protests last year but said it was committed to reforms outlined by an independent commission probing the government's response to the unrest.

Amnesty International described Wednesday's decision by Bahrain as "frightening and chilling."

"The authorities have provided the vaguest of reasons for the deprivation of nationality, which appears to have been taken on the basis of the victims' political views," said Philip Luther, director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, in a statement.

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