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KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN:
STATELESS LAWYER AT IMMINENT RISK OF EXPULSION

Update info:
30 May 2016
Country:
KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN
Subject:
Taimoor Karimi
Gender m/f: m
Period:
5 Jul 2016
Distribution date:
30 May 2016
UA No:
124/2016

Bahraini lawyer, Taimoor Karimi, was stripped of his nationality in 2012 and has been effectively rendered stateless. He is at risk of imminent expulsion after the Appeal Court in Manama upheld his sentence on 23 May.

Bahraini lawyer Taimoor Karimi had his expulsion sentence upheld on 23 May by the Appeal Court in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. He may be expelled at any time and he has not been informed of the country where he will be expelled to.

Taimoor Karimi was among a group of 31 people who had their nationality revoked on 7 November 2012 by the Ministry of Interior for “harming” state security under Article 10 (Paragraph C) of the Bahrain Citizenship Law. The 31 included activists living abroad, a lawyer, a number of people active in politics within Bahrain, a number of Shi’a clerics and others with no known political or religious affiliation. They were never officially notified of this decision, and learned about it from the media the day it was announced. Most of those living in Bahrain, including Taimoor Karimi, do not have another nationality and have been effectively rendered stateless. On 28 October 2014 a Court of First Instance sentenced them to be expelled and ordered them to pay a 100 Bahraini Dinar fine (about US$ 265). A number of the 31 appealed the sentence.

The right to a nationality, which must not be deprived arbitrarily, is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Bahrain is a state party. The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness also prohibits, bar a very small number of tightly drawn exceptions, any loss of nationality which results in statelessness. Subsequently, the obligation to avoid statelessness has been recognized as a norm of customary international law. International human rights law and standards also prohibit arbitrary deportation and the exiling of persons from their own country.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The government forced one of the 31 people who had their nationality revoked on 7 November 2012, Shaikh Hussain al-Najati, to leave Bahrain on 23 April 2014. A lower court had ordered that those still remaining in Bahrain who only have Bahraini nationality to be deported on 28 October 2014. Their lawyers lodged an appeal the next day, and the deportation order has been halted until the court issues its verdict. On 8 March 2016 the Appeal Court upheld Ibrahim Karimi’s expulsion order. Ibrahim Karimi, who has been rendered stateless, will be at immediate risk of expulsion from Bahrain once he completes his to two years and one month in prison on charges including “publicly insulting the King”, which he denied. See: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde11/3860/2016/en/.

The Ministry of Interior has arbitrarily revoked the nationality of hundreds of people since 2012. In a statement issued on 31 January 2015 the Ministry of Interior said it had withdrawn the Bahraini nationality of 72 people involved in “illegal acts”. The 72 included former MPs, doctors, human rights activists and political opponents who have been forced to live abroad because of their anti-government activities which would put them at risk of arbitrary detention, torture or other ill-treatment. One of them, Farahat Khursheed Afrah Khursheed, was denied entry at Bahrain International Airport on 5 February 2015 and forced to leave the country. That day, two other members of the group, cleric Muhamad Hassan Ali Hussain Khojasat and engineer Masaud Jahromi, were told to hand in their passports and ID cards at the Immigration Office and to sign documents confirming that they needed to regularize their legal status as they were now considered foreigners, and that if they did not regularize their legal status they would be forced to leave the country. The list of 72 Bahraini citizens also included a number of people the government accused of fighting for the armed group calling itself the Islamic State.

In recent years amendments to Bahraini law in recent years have also broadened the reasons for which an individual could have his or her nationality revoked. This now includes “anyone whose acts contravene his duty of loyalty to the Kingdom”.

Article 15 (1) and (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that everyone has the right to a nationality. It further specifies that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality. The requirement of due process and non-arbitrariness is also enshrined in the Bahraini Constitution, of which Article 17 (a) states that the “Bahraini nationality shall be determined by law. A person inherently enjoying his Bahraini nationality cannot be stripped of his nationality except in case of treason and such other cases as prescribed by law”.

Discriminatory revocation of nationality is specifically prohibited by Article 5 D (iii) of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Bahrain is a state party.

UA: 124/16 Index: MDE 11/4091/2016 Issue Date: 24 May 2016

Take action

Please write immediately in Arabic English, or your own language:

  • Urging the Bahraini authorities not to proceed with the expulsion of Taimoor Karimi;
  • Urging them to rescind the decision to strip him of his nationality.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 5 JULY 2016 TO:
King
Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa
Office of His Majesty the King
P.O. Box 555
Rifa’a Palace, al-Manama
Bahrain
Fax: +973 1766 4587
Salutation: Your Majesty

Ministry of Interior
Shaikh Rashid bin ‘Abdullah Al Khalifa
P.O. Box 13, al-Manama
Bahrain
Fax: +973 1723 2661
Email: info@interior.gov.bh
Twitter: @moi_Bahrain
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Shaikh Khaled bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa
Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
P. O. Box 450, al-Manama, Bahrain
Fax: +973 1753 1284
Email (via website): http://www.moj.gov.bh/en/default76a7.html?action=category&ID=159
Twitter: @Khaled_Bin_Ali

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.