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Bahrain Revokes Nationality of 13 ISIS Members, Postpones Session to Dissolve Wefaq Islamic Society | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Supporters of Bahraini activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja are seen at a gathering held at Al Wefaq Society’s headquarters in Manama in this file photo taken on February 27, 2012. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Bahrain continues its efforts to crack down on terrorism and punish those who are breaching the law and tampering with its national security to generate chaos and friction in the country.

On Thursday, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court issued a sentence against 24 defendants linked to ISIS: one defendant was sentenced to life in prison and 23 others to 15 years.

Thirteen of the defendants had also their citizenship revoked by the Bahraini court.

At the end of January 2015, Bahrain’s cabinet had revoked nationality from 22 extremists who had joined terrorist organizations, such as ISIS and Al-Nusra.

Public Prosecutor Ahmed al-Hammadi had announced yesterday the court’s decision against the 24 defendants.

In February 2015, the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Forensic Science had presented to the court documents showing that the first defendant had recruited the second and third defendants to the terrorist group.

Investigations also revealed that the first defendant had eased the travel of the second suspect to Syria, where he received military training, and that the second and third defendants were tasked to recruit more people to the group and facilitate their travel to Syria.

Investigations show that the two suspects had succeeded to recruit many Bahrainis, some of whom joined the terrorist group and participated in battles outside Bahrain.

The defendants had also used social media to incite members of the Bahrain Defense Force and the Public Security to disobey military orders and join the terrorist group.

The Public Prosecutor said investigations also showed that a group of ISIS followers in Bahrain were tasked to carry out terror acts in the country, including suicide attacks similar to the ones conducted by the terrorist group in neighboring countries.

Hammadi said that eight of the defendants were arrested and then referred to the Department of Public Prosecution, which questioned them and then decided to remand them in custody ahead of their trial.

Separately, Bahrain’s judiciary had decided to postpone the examination of a request to dissolve Wefaq National Islamic Society to Sept. 4, following a decision from the Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowment to file a lawsuit against the group, for conducting terrorist acts in Bahrain.

The Minister of Justice had requested taking all appropriate measures to dissolve the group; however, the court had decided to postpone the examination of the request to next September.

The Political Societies Affairs Office at the Justice Ministry issued a statement on Thursday saying that the ministry will present next Sunday a new request to expedite the examination of the lawsuit in accordance with the Political Societies Law which stipulates that the court shall issue its ruling on the dissolution request within a period not exceeding 30 days.

On June 14, the court had closed the four headquarters of Wefaq, which is one of the political opposition organizations in Bahrain. It also ordered the freezing of its funds and the suspension of its activities, including the closure of its electronic website.

Head of the lawyer’s team defending Wefaq, Abdallah al-Shamlawi said: “We succeeded to postpone the request to dissolve the association to a new date.”