Bahrain: Spy Agency Regains Arrest Powers

Washington

In response to the Bahrain government’s decision to restore the authority of the domestic intelligence service, the National Security Agency, to make arrests, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“Bahrain giving its intelligence agency authority to make arrests is an alarming expansion of police powers and more evidence that the Kingdom is not committed to reform,” said Dokhi Fassihian, senior program manager for Middle East and North Africa programs. “Bahrain should reverse this decision, halt its unjust harassment and detention of human rights defenders, and put into force the recommendations offered by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.”

Background:

After an armed attack on Bahrain’s Jaw prison on January 1, resulting in the death of a policeman and the freeing of several inmates, the Kingdom of Bahrain restored the ability of its domestic spy agency to make arrests related to “terror crimes.” The state-run Bahrain News Agency wrongly reported that the government was only “restricting” the nature of these arrests to terror crimes, rather than actually expanding the agency’s powers.

Bahrain is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016 and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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