Bahrain’s government has revoked the citizenships of 72 people convicted of “harming the interests of the kingdom” in demonstrations against the state.The official Bahrain news agency said on Saturday that the group’s nationalities had been rescinded to “preserve security and stability and fight the danger of terrorist threats”.
It is the largest group of Bahrainis to be stripped of their nationality under a 2013 law that punishes those convicted of “terrorist” acts.
Last November, three Shia were sentenced to 10 years in prison and stripped of their citizenship for planning an attack on police.
Their case followed that of another 18 deprived of their citizenship after the authorities in 2012 revoked the nationality of 31 Shia for “endangering state security”.
In its World Report 2015, Human Rights Watch said that Bahrain’s government has “invested itself with further powers to arbitrarily strip critics of their citizenship and the rights that attach to it.
Bahrain, ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty, has suffered unrest since a 2011 Shia-led uprising demanding a constitutional monarchy and more representative government.
At least 89 people have been killed in clashes with security forces since 2011, while hundreds have been arrested and put on trial, rights groups say.