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Political Dissident Extradited to Bahrain Faces Life in Prison

Ahmad Jaffer Ali Muhammad was extradited on 24th January. The 48-year-old man was sued by Bahrain for terrorism and murder. However, several NGOs – including Human Rights Watch – have stated that Muhammad is a political dissident who was arrested and tortured by Bahraini authorities after several protests he took part in. ACHRS condemns his extradition.

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Muhammad left Bahrain after the 2011 uprising that led many Bahrainis to the street. Following the Tunisian and Egyptian revolution, young Bahrainis were asking for more freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights. However, the protests were severely repressed by the government – with the help of Saudi and Emirati forces – killing 93 civilians, arresting 2.929 others, and forcing 500 Bahrainis to exile.

Muhammad was sentenced to life in prison twice by a Bahraini court who also stripped him of his citizenship. Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), claimed that “this scandalous extradition by the Serbian government that condemns someone to torture and life imprisonment is utterly devastating. Ahmed, the victim of sham trials has already suffered torture at the hands of Bahraini officials and now fears violent interrogation and abuse.”

The Serbian authorities arrested the Bahraini political dissident based on an Interpol Red Notice. The international police organization is accused, by Human Rights Watch and other NGOs, of ignoring criticism of the abusive use of the Interpol Red Notice by authoritarian regimes.

He was arrested by Serbian police, a country where he found shelter after fleeing Bahrain. The European Court of Human Rights called Belgrade authorities to suspend Muhammad’s extradition who could face “possible risks of torture and/or ill-treatment” and published a ruling that prohibited its extradition. The extradition might be the following of the visit of Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic to Bahrain in March 2021. Serbia has not respected its international commitment by breaching the European Convention of Human Rights. Furthermore, hundreds of protesters have been prosecuted after the 2011 uprising and according to BIRD, the death sentences in Bahrain have risen by more than 600% in the decade following the 2011 uprising. 88% of the executed were convicted of “terror”, which underlines the strategy used by Bahraini authorities that consists in using “terrorism” as an excuse to target and silence dissidents and opposition figures.

ACHRS condemns Muhammad’s extradition who now faces life in prison in Bahrain; no political dissident should be repressed that violently. Moreover, Serbia should justify what led the authorities of the country not to take into account the ruling published by the ECHR that prohibited Muhammad’s extradition.

Image Source: Ahmed Jadallah

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