26 October 2017 – Bahrain’s High Court of Appeals has today confirmed the asset seizure and dissolution of Wa’ad (also known as the National Democratic Action Society), the country’s largest secular, leftist opposition group. Wa’ad was the last major opposition group officially operating in Bahrain following the July 2016 dissolution of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) reiterates its total condemnation of the arbitrary decision to dissolve Wa’ad and calls on the Government of Bahrain to immediately end its attack on peaceful political opposition.
The Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs (MOJ) launched dissolution proceedings against Wa’ad on 6 March 2017, citing unsubstantiated allegations of “incitement of acts of terrorism and promoting violent and forceful overthrow of the political regime” after the society issued a statement describing Bahrain as experiencing a “constitutional political crisis.” The MOJ’s accusations also concerned Wa’ad’s “support with the Al-Wefaq” and its alleged description of the three individuals executed by the government in January 2017 – who were tortured into providing false confessions – as “martyrs.” On 31 May 2017, a lower court accepted the MOJ’s accusations and ruled to dissolve Wa’ad and seize its assets. Wa’ad appealed the decision, but it was today confirmed. According to state media, the ruling was partially based on the argument that the “society cannot claim to exercise its freedom of expression” because it reportedly fails “to recognize the constitution.” The society’s assets are now to be liquidated and “deposited into the State’s Treasury.”