The Bahrain High Civil Court on Sunday ordered al-Wefaq [party website], the main Shiite opposition group in the country, to be dissolved. The Bahraini court previously issued a three-month suspension of the group [JURIST report]. The court found that the group has engaged [Al Jazeera] in “terrorism, extremism, and violence.” The ban was pending this verdict to determine whether it will be required to dissolve or allowed to continue. The dissolution order requires al-Wefaq’s assets to be liquidated and transferred to the state treasury. Additionally, the order has sparked criticism from many sources, such as UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, as being repressive and preventing political freedom [official statement].
The kingdom of Bahrain is considered an ally of the US but has faced growing international concerns about its human rights practices. A UN human rights adviser called [JURIST report] on Bahrain in June to ensure human rights are respected following protests triggered by the decision to strip Sheikh Issa Qassem, a prominent Shia religious leader, of his nationality. In February Bahraini authorities arrested [JURIST report] four US journalists covering the five-year anniversary of the nation’s 2011 uprising and formally charged them. Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported in February that nearly five years after Bahrain’s Day of Rage [BBC report], protests sparked [JURIST report] international concern over Bahraini government accountability in human rights, and the hope for reform has dwindled.