Bahrain’s monarch has granted clemency to 1,584 individuals facing criminal and riot charges, as reported by state media on Monday. This marks the largest mass release in the Gulf nation in recent years.

The royal decree, announced through the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA), did not explicitly mention whether political detainees were among those to be freed, although a human rights organization suggested it was likely.

The statement from BNA emphasized that “this royal decree underscores His Majesty’s commitment to preserving the unity and stability of Bahraini society while safeguarding its social cohesion.” The pardons cover individuals convicted in cases related to riots and criminal offenses. The announcement comes as Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa commemorates 25 years since his accession to the throne, according to BNA.

READ MORE: Government Grants 34 Licenses for Electric Vehicle Manufacturing in Pakistan

Sayed Alwadaei, advocacy director for the UK-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), suggested that political detainees were probably included in the amnesty, noting that the term “riot” often refers to those advocating for political reforms. BIRD highlighted that this royal decree represents the largest number of pardoned detainees since the pro-democracy uprising in 2011, which saw a government crackdown following anti-government protests.

The timing of the decree coincides with the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan and frequently prompts prison pardons from leaders across the Gulf region.

Since the 2011 wave of protests, during which authorities, supported by a Saudi military contingent, quelled Shiite-led demonstrations calling for a constitutional monarchy and an elected premier, Bahrain has detained numerous dissidents.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bahrain’s interior ministry announced in 2020 the release of 1,486 prisoners, including 901 who were granted royal pardons on humanitarian grounds.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here