2019 Roundup: Year of Bullying by Naturalized Citizens
Incidents of bullying caused by naturalized citizens and foreigners targeting Bahraini nationals made headlines in 2019. Amid national consensus on the Bahrainization of jobs as well as putting an end to the preferential treatment given to foreigners over Bahrainis in employment in both the public and private sectors, naturalized businessman Yousef Mashal of Palestinian origin had something else to say.
2019 Roundup: At Least 500 Bahrainis Arrested in Raid Campaigns (BFHR)
2019 raid campaigns resulted in the arrest of at least 500 Bahrainis, the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) noted, stressing that most of the raids were carried out at night and unlawfully.
2019 Roundup: Ali Al-Shuwaikh Extradition Case Finds Echo in The Netherlands
The case of asylum seeker Ali Al-Shuwaikh (27 years old), whom the Netherlands deported to Bahrain at the end of 2018, found an echo in 2019. The Bahraini intelligence arrested Al-Shuwaikh as soon as he arrived at the airport.
2019 Roundup: Press Freedoms in Bahrain under Gov't Fire, 86 Violations, 21 Verdicts, 16 Summonses & 9 Arrests
The year 2019 marked a turning point in the Bahraini authorities' targeting of media freedoms, freedom of expression and the right to practice journalism. It is one of the worst years ever compared to all previous years, specifically since the beginning of the political crisis in early 2011. For the first time, "Follow" and "Retweet" of Twitter accounts, deemed by the authorities "inciting and seditious", are being criminalized, making Bahrain the only country in the world to take such a step.
2019 Roundup: Gov’t Obtains One Billion, 100 Million from Citizens’ Pockets
2019 ended with more financial complications for Bahrain. There was no more room for the financial balance lie. The state hadn’t actually benefited from the retirement of thousands of its employees under the voluntary retirement program.
2019 Roundup: Loyalty not Enough for Gov’t Anymore, Sunni and Muslim Brotherhood Activists New Target of Security Apparatus in Bahrain
2019 was a gloomy year for the Al-Fateh Coalition and the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated movement. In 2019, the security services' grip expanded to reach Sunni activists, after it was previously confined to Shiites.
2019 Roundup: Two Years after being Passed, Bahrain Timidly Implements Alternative Penalty Law
On July 17, 2017, King Hamad ratified the alternative penalty law which allows the public prosecution or a judge to replace pretrial detention with commuted punishments.
2019 Roundup: Citizenship Restored to Hundreds of Bahrainis, Legal Amendments Withdraw from Judiciary Power to Revoke Citizenship
Unlike 2018, 2019 ended with imposing limits on the judiciary's power to revoke citizenships and halting their drive to strip hundreds of dissidents of their nationality under the pretext of terrorism. In 2019, the citizenships of more than 50% of people were restored.
Teachers’ Retirement Roundup: School Guards in Classes and Students Spending their Days in the Playground
The President of CSB, Ahmed bin Zayed Al-Zayed, said that in order to ensure the functioning of the course of the educational process and interest of students are not affected, it was decided that June 30, 2019 would be the last day for the employees working in educational and administrative jobs in schools, who were accepted in the voluntary retirement program.
2019 Roundup: Royal Courts War: From Public Conflict of Gov’t Wings to Accusing Opposition and Criminalizing Follow and Retweet
The unannounced truce between the Royal Court and the Prime Minister's Court didn't last long. The dispute that was publicly managed on social media outlets and that lasted for 3 months (from February until April 2018), and ended with the arrest of Mohammad Al-Shorouqi as well as others over charges of managing the “Na’eb Ta’eb” Twitter account, seems to emerge again but in another fashion.
2019 Roundup: Al-Asfour, Two Tourism Ministry Directors, Two Al-Ayyam Newspaper Journalists Dismissed for Irritating Ruling Family
In 2019, the government issued 3 decisions dismissing Bahrainis, including head of Jaffaira Endowments Sheikh Mohsen Al-Asfour and two journalists from Al-Ayyam newspaper, and officials from the tourism authority. What makes these decisions significant is that they were all taken by senior members of the ruling family or as a result of their anger.
2019 Roundup: New Demands to Publish Scholarship Results, Top Student Prevented from Receiving Scholarship
As it has always been, the discrimination in scholarships reemerged this year, while nothing changed. The Education Ministry continued to distribute its scholarships in a way that prevents the Shiite majority from receiving them under false justifications.
2019 Roundup: National Employment Project, Unemployment Increases amid Decline of Bahrainization
Whether it be titles, numbers, or decisions, they all clearly show that the authorities in Bahrain and the commercial sector prefer the foreign worker over the Bahraini citizen.
2019 Roundup: Al-Jazeera “Players with Fire” Film Angers Bahrain, Manama Fails to Disprove it
Al-Jazeera Channel’s broadcasting of a film entitled, “Players with Fire” on July 14, 2019, presented by Palestinian journalist Tamer Al-Meshal in a series of episodes on his show “What is Hidden is Worse”, represented an important part of the political polarization between Bahrain and Qatar
2019 Roundup: Oddest Story of the Year: Lyrica Drug Dealers Acquitted, Sharifa Siwar Incriminated
The story began in the second half of March 2019, when Sharifa Siwar (who holds a PhD in psychotherapy) disclosed a critical case when she spoke of a network that promotes narcotic pills in Hamad Town Intermediate Girls School.
2019 Roundup: Jaw Prison Witnesses Scabies, Food Poisoning, Denial of Treatment, Strike of Isolation Prisoners and Mysterious Death of Moroccan Prisoner
Not a single month passes without hearing a painful story from Jaw Central Prison, from the poisoning of inmates due to contaminated water and spoiled food, cases of prisoners who suffer from negligence in receiving medical appointments and suitable treatment, continuous violations of prisoners’ rights and many others.
2019 Roundup: Bahrain Hosts Deal of Century, No More Hides its Relations with Israel
2019 witnessed new milestones in the normalization of Bahraini-Israeli relations despite widespread popular rejection, most notably was Manama's hosting of the Deal of the Century.
2019 Roundup Editorial: We Won Gulf Cup, but Failed to Build a Common Homeland
All Bahraini factions unanimously shared two joyful moments; the joy of the birth of the National Charter in 2001, and the joy of winning the 24th Gulf Cup. In both moments, we witnessed an impeccable national achievement.
2019 Roundup: Gov’t Seizes 230 Million Dinar from Unemployment Fund to Finance Voluntary Retirement
On March 11, 2019, the government urgently made amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Law, which included raising the unemployment allowance to 200 dinars for academics and 150 dinars for others, noting that the allowance would continue for 9 months.
Courts Roundup: 7 Activists Receive Death Sentence, 200 Citizens Sentenced to Life in Prison, including Sheikh Ali Salman
2019 was one of the bloodiest years that the Bahraini people will never forget. The king has once again exercised his authority to execute two citizens for political reasons. 2019 also witnessed the execution of two Bahrainis in Saudi Arabia on charges of “smuggling narcotic pills”.