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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Note: This page has moved to a new address. Please click on the following URL to get there: http://chanad.weblogs.us/index.php?s=What about the right to petition?. Sorry for the trouble.

What about the right to petition?

Thursday, May 20, 2004

As I mentioned in the previous post I am elated to hear that all of the detainees have been freed, and that the King took some time to meet with the leaders of the various societies. However, neither of the English language daily newspapers (Gulf Daily News, Bahrain Tribune) had anything to say about the status of the petition. It isn't this specific petition that I am concerned about, but rather the right to submit a petition about any issue to the government. It is not necessary for the government to accept the demands of a petition, but it is unreasonable for them to not even entertain a piece of paper with signatures. It is even more unreasonable for those associated with a petition to be arrested (assuming they are behaving peacefully).

I don't know the legal system of Bahrain very well, but my hope is that some MPs will submit a proposal to parliament to have the laws against submitting a petition (dealing with any issue) ammended. I am also assuming that the discussions with the King that took place yesterday covered more than what was reported in the English language press.

One question to more informed readers. At the very bottom of the GDN report of yesterday's events, they quoted Bahrain Centre for Human Rights vice-president Abdul Hadi Al Khawajeh as saying:
We also hope that the Penal Code of 1976 will be changed soon, so that this doesn't happen to others.
What exactly does the Penal Code of 1976 have to say about this? Please fill us in if you know.

As usual, Bahraini Blog has some more information about the situation.

On a side note, the headline on page 2 of today's GDN is "Petition launched for the release of captives". However, this petition is referring to the Bahraini captives in Guantanamo Bay... I hope the authorities don't feel the need to arrest anyone over this :)
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