8 March 2016 – Yesterday, the Government of Bahrain summoned Dr. Masood Jahroomi, a former Shia Ajam citizen for forcible deportation. Dr. Jahroomi, whose citizenship was revoked in January 2015, had his denaturalization order confirmed by the appellate court. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, the European Center for Human Rights and Justice Human Rights Organization (JHRO) strongly condemn the authorities’ use of citizenship revocation as a tool to further target and discriminate against the Shia population.
On 14 April 2011, Dr. Jahroomi was arrested by security forces. He was subjected to enforced disappearance for approximately one month before his family was allowed to meet with him. Government forces allegedly subjected Dr. Jahroomi to abuse in detention and was denied access to a lawyer and adequate due process. He was detained for five months before he was sentenced to four months in prison for “illegal assembly”.
In January 2015, the Bahraini authorities revoked Dr. Jahroomi’s citizenship through an administrative order against 72 citizens. In its statement, the Ministry of Interior cited the revocation of citizenship as a punishment for allegedly committing “illegal acts.” However, none of those individuals were charged or brought to court for these allegations, including Dr. Jahroomi. On 6 March 2016, a Bahraini court upheld a previous decision to deport Dr. Jahroomi. He was summoned to be forcibly deported from Bahrain on 7 March 2016.
Dr. Jahroomi is a Bahraini scholar and former Chairman of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Ahlia University, Bahrain. He was awarded his PhD from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom; having earned his MSc and BSc from the University of Manchester, UK, and the University of Bahrain, respectively.
This is the third incident in less than a month in which the Bahraini authorities have forcibly deported Bahraini citizens, including leading Shia cleric Sheikh Mohammed Khojasta and union member and medic Husain Khairallah. All individuals denaturalized and deported since 2011 belong to the Shia populations and Ajam ethnic group. The discrimination against Shia citizens, mainly Baharna and Ajam, was detailed in the UN special procedures joint communication report, in which the Rapporteurs on culture, extreme poverty, and religion expressed concerns regarding the Bahraini government’s systemic discrimination against its Shia citizens.
The signed organizations therefore call on the government of Bahrain to immediately:
- End systemic discrimination against Shia populations, including Baharna and Ajam;
- Allow Dr. Masood Jahroomi and others who were forcibly deported to return to Bahrain;
- Reinstate the nationality of all those whose citizenship was arbitrarily revoked on politically-motivated grounds since 2011, including that of Dr. Masood Jahroomi; and
- Accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.