In an open letter addressed to the bloc’s foreign policy chief ahead of a meeting with his Bahraini counterpart this week, 16 MEPs urged Bahraini authorities to abide by the country’s commitment and release prisoners of conscience.
“We are deeply concerned by the ongoing deterioration of human rights in Bahrain, following a year where, as highlighted by Human Rights Watch, there has been an ‘escalated repression’ of the Bahrain government against critics’,” the letter said.
Human Rights Watch, in a report released earlier in January, said Bahraini authorities in 2020 escalated their repression against peaceful protesters, adding that the country had upheld death sentences against opposition activists after trials it said were unfair.
In 2011, Shia activists staged protests across the country demanding reforms in the Sunni-led kingdom. But the ruling Al Khalifa family responded by cracking down on dissent and sought the help of neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which sent troops to help crush the unrest, AlJazeera reported.