16th Apr, 2013 –

“Increasing the punishment for criticism of Bahrain’s King is a further attempt to silence activists ahead of the upcoming Grand Prix;” says Amnesty International.

Sorry, but how can a measure that hasn’t yet been ratified by Parliament and therefore which hasn’t yet become law, intimidate activists demonstrating against an event occurring right now?

Citizens for Bahrain shares Amnesty’s concerns as to the way such a potential new measure can be used. Our message is: Go after the people planting explosives, throwing firebombs at police and committing acts of vandalism, and terrorism – not those exercising their right to say things that many people find highly offensive.

The King’s announcement in 2011 that he would forgive, and halt legal measures against, all those who attacked him personally was a brave and unprecedented step in the region.

Bahrain is at its best when it works within the rule of law and with complete respect for human rights norms. We are facing unprecedented challenges by those who hate everything Bahrain stands for, and by those willing to use violence and terrorism to achieve their aims – but we are stronger when we respond with firm justice.

The multiple bomb attacks over recent days – which mercifully have produced no casualties – show that the Bahraini authorities are absolutely right to take measures against those who have threatened to disrupt the Grand Prix and put the lives of spectators at risk.

We should not be intimidated by terrorism and the Grand Prix should not be disrupted by these pathetic attempts to scare us. Particularly now that parts of the mainstream opposition have voiced their own support at the Formula One going ahead – the coming days should be a celebration of sport and national unity. We hope that nobody will succeed in spoiling the occasion.

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