Justice Minister Warns of Tampering with Security
In an interview with Al Hayat newspaper on 13/10/2010, the Bahraini
Minister of Justice, Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa, said that
the main purpose of holding elections is the belief that they are
central to any democratic process. He added that elections form
the basis of dialogue in constitutional institutions, and when probed
on the question of transparency, he asked: ‘why bother holding elections,
if we do not want citizens’ voices to be heard? Especially when
these choices affect the citizen’s present and future’.
The Minister said that no political society was prevented or
obstructed from participating in the elections, and that political
societies did not at all differ from national political parties.
In fact, a law regulating political societies had been ratified
by Parliament. Hence, all these societies had taken advantage of
the wide margin of freedom available, and had participated in the
Sheikh Khalid also denied that what happened to the BHRS was
aimed at controlling the elections, asserting that current legislations
give all national civil societies the right to send their representatives
to oversee the elections. In response to the blocking of some party-affiliated
websites, the Minister said that ‘the sites in question have nothing
to do with freedom of expression, which is a basic human right.
Rather these websites were blocked because they contained scandalous
material, which is at odds with the values of our society’.
The Minister also refuted that the recent arrests had anything
to do with the elections or their timing, saying that Bahrain depends
on a global banking system, and that there are 400 banks in the
country. He continued by saying that 57% of our income comes from
the services sector, which means that Bahrain cannot afford any
acts of terrorism which may threaten our safety or stability.
Finally, regarding claims of setbacks in the status of human
rights in the country, the Minister answered: ‘in my opinion there
are no setbacks, and assurances exist for all those accused in any
case, whether they are Bahraini or foreign citizens. As for any
accusations and judgements made here or there, these are unfounded
and negate the principle of justice. He continued: ‘I am content
with the procedures of Bahraini laws related to the agreements signed
by Bahrain. Moreover, I cannot give my opinion on a case, which
is currently at court, as it is for the judge to decide the fate
of the accused, and each of them is innocent until proven guilty
in a final ruling.