Bahrain: Calls to halt deportation of Egyptian dissidents
A rights group has called on Bahrain to stop the deportation of two Egyptian opposition figures who live in the Gulf kingdom, saying they were detained in the capital city Manama earlier this week after "a request" from authorities in Egypt.
The Shahab Centre for Human Rights (SCHR), also known as El Shehab NGO, denounced the alleged "arbitrary detention" of 59-year-old Alsayed Mohamed Mahmoud Al-Aajez and 45-year-old Mohamed Al-Iraqi Saad Hasanein.
The NGO said both Egyptian nationals had been residing in Bahrain for the past eight years and were arrested on Wednesday.
"The [SCHR] condemns the detention of these persons and calls for their immediate release and prevention of deportation," the group said in a Facebook post, adding that the pair "had committed no crimes".
The group also said that the men had been residing and working "legitimately" in Bahrain.
The SCHR said that Al-Aajez, from the Egyptian city of Talkha, is a businessman and a father of eight children. He was subject to an assets freeze in Egypt since 2014.
The group added that Hasanein, also from Talkha city, is a computer engineer and a father of three children. He was sentenced to life imprisonement in 2018 in a case widely known as the "Rabaa dispersal case".
The New Arab has contacted the Bahrain embassy in London for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
The detentions coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Rabaa Massacre of August 2013, when Egyptian police and armed forces violently dispersed a a six-week-long peaceful protest at the Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Cairo, killing hundreds of people.
This followed a military coup by current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi against his predecessor, Mohammed Morsi - Egypt's first democratically elected head of state.
Human Rights Watch described it as a crime against humanity and "one of the world's largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history".
Since Sisi's rise to power, Egypt - which enjoys strong relations with Bahrain - has been utilising Interpol red notices as a tool to pursue political dissidents overseas.
Human rights groups estimate that in the past 10 years, at least 60,000 political prisoners have been jailed in Egypt.