Bahrain to implement tougher rally laws
Manama, November 3, 2012
Bahrain is formulating new legal measures to ensure opposition protests do not harm the kingdom's economy, a report said.
The steps are the brainchild of leading MPs and Shura Council members who have pledged to give priority to laws dealing with escalating acts of violence, sabotage and random terror in the current parliament session, said the Gulf Daily News report.
This came a day after His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa vowed to root out all acts of sabotage, defending Bahrain's legitimate right to defend itself against terror and vandalism.
The business community had also sounded the alarm, urging a tougher stance to confront any attempt to derail the national economy and jeopardise national unity.
It also rallied behind a decision of the Interior Ministry to impose a temporary ban on demonstrations until public order and stability are restored.
Leading legislators have also blamed the deterioration of the security situation in Bahrain on slackness in law enforcement, the absence of deterrent sanctions and legal loopholes. They stressed the need for legal constraints to ensure freedom of opinion without harming the economy or threatening people.
Meanwhile, imams across the kingdom also threw their weight behind the ban on protests until security and stability are restored. In their Friday sermons, they described the move by the Interior Ministry as a "popular demand", reflecting the aspirations of citizens who are fed up with the spiralling acts of violence, incitement and defamation of national symbols.
Financial and economic committee chairperson MP Latifa Al Gaoud urged the legislative authority to act fast, in co-operation with the government and legislate tougher laws that deter the proponents of foreign agendas.
"We have to work in the same boat as the country is going through a defining moment", she said, stressed the need to toughen the penalties stipulated in the existing laws.
Legislative and legal affairs committee chairman MP Khamis Al Rumaihi also called for a radical amendment to law 32 for 2006 on demonstrations to protect the economy and people's interests.
He stressed the need to ensure all rallies are staged far from shopping malls, business hubs and police stations, adding that all European countries have tough laws regulating demonstrations.
MP Ali Zayed stressed the need to amend the same law so as to take into account internal developments in Bahrain.
He also warned against slackness in enforcing the law against sabotage and crisis-mongering.
MPs Mohammed Emadi, Mohammed Bouquis, Adnan Al Malki, Salman Al Sheikh, Adel Al Asoomi and Mahmoud Al Mahmoud were also unanimous in stressing the need to tighten laws to plug any legal loopholes and calling for laws regulating demonstrations to be overhauled.
Shura Council members Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa and Jameela Salman echoed the sentiments, calling for laws to be reviewed to address Bahrain's current challenges.
Foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairperson MP Sawsan Taqawi announced that the decision of the Interior Ministry banning demonstrations would be referred to parliament. – TradeArabia News Service