Former Bahrain MPs told to return passports
Manama, March 26, 2014
Former MPs who represented Bahrain's main opposition group have been asked to return the special passports they received when they were in parliament, it has been claimed.
It follows a government announcement on Sunday that it was cracking down on people allegedly using such documents to harm Bahrain, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
A former Al Wefaq National Islamic Society MP, who asked to remain anonymous, told the GDN that leaders of the society had been contacted and asked to return special passports they received for serving as MPs between 2006 and 2010.
"I know for a fact that attempts are being made to withdraw the special passports of (Al Wefaq secretary-general) Shaikh Ali Salman, Shaikh Hamza Al Dairi, Shaikh Sayed Haider Al Sitri, Shaikh Jassim Al Momen and others," said the former MP.
"They have not yet surrendered the special passports."
He added 18 Al Wefaq MPs who resigned from the current parliament in 2011 had already surrendered their passports as required by law and were already using normal passports.
"Those holding the special passports are the 17 Al Wefaq MPs who served from 2006 till 2010, but did not contest parliamentary elections again," added the ex-MP.
He said the decision followed an announcement by the UK, which stated it would waive visa requirements for Bahrainis holding special passports.
Bahrainis who do not support the country's political opposition have often accused groups like Al Wefaq of spreading false information about the country during foreign trips.
Several Bahraini dissidents are operating from the UK, including some who have been found guilty of terrorist activities by Bahraini courts.
In November, 2012, the Interior Ministry revoked citizenships of 31 Bahrainis for allegedly undermining state security, although many already held dual citizenships.
Immigration officials could not be reached for comment yesterday. - TradeArabia News Service