Bahrain society vows to resist “constraining” clause

January 18, 2010
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A Bahraini society, under possible sanctions for taking part in a meeting abroad without informing the country’s legal authorities, has vowed not to abide by the “constraining” clause.

“We have already voiced our opposition to some of the articles and clauses in the political societies’ law that we see as against the spirit of reforms and democracy. We will not abide by the clause governing meeting with other parties or politicians outside Bahrain,” Ebrahim Kamaluddeen, the head of the politburo of the National Democratic Action Society (Waad), said.

“We want to respect and abide by the law, but we want a modern law that applies to all. We want all formations to be treated equally and with the same degree of auditing and monitoring,” he said.

His society and five political formations, all from the opposition, are this week attending a seminar in Beirut, but only one had notified the local authorities about its participation, prompting the authorities to say that they will take up the matter with the participants.

The law, ratified in August 2005, imposes restrictions on contacts with foreign entities and receiving funds from non-Bahraini sources.

“The notification and the financial auditing of societies clauses are not acceptable and should be amended,” Kamaluddeen said.

Bahrain has 17 registered political societies, but only three, Al Wefaq (conservative Shiites), Al Asala (Salafis) and the Islamic Menbar (Muslim Brotherhood) have representatives in the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament.

The societies’ law stipulates that associations can be formed as long as they are not based on class, profession, or religion.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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