Bahrain Parliament votes to lift MP immunity

May 9, 2013

Salman Al Shaikh

Bahraini MPs in the lower in chamber on Tuesday voted to lift the immunity of a lawmaker, paving the way for the public prosecution to quiz him following a complaint that he brandished a gun in public.

Results of the voting held behind closed doors showed that 17 lawmakers voted for removing the immunity of MP Salman Al Shaikh, while nine voted against it and three abstained.

Last week, the lower chamber’s legislative committee recommended lifting the parliamentary protection upon a request from the public prosecution forwarded to the MPs by the justice minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Khalifa.

Four of the seven committee members voted for lifting the immunity while the other three abstained.

“Removing the immunity does not mean that the lawmaker is guilty,” Ali Hassan Al Ataish, the head of the committee, said. “It is just a measure to allow the public prosecution to probe the complaint. The lawmaker will continue to exercise all his parliamentary rights as usual. We took the decision to remove the immunity after we checked the case documents and listened to the lawmaker. We concluded that the complaint was not malicious and agreed to allow the public prosecution to go ahead with its procedures,” he said.

Al Shaikh, 44, did not deny the possession of the gun, but said that it was licensed by the authorities.

He said that he brandished it in an act of self-defence when he was threatened in an attack.

The request by the public prosecution to have Al Shaikh’s parliamentary immunity lifted is the second during the 2010-2014 legislative term.

A similar call was issued in November last year against MP Jasem Al Saeedi, an independent Salafist, for making remarks allegedly fomenting sectarianism.

However, the request was dismissed by his fellow MPs.

In 2009, a request to have Al Saeedi’s immunity lifted was also turned down by the lawmakers at the lower chamber.

Al Saeedi is serving his third term in parliament after he was elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010.



About the author

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

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