Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson,
We are alarmed by the Government of Bahrain’s decision to revoke the citizenship of prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim.
We remain deeply troubled by the Government of Bahrain’s practice of withdrawing the nationality of its citizens arbitrarily, the overall precedent that this case could establish, and the risk that individuals may be rendered stateless. Our concern is further magnified by reports that Sheikh Qassim was unable to respond to the accusations against him before this decision was taken, or challenge the decision through a transparent legal process. We will continue to follow this case closely and we urge restraint on all sides in responding to this development.
Above all, we worry that this case, as well as other recent actions by the Government, will further divert Bahrainis from the path of reform and reconciliation. That path–which Bahrain’s leadership had wisely pursued–remains the best means for enhancing the security of Bahrain and meeting the aspirations of all Bahrain’s citizens.