Bahrain court says emergency rule legal
Dubai - A Bahraini court ruled on Wednesday that King Hamad acted lawfully when he declared a quasi state of emergency in March ahead of a crackdown on Shi’ite-led democracy protests.
The constitutional court "rejected the appeal into the constitutionality of the articles of the [state of] national safety," the official BNA news agency reported.
National safety is the first of two categories of exceptional measures that the king can resort to in times of emergency. The second is a full state of Martial Law.
An independent commission King Hamad tasked with probing the bloody clampdown on a month-long protest in mid-March had recommended that the constitutional court review the royal declaration of a three-month State of National Safety.
The commission found 35 people were killed in the crackdown on protests, including five security personnel and five detainees who were tortured to death in custody.
Hundreds were hurt during the unrest.
The defence teams of scores of the predominantly Shi’ite defendants who appeared before the National Safety Court had questioned the legality of the royal decree, but the court dismissed their challenge.
"This decree violated the laws of Bahrain. Many laws were suspended due to the decree," said Matar Matar, a leading figure in the Wefaq main Shi’ite opposition formation.
"Even in the case of declaring emergency law, it is not permissible to have an absolute suspension of laws... In reality, many laws and articles of the constitution were suspended, and public liberties that are protected by the constitution were violated," he said.
The former MP who resigned in February along with all Wefaq deputies in protest over the use of violence against demonstrators, criticised the latest ruling.
"We in the opposition, and Wefaq, believe after today's ruling that the whole judicial system is politicised," he said.