Interior Minister General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa has said that Bahrain is a state built on institutions in which the rule of law prevails. Functioning within the law, following the path of reforms and ensuring that justice is done remain primary concerns for the Kingdom.
Referring to the case of Hakeem Al Araibi, he said that external interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain is unacceptable. Those raising unfounded doubts about the integrity and independence of the Kingdom's judicial system are not only interfering, but also attempting to influence the course of justice.
The Interior Minister said that Al Araibi was sentenced to 10 years in jail after being convicted in absentia for participation in a case of terrorism in 2012, which had involved an arson attack, possession of inflammable bombs and causing damage to public and private property. Those who speak now of Al Araibi having been mistreated and those who question the integrity of Bahrain’s courts ignore the fact that Al Araibi was released on bail of BD 100 by the courts. Al Araibi was not placed under any travel ban either, he was allowed to accompany the Bahraini football team to play in Qatar. It is from Qatar that he had fled to Iran, never to return.
"He had all the rights and opportunities to defend himself in the criminal case, in which some of the suspects with him were acquitted by the court," the Interior Minister added.
The Interior Minister said that the matter remains before the courts, and the Public Prosecutor is the authority concerned to examine and to pursue it. This is what had led to an international arrest warrant against Al Araibi being issued and thereafter being followed by Interpol, demonstrating Bahrain's respect for and commitment to international conventions and agreements. Al Araibi was arrested in Thailand and proceedings to extradite him to Bahrain are in process so that he can serve his sentence. The Minister noted that it is open for Al Araibi to challenge the proceedings in the Court of Appeals and then in the Cassation Court, which is the highest court in Bahrain's judicial system.
The need to respect the legal proceedings and not to ignore the facts by spreading false reports and biased and non-objective information was affirmed by HE the Interior Minister.