Bahrain: Prominent human rights lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi should not be prevented from practicing law for one year

23.03.21

In a hearing held on 22 March 2021, the Lawyers' Disciplinary Board in Bahrain decided to prohibit prominent human rights lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi from practicing his profession for one year.

The decision came after a complaint filed against the lawyer by Minister of Justice Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa. In his complaint, the Minister of Justice claimed that Al-Shamlawi had violated Article 43 of the Lawyers' Code after he posted some of his personal views on Twitter. This article includes the following penalties: warning, reproach, prevention from practicing the profession for a period not exceeding three years, and cancellation of the license to practice law permanently in cases where the lawyer violates the provisions of this Code.

Al-Shamlawi has previously been put on trial due to two tweets he published on his Twitter account, which he uses to express his personal views on various issues of concern to citizens. In the first tweet, he expressed his personal opinion on fasting and deleted the tweet and apologised to everyone who did not accept his point of view. As for the second tweet, it was a comment by him that did not contain any offense on a tweet published by Al-Ayam newspaper in 2018 that includes a photo. Al-Ayam quickly deleted its tweet, but Al-Shamlawi was the only one targeted in the case.

Reports received by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) confirmed that Al-Shamlawi will, during the legally specified period, appeal the decision to the Lawyers' Disciplinary Board of Appeal.

Al-Shamlawi is a legal advisor and an experienced human rights lawyer, who has practiced law for more than 40 years during which he defended prisoners of conscience with courage, steadfastness and devotion.

GCHR denounces this arbitrary and unfair decision issued against prominent lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi, who is confident that the only reason for targeting him is his tireless work in defense of prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.

GCHR calls on the competent authorities in Bahrain to immediately cancel this arbitrary decision and to stop targeting and harassing him in any form, including judicial harassment.