Bahrain strips 72 unrest convicts of citizenship

Sunni-ruled Bahrain said Saturday it had revoked the citizenship of 72 people convicted of "harming the interests of the kingdom" in unrest by the Shiite majority since 2011.

The official BNA news agency said their nationality had been rescinded in a decree as part of measures to "preserve security and stability and fight the danger of terrorist threats".

BNA published a list of the 72 people affected by the measure adopted by the interior ministry and approved by the cabinet.

"Proper legal procedures will be taken by the interior ministry to implement this decision," it added.

This is the largest number of Bahrainis to be stripped of their nationality since a law passed in 2013 on the punishment of those convicted of "terrorist" acts.

Last November, three Shiites were sentenced to 10 years in prison and stripped of their citizenship for planning to attack the police.

Their case followed that of another 18 deprived of their citizenship after the authorities in 2012 revoked the nationality of 31 Shiites for "endangering state security".

Bahrain, ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty, is home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet and sits across the Gulf from mainly Shiite Iran.

The tiny but strategic Gulf nation has been rocked by unrest since a 2011 Shiite-led uprising demanding a constitutional monarchy and more representative government.

At least 89 people have been killed in clashes with security forces since 2011, while hundreds have been arrested and put on trial, rights groups say.

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