Sheikh Al-Jamri

Sheik Al-Jamri: House Arrest 1 April 1995; Arrested 15 pril 1995; Released on 25 September 1995, Re-arrested on 21 January 1996

On Saturday 1 April 1995m at 3.00 am, the village of Bani Jamra (where Sheikh Al-Jamri resides) was encircled by thousands of paramilitary forces. The neighbours of Sheikh Al-Jamri (around six to eight of them) were ordered to evacuate their houses within minutes or be sprayed with gunfire. The next neighbour (Mr Omran Hussain Omran) has had his two daughters injured, one of them in critical condition as a result of a bullet in the head. The husband of the latter, Mohammed Jaafer Yousif Atteya Twaig, 30 years old, was shot dead by a machine-gun. Later, the neighbours demonstrated, more were shot and up to fifty were injured. One of them already passed away, Mr. Mohammed Ali Abdul Razzaq, a 50 years old carpenter, who rushed to save his injured son, Asaad, but found himself the target of machine guns. The funeral of the two was prevented and only a handful of relatives were allowed in the cemetery for the last farewell. Following, these clashes, the family of Sheikh Al-Jamri was isolated inside their house and the first House Arrest in the history of Bahrain has begun. Together with Sheikh Al-Jamri, eighteen members of his family suffered two weeks of house arrest. On 15 April, the security forces changed tactics. Sheikh Al-Jamri was taken away to an unknown detention centre.

Profile of Sheikh Al-Jamri:

Sheikh Al-Jamri was born in 1937 in the village of Bani Jamra. A son of a teacher of Quran, he learned his basic education from his father and state schools.

1962-1973: Studied Islamic theology and law at Al-Najaf Religious Institute. Authored several books which included: Islamic Duties, Islamic Teachings, Women in Islam, Poetry among others.

1973-1975: Was elected by the 14th regional constituency for the National Assembly. As an active opposition member, he lobbied vigorously against the imposition of the State Security Law which was issued by the Amir (ruler) in October 1974. The constitution specifies sharing the legislative power between the Amir and the National Assembly. Both branches of the legislature must mutually agree on any bill before it can become a statutory law. The Amir disregarded this, dissolved the elected parliament and suspended the important articles of the constitution in August 1975. The State Security Law empowers the Interior Minister to order the administrative detention of opponents for up to three years renewable. This law has been fully utilised to suppress the opposition since 1975.

1975-1977: As a religious scholar and active member of the Islamic Enlightenment Society he was involved in many cultural, social, charitable and educational activities for the promotion of religious teachings and social justice.

1977-1988: He accepted an offer to join the Religious Court as a judge. The religious courts are part of the Ministry of Justice which were established in the twenties to cater for resolving cases pertaining to personal affairs, such as marriages, divorces, inheritance and other community’s religious affairs. The courts are divided into two departments, one for the Shia community and one for the Sunni community, being the two major Muslim sects of Bahrain. Sheikh Al-Jamri was a member of the Shia court.

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