WORCESTER, MA - U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern, Co-Chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives and a leading advocate for human rights, issued the following statement this week in response to the April 4th decision by the Bahraini government to deny entry to the country to Lars Aslan Rasmussen, a Danish Member of Parliament, and Brian Dooley, a member of the Board of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), claiming the two posed a "security risk."
“It is deeply troubling that the Bahraini government has denied entry to Lars Aslan Rasmussen, a Danish Member of Parliament, and Brian Dooley of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR),” Congressman McGovern said. “Bahrain’s human rights situation continues to worsen. There is virtually no democratic space – no peaceful avenues to criticize the government or express opposition. Declaring these two men a ‘security risk’ is ludicrous and just makes clear that the Bahraini authorities are terrified of independent human rights scrutiny.
“Bahrain’s decision is a sign of weakness and must be condemned by all who support free and open societies,” McGovern added. “I look forward to hearing a full report from Rasmussen and Dooley when they have safely returned.”
Rasmussen and Dooley were hoping to visit human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, a Danish citizen and founder of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights. Al-Khawaja was arrested in April 2011, tortured, and given a life sentence after an unfair military trial. After being denied entry, Bahraini authorities retained the passports of Rasmussen and Dooley for more than 14 hours. Congressman McGovern and Dooley were previously denied entry to Bahrain in August 2014.