Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bahrain: Gulf Daily News Clarifies Bahrain's State of National Safety, Says Current Security Level is a "Step Down" from Martial Law

The current state of national safety is the "lesser of two emergencies," according to Gulf Daily News. In the article "State of National Safety 'lesser of two emergencies'" published on March 28, Gulf Daily News interviewed Fareed Ghazi, a former member of Bahrain's parliament who explains the implications of the security measure.

The current security level, called for by His Majesty King Hamad, can last up to three months from the day it is declared. Should the Kingdom exhibit a return to normalcy the security measure can also be ended prematurely, and conversely extended if the state of emergency continues after the allotted three months.

Gulf Daily News asserted, "The State of National Safety is a step down from declaring Martial Law, in which both the constitution and all national legislation can be suspended while the military runs the country."

Bahraini lawyer and former Member of Parliament Fareed Ghazi notes that the constitution and national legislation are not subject to suspension under the state of emergency. "Everything goes on normally in the country, except the rule of law comes under the military ruler," said Mr. Ghazi.

Mr. Ghazi explains the dynamic between Bahrain's two branches of power during states of national safety and says the executive and judiciary branches, "function as normal without their authority being turned over to the military, which can order those powers to take whatever steps necessary to ensure safety."

The specific security level elevates the power of the ruler who can "order arrests without getting warrants from the Public Prosecution," says Mr. Ghazi, noting that responding to threats towards people and property "requires fast action."

Gulf Daily News explains, "Under the current State of National Safety, BDF Commander-in-Chief Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa has been delegated by His Majesty to take steps to protect people's safety and national security."

Mr. Ghazi concludes that the legislature, "which includes parliament and the Shura Council, was not affected under a State of National Safety."

SOURCE Gulf Daily News