Ala'a Shehabi

Ala'a Shehabi

Guest Speaker




Founders Main Lecture Theatre, Royal Holloway University of London


The Centre for Islamic & West Asian Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London cordially invites you to a talk by Dr. Ala’a Shehabi on the current situation in Bahrain.

Ala’a Shehabi is a Bahraini writer and researcher. She is a co-founder of Bahrain Watch, an NGO that advocates for accountability and social justice in Bahrain. She has a PhD in economics from Imperial College, London and studied at University College, London, and Warwick University. She previously worked as a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation and as a lecturer at the Bahraini Institute for Banking and Finance during the 2011 uprising. Her husband was imprisoned during that period and she visited the prisons and military court in the country.

Since the beginning of the Arab Uprising in 2011, Bahrainis took to the streets to share the pan-Arab call for fairer distribution of wealth and power. Much like the other uprisings, the Bahraini demands were undermined by regional geopolitical contests and systematic instrumentalisation of sectarian narratives, including a direct Saudi military intervention a month after the protests began.

Al-Khalifa family has been ruling Bahrain for centuries, constantly supported and empowered by regional and international powers, most notoriously the UK.  Using Western tools, training, and sponsorship, Bahrain’s government has constantly breached human rights. The country’s courts convict and imprison peaceful dissenters and have failed to hold officials accountable for torture and other serious rights violations. There is evidence that the security forces continue to use disproportionate force.  Human rights activists and members of the political opposition face arrest and prosecution and dozens have been stripped of their citizenship.

Earlier this year, the government executed three men who were convicted of killing three police officers in a bomb attack in March 2014, the authorities say. After being killed by a firing squad, the government sent the execution clothes of the three men to their families.