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5 - Repressive Law and Legal Repression

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 July 2020

Marc Owen Jones
Affiliation:
Hamad bin Khalifa University
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Summary

By examining laws, legislation, and legal processes, it is argued in chapter five that the legal system in Bahrain is becoming an increasingly comprehensive tool of repression. Despite the increasing standardisation of law, the arbitrary nature of its execution during political unrest highlights the continuity of particularistic features of tribal law embedded within a standardised system.Also, legal repression has been facilitated by the emergence of specific legal structures and processes. As a consequence, laws have often been enacted as reactionary measures to con-trol dissent, long outliving their initial utility while simultaneously generating future grievances. The extent of impunity as an enabling factor for repression is also investigated and highlighted. In particular, a re-examination of historical sources sheds new light on the trial of the al-Madani killers in 1977, and the trial of the Khawalid shaykhsin the 1920s. While the emergence of ‘rule by law’ instead of ‘rule of law’ is implicit, this chapter sheds light on the nuances within even those repressive authoritarian legal processes.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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