Politicians called back to Bahrain from exile demand compensation By Suad Hamada (Our correspondent)

28 February 2008

MANAMA — More than 500 politicians and their families who were in exiles before Bahrain’s political reforms demanded compensations from the government yesterday.

The politicians and their families returned to Bahrain after His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa called for their returned in the beginning of the millennium. In 2006, a royal order was issued to correct the situation of the returnees, but the services provided to them weren’t up to their expectations.

The government through the Ministry of Social Development started giving BD180 accommodation allowance for those without homes and BD150 for the unemployed.

“Because of the tough restrictions, not all were included in the scheme as for example those with lands weren’t giving housing allowances,” head of the Committee of the Returnees, Abdulnabi Al Ekri, said. “The services are still a temporary measure and they aren’t anymore given only to them, as the government has started given housing allowance for all citizens fulfilling the criteria and monthly assistance to the unemployed.”

The returnees feel that they deserve to be compensated for years of sufferings they were exposed to, when they were away from their home, he said while announcing their plans to join the Truth and Consolation Committee that works to pressure the government to compensate torture victims during the unrest in the nineties.

Al Ekri said that the panel had been fighting since 2001 for better services for the returnees who had came back to Bahrain with nothing except hopes to be united with their beloved ones and take active part in their homeland.

“Those politicians and their families had been waiting for the assistance for years, therefore better aid should be provided to them,” he said. “Those families don't need much, but basic necessities to be able to lead normal lives.”

Some of these citizens have inheritances disputes with their families, so the panel calls upon the government to look into such issues at the earliest.

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