International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
The United Nations International Day in Support of Torture is held annually on the 26 June to speak out against the crime of torture and to honour and support victims and survivors throughout the world.
Bahrain; testimonies of victims in The Kingdom of Torture
Press conference held by Lord Avebury – the vice chairman of theParliamentary Human Rights
Date: 26 June 2014
Location: House of Lords
Speakers: Lord Avebury, Muhammad Al-Tajir, Nabeel Rajab, Dr TahaAl-Durazi, Abdulnabi Al-Ekri, Nazeeha Saeed, and Kevin Laue
Lord Avebury – Founder of Parliamentary Human Rights Group

Stated that details of torture and extrajudicial killings by the Bahrain authorities are well documented and numerous, confirmed by many witness statements and evidences.

Mentioned the action commenced against Bahrain by the UN Human Rights Council, which has been signed by 47 states.

Elaborated on the mercenaries of Jordanian, Sudanese, Pakistaniand other nationalities that are hired into the security apparatuses, provided with expedited citizenship, provided housing and other privileges that the Bahrain nationals are generally denied.

Muhammad Al-Tajir – Human rights lawyer, a former Bahraini prisoner

Stressed on how the Bahraini officials use torture as a way to extract confessions and thus carry out heavy sentences. The main strategy of the Al-Khalifa regime is to maintain power through any means including the use systemic torture.

Jobs are not based on qualifications, rather on the level of “loyalty to the ruling family”. Gave examples that the judges and prosecutors are from one muslim sect, whilst the detainees arelargely from the other.

Stated that the legislative and judicial systems installed in Bahrain are “advanced” (Bahrain has signed the UN Convention against Torture), yet repeatedly ignored to continue the use of torture with immunity. Believes the reason for advancing its legislative system is simply to protect the ruling family whilst torture is continued.

Nabeel Rajab – President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Secretary of the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), a former Bahraini prisoner
(Spoke via Skype call due to refusal of entrance into the UK)

Elaborated on details of how torturers live in an environment that endowed them with “freedom to kill”.

The UK Government, despite sharing democratic values with Bahrain citizens and human rights beliefs, opted to remain on theside of the Bahrain ruling family in the face of numerous torture claims.

Confirmed that they are trying to obtain a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council, but the UK has consistently vetoed such a resolution.

Dr Taha Al Durazi – Consultant neurosurgeon, a former Bahrainiprisoner

An official circular was released that prohibited all doctors fromtreating protestors in private and public hospitals. Additionally, hospitals had to report the victims to the Ministry of Interior.

Medics in Bahrain experienced torture simply for treating injured protestors.

Confirmed wounded protestors therefore can only resort to home treatments which his resulting infections and death.

Abdulnabi Al-Ekri – Bahraini journalist, President of Bahrain Transparency Society, researcher

Stated that numerous and continuous torture reports emanating from Bahrain are not “separate incidents”.

Gave an “overall picture” of torture and its long history in Bahrain. Giving examples of previous torturers that went on to be honoured.

Torture in Bahrain has roots going all the way back to the days Bahrain was still a Protectorate of the United Kingdom.

Nazeeha Saeed – Bahraini journalist, France 24 correspondent,former prisoner

Confirmed her neutral political stance was ignored and was duly arrested.

Previously subjected to a 13-hour detention, which involved numerous torture treatments including beating her “writing hand”.

Nazeeha called for the release of her colleagues who have been recently arrested.

Kevin Laue – Redress, Legal Advisor

Argues that the issues of immunity lies at the heart of the problem in Bahrain.

Redress critical about a Human Rights report released by the Foreign Office in April 2014 that praised the apparent “progress of reform” by the Bahraini regime. Document is consideredmisguided.

Redress urges UK Government to take a stronger and more principled stance on Bahrain and refrain from what is essentiallydouble standards.

Photographs of event on proceeding page: