Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain and SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights would like to thank the Working Group for their continued diligence in addressing cases of arbitrary detention worldwide. In particular, we thank the Working Group for their recent contribution to communications on thematic and individual cases in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
In a thematic complaint documented in the Joint Communications Report of the Special Procedures for the 36th Session of the Council, the working group joined 5 other mandates in expressing “grave concern” over widespread issues of human rights abuses in Bahrain. The communication detailed prominent cases of human rights defenders, political opposition figures, activists and religious figures who have been arbitrarily detained, including Nabeel Rajab (whose trial was postponed again yesterday), Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Sheikh Ali Salman, Ibrahim Sharif, Fadhel Abbas, and Sheikh Isa Qassim. The wide scope of this communication in the context of your mandate’s long history of reporting on arbitrary detention issues illustrates the widespread and systematic nature of arbitrary detention in the kingdom.
We further recall a previous decision by the Working Group dating back to 2014 when your mandate raised concerns over the growing body of decisions relating to Bahraini cases. In that decision the Working Group underscored that “the duty to comply with international human rights law rests not only on the Government, but on all officials of the State, including judges, the police, security officers, and prison officers…” as well as, “the individual criminal responsibility… when such detention constitutes a crime against humanity.”
Given that the number of communications and decisions regarding the widespread and systematic use of torture, flawed judicial practices and arbitrary detention in Bahrain: does the Working Group continue in its concern that such practices may leave significant numbers of State officials in Bahrain in breach of international human rights law?