Bahrain: Death Penalties at Military Courts Commuted to Life Imprisonments against Civilians Subjected to Torture

SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights expresses its deep concern over the use of the Bahraini authorities of the judicial system to issue harsh sentences such as death sentences in an attempt to deter its opponents.

On April 25, 2018, three civilian Sayed Alawi Hussain, Sayed Fadel Abbas, Mohamed Al Mutghawi and a military citizen Mubarak Muhanna were tried under the law” Protecting Society from Terrorist Acts “, and the final verdict of death penalty was handed down by the Military Court of Cassation on charges of “having intentions to target the general commander of the Bahrain Defense Force”.

The next day, the 26thof April 2018, the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa commuted the death sentence against the four who were mentioned in this statement to life imprisonment.

The King of Bahrain is the person who approves the execution of the death penalty. He himself ratified a law on April 18, 2017, which abolished the civil judiciary in terms of the trial of those charged with serious terrorism-related charges and granted the powers to try them for military justice. These powers shall be determined for military trials of an exceptional and temporary nature during the period of war and crises. Herein lies the difference between the military courts which are permanent and are competent to try military personnel and military courts of exceptional character.

SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights urges the authorities in Bahrain to review all these sentences, along with other sentences affecting a large proportion of citizens who have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment in places of detention and detention. In this particular case for example, the military judiciary, both the military prosecution and the military courts, did not investigate the allegations of confessions extracted under torture, nor did they investigate cases of enforced disappearance against suspects that were documented by local and international human rights organizations. The victims reported being tortured during their enforced disappearance to force them to confess to charges of intentions that they did not commit. It is worth mentioning that the four accused testified this before the military court judge.

SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights still fear the death penalty against other persons who have been sentenced to death by civil courts. We confirm that the civil judiciary in Bahrain has already issued death sentences against 22 people since the outbreak of protests calling for the transition to democracy in 2011. On January 15, 2017, three people were executed (Sami Mushaima, Abbas al-Samee, Ali al-Singace) on the charge of attacking police in the village of Daih. The civil judiciary has also failed to investigate their allegations of confessions extracted under torture.

Based on the above, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights demands that the authorities in Bahrain:

  1. Immediately suspend all executions and death penalties and release all those arrested and incarcerated in prison because of their political or social background.
  2. Stop the trial of civilians in the military judiciary.
  3. Make the judiciary independent and completely neutral from the rest of the authorities.

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