Bahrain Salam for Human Rights Speech In the 28th Session of the Human Rights Council

Bahrain: Death penalty is a political revenge
Mr President,
There are widespread objections by the international human rights community regarding the death penalty, even in criminal cases, in addition to political cases where tyranny governments use the death penalty as a mechanism for revenge against political opposition. Such regimes fabricate malicious charges against mostly opposition members and human rights defenders to discredit them, all for political gain rather than any legal reason. Regarding the criminal aspect, the international human rights community demands the complete abolition of the death, as it does not serve as a deterrent for the crimes committed. Considering the human rights position, the international human rights community also demands the death penalty’s abolition as it is adversely used for political purposes that contravene human rights, such as political revenge and silencing the opposition. In the circumstances of a prejudiced judiciary and overlap of the constitutional powers, there will inevitably be sentences arising from political backgrounds. That is precisely the route currently undertaken in Bahrain. All powers, executive, legislative, judicial, lie within the ambit of the ruler, who is above any questioning as he is “ self protected”! Here precisely the death penalties lose their fairness, transparency and fair litigation. Sentences emanating from such a partisan judiciary is worthy of international criticisms and suspension.
– Death sentences against 7 for political dissent since 2011
Bahrain’s courts have issued more death sentences since February 2011. Whereas Bahraini security force personnel implicated in the murder of protesters, some for torturing political prisoners to death and others for using live bullets in peaceful protests, have been immune from sentencing.
The Bahrainis that have been handed death sentences are: Ali Al-Taweel (24 years-old) in 2011, Maher Al-Khabaz (29 years-old), Mohammed Isa (32 years-old), and Hussain Moosa (28 years-old) in 2014. On 26 February 2015, the highest criminal court in Bahrain sentenced three Bahrainis to death, they are: Abbas Alsamea, Sami Mushaima, and Ali Al-singace – with stripping his nationality in the suspicious blast which led to death of the Emirati officer, Tariq Al-Shihi and two others in March 2014. In the same hearing, the court sentenced 7 others to life imprisonments and stripping of their nationality.
As such, the total number of Bahrainis sentenced to death is 7, since the popular uprising that commenced in 2011.
– The defendants: fabricated cases, arbitrary arrests, severe torture and death sentences
All those sentenced to death so far have experienced similar occurrences and obstacles, in terms of arbitrary detentions, torture obscure evidence, and punishments strongly displaying political motivations, including:
– blindfolding
– Long hours of forced standing
– Hose and metal beatings
– Insults against defendant’s religious affiliations and figures
– Threatening consequences against family members
– Sleep deprivation
– Food deprivation
– Religious obligation deprivation
– Water deprivation
– Beatings on sensitive areas, especially genitals
– Cold water spraying
– Forced stays in cold rooms
– Suspension through the “Fallaqa” method
– One-handed suspension
– Stripping
– Sexual assaults
– Solitary confinement
Abbas Alsamea, one of those sentenced to death, stated the following: “The psychological and physical torture was unbearable, and my family were threatened, including my lawyers who were threatened with license revocation in the event that they withdraw from court hearings.”
– Recommendations
1) We recommend Human Rights Council and associated bodies prevent countries like Bahrain from issuing death sentences. This is because of a particular lack of justice and fairness, specifically for exploiting trials to punish political activists and human rights defenders with death penalties.
2) For the international community to combat and delay death sentences that lack transparency, fairness and proper litigation procedures.
3) Urge the visit of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to Bahrain.
4) Oblige the Government of Bahrain to set a date for the visit of the Special Rapporteurs to communicate and meet with those sentenced to death.
5) Restrict the Government of Bahrain to seek alternative punishments to death penalty cases, which is to be carried out by an independent and fair judiciary.

Jawad Fairooz
Chairman – Bahrain Salam for Human Rights