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The New Arab

UK MPs call for action on Bahrain executions

The UK has come under increased pressure to speak out over Bahrain’s human rights record[Getty]

Date of publication: 23 January, 2017

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Two Bahrainis are at an imminent risk of execution despite the authorities’ failure to properly investigate their allegations of torture, including beatings and electric shocks.
Two Bahrainis are at an imminent risk of execution despite the authorities’ failure to properly investigate their allegations of torture, including beatings and electric shocks, a rights group said on Monday.

Mohamad Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa face the death penalty for a February 2014 bombing that resulted in the death of a policeman.

“Bahrain should not under any circumstances execute two more young men, especially where there is credible evidence of confessions obtained through torture and unsound convictions,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“Investigations into torture should be conducted before trials not after them,” Stork said. “Similarly, the UK, France, Germany, and the EU should publicly condemn this unfair trial and oppose these sentences before Bahrain assembles its firing squad.”

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been urged to intervene in the cases of the two men.

In a letter, signed by a cross-party group of MPs from Labour, Scottish National Party, DUP, Liberal Democrats and SDLP, the Foreign Office is being asked to make representations to the Bahraini authorities, and call for an investigation into the use of torture in the kingdom.

The call comes just a week after the executions of three other men – Sami Mushaima, Ali al-Singace and Abbas al-Samea – in Bahrain, whereby similar allegations were made that torture was used to force confessions which were used to secure convictions.

The January 15, 2017 have raised concerns that King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa will approve the executions of Ramadan and Moosa.
Read also: 'Black day' in Bahrain as executions spark violent protests
Their lawyer, Mohamed al-Tajer, told Human Rights Watch that he was unable to speak with his clients during pre-trial detention. The first time he was able to speak with them was on the first day of their trial on July 24, 2014, he said.

Ramadan’s wife, Zainab, told Human Rights Watch that her husband looked “pale, skinny, weak, and shaken” when she met with him at what she described as a strictly monitored visit approximately 10 days after his arrest on February 18, 2014.

She said that after his transfer to Jau prison month after his arrest, he told his family that officers at the Criminal Investigations Directorate and Riffa police station tortured him to make him confess to his involvement in the bombing.

The UK has come under increased pressure to speak out over Bahrain’s human rights record, as Prime Minister Theresa May seeks to strengthen trade links following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

“Recent developments in Bahrain are troubling," said Margaret Ferrier, a Scottish National Party MP who chairs Westminster’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf. 

"A week ago we saw the first death sentences carried out in country since 2010, and concerns that more will follow are entirely legitimate.

“Accusations of the use of torture in Bahrain need to be taken seriously, and the UK Government needs to act responsibly as a key ally of the country – one which has been working to support and reform the Bahraini criminal justice system."

Ferrier also called on the Foreign Office to be "more outspoken."

"It is not enough for it to simply reaffirm the UK’s rejection of the death penalty; it must engage with the Bahraini authorities over the very serious allegations of the use of torture,” Ferrier said.

On December 29, 2014, Bahrain’s fourth superior criminal court convicted Ramadan and Moosa of the premeditated murder of `Abd al-Wahid Sayyid Muhammad Faqir, a policeman who died from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device in Muharraq on February 14, 2014. The court convicted 10 other Bahrainis of involvement in the bombing and sentenced them to between six years and life in prison.

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