19 July 2020 – Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed in a statement released yesterday that the political death penalty in Bahrain is in line with international law and human rights principles. It further claimed that the prosecution of political detainees Muhammad Ramadan and Hussein Musa has met all requirements of fair trial.
Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights should emphasise the following:
First: Regarding the case of prisoners of conscience, Muhammad Ramadan and Hussein Musa:
There is conclusive evidence that Muhammad Ramadan was subjected to various forms of torture, with the aim of forcing him to confess. These included severe beatings, electric shocks, insults and remaining in shameful positions during interrogation.
There is also conclusive evidence that Hussein Musa was subjected to various forms of torture, including being hanged of his limbs. Besides, Musa was exposed to continuous beating on his genitals until he lost the ability to speak due to severe pain, and which forced him to confessing the charges against himself and incriminating Ramadan.
Human Rights Watch had previously reported that in March 2018 Bahrain’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) had disclosed uncovered medical report by an Interior Ministry doctor that had not been available during the initial trial. The medical report documented “injuries” on Moosa’s wrists, which “raised the suspicions that he was subjected to assault and mistreatment that coincide with the procedures of his arrest, detention, and questioning.” The report concluded that suspicions were aroused that the crime of torture was committed “with the intent of forcing them to confess to committing the crimes they were charged with.”
Following a request from Reprieve organisation, the Copenhagen-based International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) conducted an independent expert review of the forensic medical reports for both men. The IRCT found that “the forensic examinations failed to meet the minimum standards and principles on appropriate investigation into allegations of torture and ill-treatment under international law.”
Furthermore, Muhammad Ramadan’s wife had filed complaints to the Ombudsman that her husband had been tortured. However, they had been neglected for a long time before yielding to international pressure and carrying out an investigation that the International Council for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (IRCT) described as “cursory” and “superficial.”
Second: The GIDHR refers to the international treaties and conventions that the inviolability and sanctity of the right to life:
Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 5 of same charter states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 10 of the aforementioned charter hstipulates that everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Paragraph 1 of Article 11 of the aforementioned charter stipulates that every Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
Article 6, paragraph 1, of the ICCPR stipulates that the right to life is inherent to every human being. The law must protect this right. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
Article 7 of the aforementioned covenant also states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Paragraph 1 of Article 14 of the same covenant states that every individual has the right, when deciding on any criminal charge against him or his rights and obligations in any civil lawsuit, that his case be subject to fair and public consideration by a competent, independent and impartial court.
The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which aims to abolish the death penalty.
The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Third: Bahrain’s judiciary has demonstrated its independence throughout various politically motivated cases, in which it has issued severe penalties, ignoring the defendants’ allegations of torture and coercion to sign false confessions.
Perhaps the most famous case that confirms the Bahraini judiciary’s lack of self-legislation is the case of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, who was sentenced to life in prison in spite of all the evidence confirming his innocence.
Eventually, the Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights calls on the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to dilute and falsify clear facts in bid of polishing Bahrain’s image before the international community. It also urges Bahrain’s allies to press for the abolition of death sentences and an end to extrajudicial killings of dissidents.