Posts Tagged ‘Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry’

Sad anniversary in Bahrain today: Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja arrested 3 years ago

April 9, 2014

30 human rights organizations express their serious concern for the health and well-being of imprisoned Bahraini human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. Mr. Al-Khawaja was arrested three years ago today, on 9 April 2011, and continues to require medical attention for injuries sustained during his arrest and subsequent torture.

Former president and co-founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), Mr. Al-Khawaja was sentenced to life in prison in June 2011 by a military court as part of a group of human rights activists and political leaders known as the Bahrain 13. The NGO state their belief that Mr. Al-Khawaja is being unjustly persecuted for his legitimate human rights activity.[In its September 2012 decision, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Mr. al-Khawaja’s arrest was due to his exercise of the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. [According to the Working Group, the charges against Mr. al-Khawaja—including membership in a terrorist organization— were “vague” and “raise doubts as to the actual purpose of detention.” The Working Group also concluded that throughout Mr. Al-Khawaja’s arrest, detention, and trial, “the Government violated numerous international norms to the right to fair trial.”]
[The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) further concluded that Mr. Al-Khawaja was subjected to torture and inhumane treatment during his arrest and detention. Mr. Al-Khawaja was severely beaten, resulting in a broken jaw, and later spent two months in solitary confinement where he was subjected to physical, psychological and sexual torture. A full testimony from Mr. Al-Khawaja regarding his torture can be found here.]

BAHRAIN: Third Anniversary of Arrest: Calls for the Release of Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja – FIDH.

NGOs jointly call on world to focus on Bahrain on 14 August

August 13, 2013

13 NGOs have signed an open letter concerning the situation in Bahrain in the light of the upcoming mass demonstration on 14 August. As it is short and to the point here is the full text copied from the FIDH website:  Read the rest of this entry »

20 Members of the US Congress Urge Bahrain to finally accept visit by to U.N. Special Rapporteur

June 11, 2013

Twenty Members of Congress are urging Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa to reconsider his decision to postpone indefinitely the visit of  United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez, who has twice been denied access to the Kingdom Read the rest of this entry »

Bahrain and human rights: contrasting views

May 23, 2013

Bahrain‘s Human Rights Minister during a visit to Morocco on 22 May stated: “Bahrain Has Presented Itself as a Model in Implementing BICI’s Recommendations

He said that despite the regretful incidents that happened in 2011, the kingdom of Bahrain has presented itself as a model in its wise dealing with those events, highlighting Bahrain’s bold steps in this regard, including the establishment of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), led by international eminent judges, the acceptance of the recommendations featuring in BICI’s final report and the political leadership’s commitment to implementing them, out of its belief in the importance of protecting human rights. Read the rest of this entry »

Bahrain refuses – again – UN Rapporteur on Torture

April 26, 2013

Bahrain’s state news agency reported earlier this week that Juan Méndez, the UNs special rapporteur for torture, had “put off his visit” scheduled for early May following a letter from Salah bin Ali Abdulrahman, Bahrain’s human rights affairs minister. The letter outlined “reasons for the request to postpone the visit”, the agency said. However, Mr Méndez said on Wednesday 24 April (according to the National) that there was no choice in the matter, calling the refusal to play host to his visit “a unilateral decision by the [Bahraini] authorities“. “This is the second time that my visit has been postponed, at very short notice. It is effectively a cancellation, as no alternative dates were proposed, nor is there a future road map to discuss“.

So much for the much-touted Government-commissioned report of 2011 in which the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry found evidence of torture committed by the country’s security forces during a pro-reform uprising and the subsequent Government’s promise to coöperate with the UN to address the issues. Refusal to coöperate may pay again!

via Bahrain shuts out UN torture probe – The National.


Full report of observer mission to trial of Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain now available

February 17, 2013

BCHR_NABEEL_RAJAB_SPEECHThe Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), published on 14 February 2013 a report, which presents the findings of a judicial observation mission conducted on the trial in appeal of prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. The report concludes that a series of violations of the right to fair trial marred the judicial process and that  Nabeel Rajab is suffering judicial harassment (and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment) for merely advocating for and exercising the right to peaceful assembly in Bahrain. The report is available in English and Arabic. 

Nabeel Rajab is President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), Deputy Secretary General of FIDH, and the BCHR was 2012 nominee for the MEA. Read the rest of this entry »

NGOs call on Human Rights Council to take UPR recommendations on Bahrain seriously

September 19, 2012

A group of 10 human rights NGOs called during the 21st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council to accept the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations, to be adopted on 19 September. They urge the international community to call for the unconditional release of human rights defenders linked to the MEA 2012 nominee the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights who are currently jailed in Bahrain:

  • Nabeel Rajab, sentenced on 16 August 2012 to three years’ imprisonment in relation to three cases brought against him for calling for and participating in peaceful gatherings that the government deems “illegal”. His family has reported his ill-treatment in prison, where he is held separately from other political prisoners.
  • Zainab Al-Khawaja, arrested on 2 August 2012 after she staged a one-woman protest calling for the release of her father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja. It was her fifth arrest since April 2012. On 4 August, she was accused of tearing a photo of the King at the police station and remains in detention, facing 13 charges in total. She requires medical attention for a broken leg suffered during a demonstration.
  • Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace, whose life sentences were upheld by the High Criminal Court of Appeal on 4 September 2012 in the high-profile case of 13 political and human rights leaders. Despite allegations of confessions made under torture, the men were among 21 originally sentenced by military court in June 2011 to between two years and life in prison on charges including “setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution.” In the same case, Blogger Ali Abdulemam was sentenced to 15 years in absentia and his whereabouts are unknown.

In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), which was mandated by the King to investigate reports of serious human rights violations that occurred since February 2011, released its report. Among the recommendations, the BICI called for the cases of over 300 individuals jailed for peacefully expressing their views to be transferred to civil court, and for an investigation into allegations of torture in detention, which was used to extract confessions. The BICI also recorded a culture of impunity in the deaths of prisoners in custody due to torture, and called for the authorities to hold those responsible accountable. Estimates by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR), of which Nabeel Rajab is President, put the number of political prisoners at 3000 as of today, and rights groups continue to record cases of torture and mistreatment in prison.

The NGOs demand the immediately and unconditionally release Nabeel Rajab, Zainab Al-Khawaja, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Abdul-Jalil Al-Singace and all those jailed for exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, observing due process, as recommended by the BICI;

  • Implement all 176 recommendations in Bahrain’s UPR, including to respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, not just 156 of them;
  • Suspend and then revoke the use of penal code articles that violate the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly;
  • Comply with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1998, and international human rights treaties and documents ratified by Bahrain, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
  • Guarantee the safety of Bahrainis who attend the UNHRC sessions, ensuring they won’t face reprisals as a result of their participation in the peaceful promotion of human rights protection.

(in red the two NGOs members of the MEA Jury)
Bahrain Press Association (BPA)
Bahrain Rehabilitation & Anti Violence Organisation (BRAVO)
Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR)
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Front Line Defenders
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Media Support (IMS)
Khiam Rehabilitation Centre
No Peace Without Justice