"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Three executed in Bahrain

Three men were executed by firing squad in Bahrain this morning (15th) according to the Attorney General.

The three men executed were Ali Al-Singace (21), Abbas Al-Samea (27) and Sami Mushaima (42).

Commenting, Maya Foa, a director of international human rights group Reprieve, said:

"It is nothing short of an outrage - and a disgraceful breach of international law - that Bahrain has gone ahead with these executions. The death sentences handed to Ali, Sami and Abbas were based on 'confessions' extracted through torture, and the trial an utter sham.

"It would be shameful if the UK continued to support Bahrain's security apparatus and Ministry of Interior in the face of such terrible abuses. The British Government must urgently review its close relations with the Kingdom, and make clear that it condemns these appalling crimes."

"The execution of these torture victims was made possible by various actors in Bahrain's criminal justice system, and the UK is providing assistance to all of them. In the last four years, the UK government has paid more than 5 million pounds to train Bahraini police officers, prosecutors, judges, prison guards in the death row prison where these men were held, and a supposedly 'independent' torture watchdog which declared one of these men was lying about his torture allegations without ever conducting a medical examination.”

The three men are the first people executed in Bahrain since 2010, and the first Bahrainis executed since 1996.

The execution came less than a week after Bahrain's highest court upheld their death sentence on Monday 9 January 2017.

There are now concerns about two other men on Bahrain's death row who are also at imminent risk of execution, Mohammed Ramadan and Husain Moosa. Both say they were tortured into providing false confessions at the same police station as the three men who were executed today.

Torture


The executions went ahead despite serious concerns that their convictions were based on evidence obtained under torture.

A UN Special Rapporteur, Dr Agnes Callamard, has called them “extrajudicial killings”.

During his police interrogation, Mr Mushaima was beaten, electrocuted and sexually assaulted. Although he was illiterate, he was forced to sign a document that he could not read.

Mr al-Samea, a school teacher, was also tortured during his interrogation, including electric shocks to his genitals and suspending him from the ceiling. He was sentenced to death even though his school provided an alibi letter.

The third man, Ali al-Singace, was just a teenager when he was convicted in absentia. His mother says he was also tortured into making a false confession after police arrested him.

Their families were summoned to Bahrain's Jau prison on Saturday for their final visit, although jail authorities refused to tell them that this was what was happening. They describe being surrounded by over 50 police officers and heightened security procedures at Jau.

UK complicity


The UK Foreign Office has spent over £5 million in aid money on reforming Bahrain's human rights record since protests swept the Gulf kingdom in 2011.

However, Reprieve has evidence that this aid program failed to protect the three men from torture and execution, and actually contributed to their abuse.

Documents obtained by Reprieve, and reported in the Observer today, reveal that Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons helped plan inspections of custody facilities in Bahrain, including the CID station where all three men were tortured (both before and after the inspection.) The six-page inspection report failed to mention their allegations of torture.

Bahrain's police has received repeated training from the UK's College of Policing, which refuses to publish full details about its work.

Hundreds of prison guards at the death row jail where the executed men were detained have been trained by a Stormont-owned body, Northern Ireland Co-operation Overseas (NI-CO).

NI-CO also trained two oversight institutions in Bahrain, an Ombudsman and a Special Investigations Unit, which rejected Mr al-Samea's torture complaint without conducting a proper investigation.

➤ Reprieve’s research into UK support for Bahrain is available here, while further detail about the cases is available on request.

➤ A pre-recorded video interview of Ali al-Singace's mother is available on request

Source: Reprieve, January 15, 2017


Boris Johnson's Bahrain response 'woefully inadequate' - Reprieve


International human rights organization Reprieve has criticised the response of the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to Bahrain's execution this morning of three men . 

The three men, Ali Al-Singace (21), Abbas Al-Samea (27) and Sami Mushaima (42), were executed by firing squad after being convicted on the basis of forced 'confessions'. 

A statement from the Foreign Secretary did not confirm whether the Government took steps to prevent the executions. The statement also did not address concerns, raised by Reprieve, over the risk of UK complicity in the executions and other abuses such as torture. 

Mr Johnson said: "The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty, and it is our longstanding position to oppose capital sentences in all circumstances. The Bahraini authorities are fully aware of our position and I have raised the issue with the Bahraini Government."

The UK Foreign Office has spent over £5 million in aid money on reforming Bahrain's human rights record since protests swept the Gulf kingdom in 2011. Reprieve has gathered information that suggests the assistance programme failed to protect the three men from torture.

Commenting, Maya Foa, a director of international human rights group Reprieve, said:

"The UK is one of Bahrain's biggest backers - last year Boris Johnson's Department oversaw £2m of support to the Kingdom's prisons and wider criminal justice system. Unfortunately, the Bahraini bodies trained by the UK repeatedly failed to properly investigate appalling torture allegations lodged by the men who were executed today. Given this fact - and the grave miscarriages of justice that have taken place today - the Foreign Secretary's statement is woefully inadequate. It fails even to confirm whether HMG had opposed the imminent executions during recent high level meetings with Bahraini officials.

"The Government should immediately suspend its involvement with Bahrain's criminal justice system and Ministry of Interior, and make clear to the Kingdom's leaders that the UK unequivocally condemns its actions."

Source: Reprieve, January 15, 2017


Bahrain executes three Shia men in first death sentences since 2010


(Left to right) Sami Mushaima, Ali al-Singace and Abbas al-Samea were killed by firing squad
(Left to right) Sami Mushaima, Ali al-Singace and Abbas al-Samea
UK urged to loosen ties with Gulf nation as protesters claim confession was extracted under torture and men’s trial was sham

Britain is facing calls to loosen its ties with Bahrain after three Shia Muslim men convicted of killing an Emirati police officer and two Bahraini police officers in a 2014 bomb attack were executed.

The death sentences on Sunday were the first to be carried out in Bahrain since 2010, and protesters claimed that confessions were extracted under torture.

There were street protests in Bahrain following the executions, the first of Bahrainis since 1996, and it remains to be seen how the UK Foreign Office reacts. Britain opposes the death penalty and says it has been working to improve Bahrain’s human rights record.

Maya Foa, the director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “It is nothing short of an outrage and a disgraceful breach of international law that Bahrain has gone ahead with these executions. The confessions were extracted through torture and the trial was an utter sham.

The executions came less than a week after the country’s highest court confirmed the punishment against Abbas al-Samea, 27, Sami Mushaima, 42, and Ali al-Singace, 21. The court found there was “no evidence of coercion in the case documents”.

The three men had been charged with “organising, running and financing a terrorist group [al-Ashtar Brigade] with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks”. They were also accused of “possession and planting of explosives with the intention to kill”.

Mushaima is said to be largely illiterate, while Samea was arrested three hours after the bombing incident. It is also claimed by their supporters that Samea was subjected to beatings, electric shocks, and deprivation of food and water.

State news agency BNA said the men were executed by firing squad in the presence of a judge, a doctor and a Muslim cleric. When their families went to see the men for the last time, they were subjected to police intimidation, it is claimed.

The Arab spring demonstrations led by Bahrain’s Shia majority were crushed by the Sunni-ruled government with help from its Gulf Arab neighbours in February 2011.

In the past year, Bahrain has instituted a crackdown on Shias – imprisoning the most senior rights campaigner, closing the main opposition group, al-Wefaq, and revoking the citizenship of the community’s spiritual leader.

Over the past four years, the UK has spent millions training Bahraini police and helping with the independent police ombudsman. The UK insists it is working to improve the judicial and police system, but critics say the money has turned largely into a front so Britain can expand a naval base in Bahrain largely funded by Manama.

The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, issued a statement on Sunday, which said: “The UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty and it is our longstanding position to oppose capital sentences in all circumstances. The Bahraini authorities are fully aware of our position and I have raised the issue with the Bahraini government.”

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy called on Britain to institute a complete arms ban until human rights changes have been implemented. He said Bahrain was becoming a security threat to the region.

Source: The Guardian, Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor, January 15, 2017


EU Statement on executions carried out in Bahrain


The EU reiterates its strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. 

This case is a serious drawback given that Bahrain had suspended executions for the past 7 years, and concerns have been expressed about possible violations of the right to a fair process for the 3 convicted.

The EU rejects violence as a political tool and fully supports the stability and development of the Kingdom of Bahrain, but believes this can only be achieved through a sustainable and inclusive national reconciliation process.

Source: eureporter.co, January 16, 2017

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