Death Penalty: A Tool of Vengeance in Bahrain
By Sondos al-Assad
Lebanon – Since 2017, Bahrain has executed five political prisoners by firing squad instead of launching a political dialogue and national reconciliation that ease the prolonged crisis. The execution of those detainees has been part of a broad repressive trend sweeping the tiny Gulf Kingdom since February 2011.
Meanwhile, there are 12 death row detainees who are on death row, all of them are victims of severe and inhumane treatment, 10 could be executed at any moment, without warning, in case the verdicts were ratified by the monarch.
Those victims of torture have convicted based on confessions that they had retracted in court because they were extracted under pressure and torture.
So, the king's signature is now all that stands between those victims of torture and their execution.
According to rights groups, Manama pays less and less attention to the question of civil liberties and rights in its attempts to tamp down on peaceful dissents. Hence, the trend of Death Penalty has sharply exacerbated in the recent years amid the absence of censure from Western allies, namely Washington and London, whose priority is security and oil not human rights.
Annually, the UK spends $1.59 million on supporting Bahrain's Special Investigation Unit [SIU] and the Ombudsman who are accused of violating their international and domestic human rights commitments.
Those so-called oversight bodies have failed to investigate torture allegations against two death row inmates Mohamed Ramadan and Hussain Moussa.
"I'd been taken in handcuffs to village of Al-Deir to act out a murder I didn't commit... It terrifies me to think there is only one chapter left," says sentenced to death Hussain Musa.
Besides, the authorities is accused of using the terrorism charge to retaliate against number of conscience activists and social justice seekers, a crime which is deemed to be an extrajudicial killing which results of unfair trials.
Bahrain uses the "Anti-Terrorism Act" as pretext to justify illegal sentences against its peaceful citizens only because they exercise their rights for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which are guaranteed not only by international covenants but supposedly by the Bahraini constitution.
Amid the absence of fair judicial transparency, perpetrators of human rights violations are not held accountable in a blatant attack against the minimum standards of human rights stipulated in international conventions.
Ali Al-Arab, Ahamd Al-Malali, Abbas Al-Samei, Sami Mushaima and Ali Al-Signace are the 5 inmates who have been sentenced to death so far.
They were arbitrarily executed by firing squads after allegations of their unjust trial, inhumane torture, sexual assault and medical negligence.
Prior to their execution, they met their families; however they hadn't even known about the visit that was scheduled based on an ambiguous call from the prison's administration as part of psychological intimidation. Furthermore, while their last visit, their families noticed that the searching measures were specific, exceptional and humiliating.
Currently and before it's too late, Bahrain must be pressured to immediately commute the death sentences and establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
The king must not ratify but urgently quash these death sentences which are a result of sham court proceedings that brazenly flout international fair trial standards.