Four Death Sentences Commuted In Bahrain

April 26, 2018

Image of Theresa May and Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

The King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, has commuted the death sentences of four men accused of plotting to kill the head of the armed forces. The sentences were imposed by a military tribunal, following a secretive trial that fell far short of international standards of due process.

Two of the defendants, Sayed Alawi Sayed Hussain and Fadel Radhi, were abducted by security forces and held secretly in detention for months. While they were ‘disappeared,’ Bahrain’s constitution was amended to enable military tribunals to try civilians. At trial, their lawyers were not provided with the evidence against them, and a gag order prevented them from disclosing anything heard in court.

Since the January 2017 executions of three men, following protests against the regime, Bahrain’s death row has been filling up at an unprecedented rate. There are now twenty-one men on death row, and four facing execution, including Mohamed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa, who were stripped naked and beaten with iron rods by their interrogators, and Maher Abbas al-Khabbaz, who signed his ‘confession’ at gunpoint and was tortured so severely he was transferred to a military hospital.

Commenting, Reprieve Director Maya Foa said: “These commutations are a welcome step. If the King is serious about reforming Bahrain’s justice system, he should impose a moratorium on the death penalty pending a full public inquiry into allegations of torture and forced confessions by those on death row, and strip military tribunals of the power to try civilians.”

Commenting, Sayed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy of London-based NGO BIRD, said: “These commutations show clearly how inappropriate it is for Bahrain to be trying civilians in military courts. The men were victims of gross human rights abuses and they must be provided with redress. The UK must now ensure Bahrain commutes all death sentences immediately and commit to ensuring public and transparent investigations into human rights violations are carried out.”