Bahrain to reconsider death sentences of torture victims

By Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve

Mohamed Ramadhan (picture above) and Husain Moosa were sentenced in December 2014, after being subjected to torture, including being stripped naked, beaten with iron rods and having their families threatened with rape. But now their death sentences will be reconsidered.

Acting on recommendations from UK-trained torture investigators, Bahrain’s Attorney General Bahrain has requested that the country’s highest court reconsider the death sentences handed to two men convicted on the basis of forced confessions obtained through torture.

Bahrain’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), a UK-trained body set up to investigate allegations of misconduct and torture, recommended the case was referred to the Court of Cassation after new medical evidence emerged.

The Attorney General of Bahrain, Dr Ali bin Fadhl Al-Buainain, said in a statement posted on social media on Wednesday that the cases were being referred “in accordance with the requirements of justice.”

This belated recognition that Mohamed and Husain’s trial was unfair is welcome but it comes after they have already suffered torture. It also comes at a time when there are others facing imminent execution, including Maher Abbas who has had his death sentence confirmed despite Bahrain’s highest court accepting that he was convicted on the basis of a confession obtained through torture.

We are therefore asking Bahrain to go further and allow the Special Investigation Unit to review all death penalty cases where there were allegations of torture. This must include the case of Maher Abbas. Any findings made by the SIU must be made public.

If justice is to be done, Bahrain must also stay all imminent executions pending SIU investigations into all further torture allegations, and the UK and EU must commit to trial monitoring for any new trials.

More to come on this…