Calls for Bahrain torture probe

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Friday, 12 November 2010


bahrain-probThe legal representatives of Shia opposition activists have repeated a call for a probe into the alleged torture of the defendants.

Bahrain's High Criminal Court first tried the 27 accused in late October for allegedly financing and practicing terrorism, among other charges.

The Shias pled not guilty and bewailed the "torture," "abuse" and the solitary confinement they had been forced to suffer.

Addressing a Thursday hearing by the court, which had turned down their first such plea, the defense said an investigation had to be

Mohammed al-Tajer, one of the lawyers, mourned that "certain decisions of the court, including the transfer of the defendants from a state security prison to an ordinary one, have not been implemented."

He also complained that the limited time between the two court events had not been enough for the lawyers to prepare their defense.

The Shias dominate Bahrain's demographic map but have long complained about being discriminated against by the government when it comes to employment opportunities and the right to services.

The Shia opposition refuses to recognize the 2002 constitution and had called for a boycott of the parliamentary elections, which were held on October 23.

The government is accused of coming down hard on the Shia opposition and human rights activists.

Bahrain went on an arrest campaign against the protesting Shias in an apparent bid to pave the way for widespread fraud in polls.

Prior to the elections, Manama arrested more than 250 Shias, including 23 of those who have appeared before the tribunal.

The Amnesty International has underscored Manama's suppression of Shia opposition and rights activism. The Human Rights Watch and the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) -- a non-profit body with the stated aim of promoting democratic standards in the region -- have also addressed the crackdown in the lead-up to the polls.


">  launched into the matter and that the defendants had to undergo medical examination.

Manama has, however, said that a "senior forensic science consultant," who had examined 13 defendants, could not detect any signs of ill-treatment.

Mohammed al-Tajer, one of the lawyers, mourned that "certain decisions of the court, including the transfer of the defendants from a state security prison to an ordinary one, have not been implemented."

He also complained that the limited time between the two court events had not been enough for the lawyers to prepare their defense.

The Shias dominate Bahrain's demographic map but have long complained about being discriminated against by the government when it comes to employment opportunities and the right to services.

The Shia opposition refuses to recognize the 2002 constitution and had called for a boycott of the parliamentary elections, which were held on October 23.

The government is accused of coming down hard on the Shia opposition and human rights activists.

Bahrain went on an arrest campaign against the protesting Shias in an apparent bid to pave the way for widespread fraud in polls.

Prior to the elections, Manama arrested more than 250 Shias, including 23 of those who have appeared before the tribunal.

The Amnesty International has underscored Manama's suppression of Shia opposition and rights activism. The Human Rights Watch and the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) -- a non-profit body with the stated aim of promoting democratic standards in the region -- have also addressed the crackdown in the lead-up to the polls.


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