Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bahrain: Hundreds Railroaded in Unjust Trials

Politically Motivated Prosecutions Flagrantly Disregard Rights

February 28, 2012

"(Beirut) – Bahrain has routinely convicted hundreds of opposition activists and others of politically motivated charges in unfair trials, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should void the convictions in trials before Bahrain’s military and civilian courts that fell far short of international fair trial standards, Human Rights Watch said.

The 94-page report, No Justice in Bahrain: Unfair Trials in Military and Civilian Courts,”documents serious due process violations in high-profile trials before Bahrain’s special military courts in 2011 – including one trial of 21 prominent political activists and another of 20 doctors and other medical personnel – and in politically motivated trials before ordinary criminal courts since 2010. Serious abuses included denying defendants the right to counsel and to present a defense, and failure to investigate credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment during interrogation.

Grossly unfair military and civilian trials have been a core element in Bahrain’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should remedy the hundreds of unfair convictions of the past year by dropping the cases against everyone convicted on politically motivated charges and by adopting effective measures to end torture in detention.

”The egregious violations of fair trial rights in political cases do not just reflect the poor practices of individual prosecutors and judges, but serious, systemic problems with Bahrain’s criminal justice system, Human Rights Watch said......"

Download the full report (PDF, 752.66 KB)

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