Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bahrain: Police Brutality, Despite Reform Pledges

Minors Regularly Beaten; Impunity Remains Key Problem

April 29, 2012

"(Beirut) – Bahrain’s police are beating and torturing detainees, including minors, despite public commitments to end torture and police impunity, Human Rights Watch said today following a five day visit to the country.

While in Bahrain, from April 15 to 19, 2012, Human Rights Watch interviewed 14 young males, including 7 children, who said police had beaten them severely while arresting them for participating in public protests and while taking them to a police station. The beatings took place after the release of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in November 2011 and subsequent pledges by government officials, including King Hamad, to end ill-treatment and torture. Five of the incidents occurred in April.....

Bahrain has displaced the problem of torture and police brutality from inside police stations to the point of arrest and transfer to police stations,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, who was on the five-day visit. “This abuse contradicts one of the most important recommendations of the independent commission and shows why investigations and prosecutions of abusers to the highest level are essential to stopping these practices.”

Human Rights Watch heard numerous consistent accounts from victims that the police were taking detained protesters to informal detention facilities or isolated outdoor areas for between 30 minutes and two hours and beating them before transferring them to police stations. Human Rights Watch collected detailed information about two such informal facilities: a youth hostel in Sanabis and an equestrian school for police members, locally referred to as Khayyala, near the police station in Budaiya......"

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