Friday, August 10, 2012
9 August 2012
"The Bahraini authorities must release 13 opposition activists and prisoners of conscience Amnesty International said today, ahead of next week's expected final verdict on their appeals.
The 13, who include prominent activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, were originally sentenced by military court in June 2011 to between two years and life in prison on charges including “setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution”.
All of the men maintain their innocence.
Several of the defendants have spoken out in previous court hearings to describe their alleged torture and other ill-treatment in detention, including sexual assault, to coerce “confessions”.
"The Bahraini authorities must end this travesty of justice, quash all 13 opposition activists' convictions and release them immediately and unconditionally. They are prisoners of conscience, held solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme Deputy Director......"