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Statement of Political Prisone & Human Rights Activists Regarding the Ruling of Court of Cassation & Their Continued Detention
القسم : بيانات

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2012-05-14 12:34:27



 

 

The undersigned, political prisoners and defendants in what is known as the trial of the group accused of plotting to overthrow the Regime and form a republic, express their strong condemnation of their continued detention and trial.  Their ongoing imprisonment and trial come in contravention of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) Report recommendations and decision by the Court of Cassation on 30 April 2012 to overturn the guilty verdict issued by military courts and refer the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which came six months after the submission of the appeal in a court presided over by a judge from the ruling family, a party in the raging political conflict in Bahrain.

 

The undersigned also denounce the position of the Public Prosecution, a supposedly impartial and honest opponent, as it proclaimed in a statement issued post the Court of Cassation verdict that the judgment issued by the Military Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal is likely to be reaffirmed, with theconvictions reinstated due to the lack of change in the case and its merits.  Such statement comes in direct contravention of the findings and recommendations of the BICI, which documented numerous violations of due process and principles of fair trial.

 

Furthermore, the BICI has expressed its concern regarding “the lack of conformity with international human rights law and with the Constitution of Bahrain”, the application of some laws in a way that it “infringes upon the freedoms of opinion and expression” and the imposition of “broad restrictions on the exercise of freedoms of opinion and expression”. In addition, the BICI Report recorded serious violations that occurred during arrests and investigations, which included theextraction of confessions via torture with the complicity of the Military Prosecution.  Subsequently, the Military Courts refused to recognise or hear complaints of torture and prevented the accused from defending themselves. Accordingly, the position of the Public Prosecution as expressed in the aforementioned statement reflects a premeditated intent and prior knowledge of the judgments to be handed down against political activists and human rights defenders, regardless of the grounds for appeal or overturn of verdicts issued by the Military Court against civilians.

 

Our trials were and shall remain political trials aimed at applying maximum penalty against us for our political views and opposition activities defending citizens’ rights. These trials attempt to give legitimacy to all the repression, imprisonment and serious violations inflicted upon us, including arbitrary arrest procedures, investigations, physical and psychological torture, sexual harassment, libel, slander, insults and contempt of religious beliefs. Despite the BICI’s documentation of these violations and its recommendations to cancel provisions and penalties relating to political expression, the Regime which ordered the formation of the BICI in the first placehas abandoned its commitments to the same and continues to arrest hundreds of citizens for their opposing political speech.

 

In light of the abovementioned, we reiterate the following demands:

 

1.      The immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners;

 

2.      The cancelation of all unfair convictions and sanctions imposed against citizens due to their political views and dropping all related charges against them;

 

3.      The Regime’s acknowledgement of its mistakes, formal apology to all victims whose rights were violated and the bringing of all those responsible for violations to fair trials;

 

4.      Cessation of the use of security solutions in resolving political issues, ending repressive practices that confiscate civil liberties and ending the use of force and arbitrary detention against peaceful protesters;

 

5.      Ordering the cessation of the media’s sectarian incitement agendas and ongoing defamation and slander against those with anti-Regime opinion and the immediate removal of officials who ran or participated in these practices from their official positions;

 

6.      Compensation of those affected by security abuses and human right violations; and

 

7.      The Regime’s recognition of Bahrainis’ just demands and the right to participatein political decision making, peaceful transition of authority and the forging of a national constitution, in addition to ending all forms of discrimination, marginalisation, political naturalisation and monopoly of wealth and privileges.

 

Long live the Bahraini people’s uprising for freedom, justice and dignity.

 

 

Prisoners of Conscience:

 


1.                                AbdulwahabHussain Ali

2.                                Hassan Mushaima

3.                                Sh. Mohammed Habib Al Miqdad

4.                                Ebrahim Sharif Al Sayed

5.                                Sh. Abduljalil AL Miqdad

6.                                Dr. Abduljalil Al Singace

7.                                Sh. SaeedMirza Al Nouri

8.                                Sh. Abdulhadi Al Mukhodher

9.                                Sh. Mirza Al Mahroos

10.                            Salah Al Khawaja

11.                            Mohammed Hassan Jawad

12.                            Mohammed Ali Ismail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendixes:

 

Appendix 1 – BICI Report Recommendations

Appendix 2 – Targeting Activists

Appendix 3 – The 14February Revolution


Appendix (1)

 

Dropping Charges against Prisoners of Conscience and Protesters in Accordance with BICI Report

 

BICI was established via Royal Decree after massive international pressure resulting from the grave breaches of human rights committed by the government in repressing the 14 February uprising.  The BICI, which consisted of internationally renowned experts, has condemned the practices, procedures and laws adopted by the authorities in Bahrain, which have directly resulted in the infringement of the rights of citizens.  Accordingly, the following is a summary of some of the findings raised in the BICI Report pertaining to prisoners of conscience, which ultimately stipulate the dropping of all vindictive charges and verdicts issued against them.

 

Firstly: Charges Levied on Freedom of Expression, Assembly and Association

 

The BICI Report (as referenced herein via the relevant paragraph numbers contained in the Report itself) stated that Bahraini authorities have arrested anti-government activists and human rights defenders, including the fourteen political leaders accused of orchestrating the overthrow of the Regime and hundreds of other protestors, and later sentenced them to prison on the basis of political stances made publically in protests and public gatherings, in addition to statements made in various communications outlets (Para. 1256).

 

Additionally, the BICI has also arrived at the following conclusions:

 

1.       The government of Bahrain utiliseddomestic laws to punish and deter political opposition (Para. 1279).

 

2.      The application of domestic laws and regulations against opposition does not conform to international laws on human rights (Para. 1280).

 

3.      Freedom of expression, in all its various forms, is a legitimate mean in accordance with international charters adopted and ratified by the government of Bahrain for the voicing of opposing political opinion.  It should include in public debates opinions that express opposition to the existing system of government in Bahrain, as well as opinions that call for any peaceful change in the structure or system of government or for Regime change (Para.1281).

 

4.      Some of the examples listed in the BICI Report which are considered modes of freedom of expression include the following:

 

a)      Possession and distribution of materials calling for the downfall of the Regime, including use of Internet (Para. 1257).

 

b)      Giving speeches and writing articles (Para. 1258(a)).

 

c)      Organising and calling for strikes (Para. 1258(b)).

 

d)      Calling for and participating in rallies and protests (Para. 1259).

 

e)      Inviting, encouraging and urging others to attend rallies, protests and sit-ins (Para.1260).

 

f)       Criticism of government practices on international media outlets (Para. 1261).

 

g)      Writing and publishing press releases and reports (Para. 1261).

 

h)      Blaming or criticising the King for actions committed by the government (Para.1278).

 

In accordance with the foregoing, the BICI has therefore recommended the dropping of all charges brought against those who have been charged with offences involving political expression (examples as stated above) (Para.1291).

 

Notably, however, there are hundreds of protesters and activists who are still imprisoned in contravention with the clear and direct recommendation of the BICI, including but not limited to, our group of fourteen political opposition figures.  Furthermore, the BICI Report stipulates in Para. 1285 (footnote 629),

 

“…GoB dropped the charges under these articles [pertaining to freedom of expression] against the 14 top political opposition figures convicted by the National Safety Courts.”

 

Secondly: Trials and Sentences Issued by Courts Lacking Basic Principles of a Fair Trial

 

We have been subjected to mistreatment and imprisoned, as is the case with hundreds with protesters, purely for our views, our public political stances and our exercise of our basic rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association.  Additionally, we have been put through unfair trials lacking by all international standards the principles of justice, without which the right of litigation is withdrawn regardless of the seriousness or credibility of these charges.

 

The following are examples of breaches of basic principles of a fair trial that have been committed against us and all opposition members and activists undergoing trials:

 

1.      Arbitrary Arrest:  This includes our arrest without a warrant, without being informed of the evidentiary basis of the same and without securing judicial authorisation (Para. 1174 and 1178).

 

2.      Arrest Procedures:  The arresting and investigation authorities did not comply with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure pertaining to the initial forty-eight hours post arrest (Para. 1160-1166). 

 

3.      Rights of Detainees:The investigation authorities have violated our rights and those of others by detaining us for more than two months without allowing us contact with the outside world, access to courts to challenge the legitimacy of arrest procedures or contact with our lawyers.  Additionally, we have been deprived from contact with our families, who were not informed of our whereabouts or the reasons of our detainment (Para. 1235-1237).

 

4.      Torture and Mistreatment:We, along with hundreds of other detainees, were subjected to systematic torture and mistreatment by members of the security forces, army and guard.  Such mistreatment commenced from the time of arrest during the dawn raids on our homes, carried on during detention and investigation and also on Military Court premises during trial and post verdict in Al Qurain Military Prison (Para. 1234-1238).  This persistent mistreatment was documented by the BICI, which included in its Report a summary of what twenty prisoners have gone through, fourteen of which were members of our group (Para. 552 and 553).  The Report also included brief statements of sixty victims of torture and mistreatment who were examined by forensic experts, including statements of members of our group (Cases 1-12, 23 and 47).

 

5.      Judicial Authority and Public Prosecution Disregard of Complaints:Complaints made by prisoners and detainees pertaining to mistreatment, torture and confessions extracted under torture and duress were ignored both during investigation and trials (Para. 1241).

 

6.      Application of the Law:Charges and trials, both military and civilian, which were brought against us and other political prisoners have been based on laws condemned internationally for their violation of basic human rights.  Such laws infringing a wide array of civil and political rights include the Penal Code, the Terrorism Act, Law of Assembly, the National Safety Law and others (Para. 181-182, 1274, 1290 and 1700).

 

7.      Military Tribunals:We have been put through military trials as civilians.  Such trials have lacked the basic and necessary safeguards for ensuring due process and justice (Para. 1701-1702).

 

8.      Reliance on Confessions Obtained Under Duress:The authorities have relied in formulating charges against us and hundreds of other prisoners on confessions extracted under duress.  The courts have consequently adopted the confessions obtained under various means of physical and psychological torture and intimidation in issuing convictions (Para. 1720). 

 


Appendix (2)

 

Targeting Political Activists and Human Rights Defenders

 

What has been faced by our group, political activists and human rights defenders since March 2011 reflects the vindictive nature of the system currently adamant to take revenge on the masses in ways only comparable to the worst violations that have occurred in Bahrain's political history.   The utilisation of the security solution to address political deficiencieshas witnessed a decline in the few years post 2001 as a result of the authorities’ preoccupation with the fortification of their security systems and the creation of legislative facades.  Nonetheless, the security solution has returned to coincide with the increase in the number of political activists and human rights defenders, both vocal in Bahrain and abroad, championing the cause of exposing human rights violations, public wealth misappropriation, political naturalisation that is destroying the social fabric and the marginalisation of popular will.

 

Since then, malicious trials have been instigated against activists.  The judicial system, including courts and Public Prosecution, have beenutilised aggressivelyin the pursuit of dissenting voiceswho expresslegitimate popular demands, ultimatelyresulting in various forms of human rights violations in Bahrain. In 2007, the infamous State Security Apparatus emerged again to target activists, fabricate charges against them, pursue heinous methods of torture for extraction of confessions, false imprisonment and trials on the basis of laws that have been universally condemned, including but not limited to, penal codes and laws on assembly.

 

Moreover, the convenient creation/exposure of cells and networks by the Regime, which was prevalent during the notorious Security Law State period has returned. Political and human right activists, including the fourteen political leaders, were repeatedly dragged to courts after being tortured and made to confess under duressto attempting to overthrow the Regime, inciting hatred against it, disseminating false information and cooperating with foreign institutions. The same charges have been repeated against the same people throughout the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, reflecting malicious targeting by security forces, which have been and still are running state affairs.

 

Accompanying these security raids are campaigns of defamation, libel and slander against detainees, including the fourteen political leaders, via official media, newspapers, SMS and government related websites. These campaigns extended to the families of the detainees and activistsin the form of arrests, malicious prosecutions, defamation, harassment and dismissals from work. These harassments increased as authorities circulated the names of political prisoners and many activists to neighboring countries, thereby imposing arbitrary travel bans on them and restricting their movement despite not violating any of these countries’ laws.


Appendix (3)

 

The 14February Revolution

 

The glorious 14February revolution is an historical extension to decades of struggle during which Bahrainis ardently fought for freedom and dignity.

 

During the past sixty years, Bahrain has witnessed numerous mass uprisings including the early 1954-1956 movement led by the National Union Committee demanding the end of British occupation and launching an elected popular assembly.  This was eventually suppressed with its leaders imprisoned and exiled by the ruling family in cooperation with the occupying British authorities.

 

In March 1965, Bahrain underwent a major labour uprising that was instigated by the laying off of hundreds of workers from the Bahrain Petroleum Company, followed by an uprising led by The Founding Committee for the General Union of Workers of Bahrain in 1972. During the mid seventies, the Regime mass-arrested citizens after dissolving the National Assembly (parliament) in August 1975, followed by wider arrests in the eighties when many citizens where subject to torture and faced death in prison. The corrupt management of state affairs resulted in sectarian discrimination and lack of democracy.

 

During the Nineties Uprising, which lasted a number of years, dozens of citizens were killed and thousands arrested. With the new millennium, political opposition demanded the government apply real reforms including a democratic constitution, an elected parliament with full powers, peaceful transfer of powers and bringing an end to discrimination, political naturalisation and human right violations.

 

As the Arab Spring breezed across the region, accumulations of decades of political frustrations due to repeated broken promises by the Regime and its domination over executive, legislative and judicial branches led to an overwhelming popular movement launched by Bahraini youth in 14 February 2011.

 

Despite attempts by the Regime and its agents to tarnish the revolution’s reputation, the revolution started peacefully and has been a national movement demanding equal citizenship, real democracy, full legislative parliamentary powers and an elected government. The revolution presented scores of martyrs, thousands of prisoners and wounded citizens to the freedom altar.  In opposition, the Regime called upon the help of its regional allies to suppress legitimate demands and provoke sectarian tension. Nevertheless, revolutionists refused to be drawn into the Regime’s provocations by adopting the slogan “No Sunni, no Shiite - National Unity” as they continue their struggle for freedom and dignity.

  

7 May 2012

 
 
 
 
 
 

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