Bahrain uses torture evidence to sentence three more to death

January 9, 2017

Bahrain’s highest court has today (9th January) upheld the death sentences of three men, despite allegations that they were tortured into making false confessions. Their executions are now imminent.

Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima, and Ali al-Singace were originally sentenced to death in February 2015.

At least two were tortured into signing false ‘confessions’ that were used against them all in court.

Mr Mushaima was forced to sign documents despite being illiterate. He is a relative of a prominent opposition politician, but has never been involved in activism.

Mr al-Samea was admitted to hospital for surgery as a result of his interrogation. He is a PE teacher and aspiring photojournalist who had taken pictures at a protest.

The three men’s death sentences were overturned in October 2016 after a court ruled that their initial sentences were “misjudgements.”

However, in December 2016, the appeals court reinstated their death sentences.

Human rights organization Reprieve wrote to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May asking her to raise the issue of police torture and the death penalty ahead of her meeting in Bahrain last month.

Millions of pounds in UK government aid have been spent on training Bahrain’s police, prison guards and torture watchdog in recent years.

Commenting, Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said:

“It is extremely alarming that Bahrain, a close ally of Britain, is gearing up to execute three people, all of whom were convicted on the basis of false ‘confessions’ extracted through torture. Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima, and Ali al-Singace will be the first people to be executed in Bahrain in six years. On her recent visit to Bahrain, Theresa May said that the UK ‘does not uphold our values and human rights by turning our back on this issue’ yet apparently declined to raise the cases of these prisoners facing imminent execution. The UK must do more to ensure its close allies do not render them complicit in the gravest abuses.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications [at] reprieve.org.uk. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on Katherine [dot] oshea [at] reprieve.org

2. The full text of the letter to the Prime Minister is available on Reprieve’s website.

3. Reprieve’s research into UK support for Bahrain is available here, while further detail about the cases is available on request.