Three executed in Bahrain – Reprieve comment

January 15, 2017

Three men were executed by firing squad in Bahrain this morning (15th) according to the Attorney General.

The three men executed were Ali Al-Singace (21), Abbas Al-Samea (27) and Sami Mushaima (42).

Commenting, Maya Foa, a director of international human rights group Reprieve, said:

“It is nothing short of an outrage – and a disgraceful breach of international law – that Bahrain has gone ahead with these executions. The death sentences handed to Ali, Sami and Abbas were based on ‘confessions’ extracted through torture, and the trial an utter sham.

“It would be shameful if the UK continued to support Bahrain’s security apparatus and Ministry of Interior in the face of such terrible abuses. The British Government must urgently review its close relations with the Kingdom, and make clear that it condemns these appalling crimes.”

“The execution of these torture victims was made possible by various actors in Bahrain’s criminal justice system, and the UK is providing assistance to all of them. In the last four years, the UK government has paid more than 5 million pounds to train Bahraini police officers, prosecutors, judges, prison guards in the death row prison where these men were held, and a supposedly ‘independent’ torture watchdog which declared one of these men was lying about his torture allegations without ever conducting a medical examination.”

 

The three men are the first people executed in Bahrain since 2010, and the first Bahrainis executed since 1996.

The execution came less than a week after Bahrain’s highest court upheld their death sentence on Monday 9 January 2017.

There are now concerns about two other men on Bahrain’s death row who are also at imminent risk of execution, Mohammed Ramadan and Husain Moosa. Both say they were tortured into providing false confessions at the same police station as the three men who were executed today.

Torture

The executions went ahead despite serious concerns that their convictions were based on evidence obtained under torture.

A UN Special Rapporteur, Dr Agnes Callamard, has called them “extrajudicial killings”.

During his police interrogation, Mr Mushaima was beaten, electrocuted and sexually assaulted. Although he was illiterate, he was forced to sign a document that he could not read.

Mr al-Samea, a school teacher, was also tortured during his interrogation, including electric shocks to his genitals and suspending him from the ceiling. He was sentenced to death even though his school provided an alibi letter.

The third man, Ali al-Singace, was just a teenager when he was convicted in absentia. His mother says he was also tortured into making a false confession after police arrested him.

Their families were summoned to Bahrain’s Jau prison on Saturday for their final visit, although jail authorities refused to tell them that this was what was happening. They describe being surrounded by over 50 police officers and heightened security procedures at Jau.

UK complicity

The UK Foreign Office has spent over £5 million in aid money on reforming Bahrain’s human rights record since protests swept the Gulf kingdom in 2011.

However, Reprieve has evidence that this aid program failed to protect the three men from torture and execution, and actually contributed to their abuse.

Documents obtained by Reprive, and reported in the Observer today, reveal that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons helped plan inspections of custody facilities in Bahrain, including the CID station where all three men were tortured (both before and after the inspection.) The six-page inspection report failed to mention their allegations of torture.

Bahrain’s police has received repeated training from the UK’s College of Policing, which refuses to publish full details about its work.

Hundreds of prison guards at the death row jail where the executed men were detained have been trained by a Stormont-owned body, Northern Ireland Co-operation Overseas (NI-CO).

NI-CO also trained two oversight institutions in Bahrain, an Ombudsman and a Special Investigations Unit, which rejected Mr al-Samea’s torture complaint without conducting a proper investigation.

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

3. A pre-recorded video interview of Ali al-Singace’s mother is available on request