UN condemns Bahrain torture, as UK hosts royals – Reprieve comment

May 12, 2017

The UN Committee Against Torture has urged Bahrain to end the use of torture, and to retry protesters who are facing the death penalty.

The UN’s report – released today – comes as the King of Bahrain meets with the UK Queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa is ‘hosting’ the Queen at the annual show, in a ‘Kingdom of Bahrain Lounge’.

The royal meeting, and the UN report, have emerged amid a crackdown on dissent in the Kingdom. The Bahraini authorities recently resumed executions after a 6-year moratorium, executing three political protesters who had been sentenced to death on the strength of forced ‘confessions’. Two protesters mentioned in the UN’s report – Mohamed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa – could be executed at any time.

International human rights group Reprieve has found that the British government has given substantial support to Bahrain’s prison system, including the training of hundreds of guards on Bahrain’s death row, where torture is rife.

Commenting, Director of Reprieve Maya Foa said: 

“The UN is right to challenge the Bahraini government over its abysmal human rights record – from the use of torture to extract false confessions, to the executions of torture victims. The response to this wave of repression from Bahrain’s closest allies, on the other hand, is hugely disappointing.

 

“While innocent people like Mohamed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa face imminent execution, the UK is propping up the Bahraini prison system and hosting the Bahraini King at a royal horse show. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration has expressed its desire for closer relations with the Kingdom, at any cost.

 

“The UK and the US must make clear to Bahrain that they condemn torture and executions following patently unfair trials – and they must call for the immediate release of Mohamed and Husain.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s London office can be contacted on: communications@reprieve.org.uk, or +44 207 553 8160. Reprieve US, based in New York City, can be contacted on: katherine.oshea@reprieve.org, or +1 917 855 8064.

2. 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. More information on the UK’s support for Bahrain’s prison system is available at the Reprieve website, here.

3.  Reprieve and other human rights organizations have written to the Queen and the organizers of this week’s Windsor event to raise concerns.

4. The Trump Administration recently dropped an Obama-era restriction – based on human rights concerns – on the sale of US security and defence equipment to Bahrain.