UPDATE – Kris Maharaj, firing squads in Bahrain and a Supreme Court win
First, a quick update on Kris Maharaj in Florida.
On Friday we got news that he was desperately ill with necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria) caused by the terrible conditions in prison. The prison authorities were refusing to get him medical treatment, but, after a lot of pressure, he was finally taken to hospital.
That’s good news, for now. Kris’s wife Marita is still desperately worried, but wanted to thank all the thousands of people who took action to help him. We will update all Kris’s supporters when we have more news.
UK Supreme Court win
The UK Supreme Court has unanimously rejected attempts by the government to stop the victims of a joint MI6 and CIA ‘rendition’ operation from having their case heard.
Opponent of the Gaddafi regime Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar, who was pregnant at the time, were kidnapped, abused and taken to a Libyan prison in 2004, where Abdul-Hakim was tortured.
They have offered to drop their claim in return for an apology and a token payment of £1 from the UK Government and others including Jack Straw, who was Foreign Secretary at the time, and Sir Mark Allen, the MI6 official who took credit for the operation in correspondence sent to Gaddafi’s spy chief.
Bahrain torture and executions
On Sunday, three men were executed by firing squad, in a disgraceful breach of international law. Ali Al-Singace, Abbas Al-Samea and Sami Mushaima were the first to be put to death by the Bahraini authorities since 2010.
Now, we’re working on the cases of two more prisoners who face imminent execution in Bahrain – Mohammed Ramadan and Husain Moosa. As with the three men executed on Sunday, their death sentences were based on ‘confessions’ extracted through torture and handed down in sham trials.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has refused to confirm whether any steps were taken to prevent these executions – or whether action will be taken to stop the upcoming executions.
What we do know is that the UK government has provided extensive assistance to the Bahraini criminal justice system – the system that made the execution of these torture victims possible. In the last 4 years, the UK government has paid more than 5 million pounds to train police officers, prosecutors, judges, and even then prison guards in the death row prison where Ali, Abbas and Sami were held.
More to come on what we can all do to save our clients from the firing squad.
The Reprieve Team