On 15 March 2017, Ahmed Maki delivered an oral intervention at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council under the Item 4 General Debate. In his intervention, he raises two major setbacks to reform efforts in Bahrain since the beginning of 2017, including the execution of three torture victims and backsliding on its BICI commitments. Please keep reading for his full remarks or click here for a PDF of the intervention.

Mr. President,

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, together with the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, would like to call attention to two major setbacks to reform efforts in Bahrain since the start of 2017.

The authorities crossed what many activists have called a major “red line” on 15 January 2017, when they executed three torture victims. Sami Mushaima, Ali Al-Singace and Abbas Al-Samea – who were charged in connection with a fatal police bombing – claimed that they were coerced into providing false confessions, which comprised the primary evidence in their convictions. These executions were the first in Bahrain since 2010, and the first state execution of Bahrainis since 1996. Bahraini courts have sentenced two other men, Mohammad Ramadan and Husain Moosa, to death based on coerced confessions, and they are at imminent risk of execution, pending the king’s approval.

Further, in direct contravention of the Government-commissioned Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) recommendations, authorities have also issued Royal Decree 1/2017, which restores the National Security Agency (NSA) powers to arrest and detain civilians “involved in terror crimes.” The Government has largely used the vague anti-terror legislation to persecute human rights defenders, journalists, activists, and protesters, however, and is likely to be used to further strengthen the suppression of dissent.

We therefore call on the Council to condemn systematic violations of human rights in Bahrain including arbitrary detention and citizenship revocation, torture, extrajudicial killing, religious discrimination and excessive use of force. We finally call on the Council to create a Special Rapporteur on the human rights in Bahrain, to specifically address the rising crisis in the kingdom.

Thank you.