Bahrain Bi-Weekly: Issue 12

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ADHRB Marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

In 1997, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed June 26 to be the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Each year, nations and organizations around the world pause on this day to speak out against torture and to honor and support victims and survivors of torture who have endured unimaginable suffering. On the 16th anniversary of this important day, ADHRB stood in solidarity with victims of torture around the world and expressed concern for the ongoing use of torture by the Government of Bahrain.

Following the outbreak of peaceful protests in Bahrain in 2011, thousands of protesters were detained by security forces for peacefully exercising their free speech rights. During their detention, many of those individuals were tortured, often in an attempt to obtain a forced confession. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, a body commissioned by the king of Bahrain to recommend reforms in response to the 2011 uprising, investigated nearly 600 allegations of torture and confirmed several deaths resulting from torture.

“Torture is prohibited under any circumstance, and has been illegal under international law for decades, yet countries around the world continue to use it to denigrate and humiliate individuals,” said ADHRB Director Husain Abdulla. “The use of torture by the Government of Bahrain to silence protesters is unjustifiable and must be accounted for. Those responsible for torturing medics, journalists, and activists such as Rula al-SaffarNazeeha Saeed, and Abdulhadi al-Khawaja must be punished to the full extent of the law, and the victims of such heinous crimes must be compensated for the abuse they endured.”

Despite ongoing international outcry against such abuses, cases of torture continue to occur in Bahrain, while the perpetrators continue to get away with impunity. Last month, a Bahrain appeals court upheld the acquittal of a Bahraini police officer who tortured Bahraini journalist Nazeeha Saeed during the 2011 uprising. This acquittal closely followed a decision by the Bahrain government to indefinitely postpone a visit by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez, casting further doubt on the government’s claim that torture is not perpetrated by officials.

“The use of torture by the Government of Bahrain has continued unchecked for years,” said Abdulla. “The Bahrain government must immediately cease the use of torture, release those serving sentences based on coerced confessions, compensate all torture victims and their families, and prosecute those responsible for committing acts of torture. Additionally, Bahrain must allow immediate access to the Special Rapporteur on Torture so that he may independently investigate all claims of torture.”

Upcoming Events

Monday, July 8 | 6:30 – 8:30 pm
How Does Our Need for Foreign Energy Resources Impact our National Security? (RSVP)
John Hopkins SAIS – Nitze Building
1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Wednesday, July 10 | 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Can International Human Rights Norms Secure Women’s Rights in the MENA Region? (RSVP)
Woodrow Wilson Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Thursday, July 11 | 11:00 am
Subcommittee Hearing: The State Department 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report (RSVP)
US House Committee on Foreign Affairs – Room 2172
Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC

Monday, July 15 | 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Politics in Tough Places: United Nations Diplomacy in Today’s Crises (RSVP)
Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Tuesday, July 16 | 8:00 am – 3:30 pm
Rethinking Civilian Stabilization and Reconstruction (RSVP)
Center for Strategic and International Studies
1800 K Street NW, Washington, DC

Bahrain News

National Dialogue Update
Representation Issue Tops Bahrain Talks
The National Consensus Dialogue will Continue on August 28

NGOs on Bahrain
 ADHRB Condemns Bahrain Court’s Decision to Uphold Verdict against Bahrain Educators
 No “Plan B”: U.S. Strategic Access in the Middle East and the Question of Bahrain
 Worsening Situation at the Jaw Prison in Absence of Monitoring Visits by Independent NGOs

EU-GCC Meeting
EU Misses Chance to Defend Human Rights in Bahrain
 Statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the Occasion of her Visit to Bahrain

Bahraini Human Rights Defenders
 Lawyer’s Prison Sentence for Tweet Upheld
Voices in Danger: The Abuse of Activists in Bahrain
Bahrain Activist Zainab al-Khawaja Given New Jail Term
Interview with the Mother of Hussain Marhoom: We are Positive of the Innocence of my Son

Lack of Accountability for Abuse
Bahrain Acquits Police who Tortured Medics
Bahrain Court Confirms Policewoman’s Acquittal

Commentary on Bahrain
Is Bahrain Next?
Bahrain’s Fake Sectarian War
Bahrain: Still Shouting in the Dark

Attacks on Freedom of Expression
 The Cost of Tweeting in Bahrain
Bahrain to Study Restrictions on VoIP Services
Five Bahrainis Sentenced to Two Years Imprisonment for Insulting the King
 OECD Complaint against British Surveillance Company Moves Forward