WASHINGTON, DC – October 21, 2013 – Today, the Criminal High Court of Bahrain decided on the appeal of the unnamed police officer responsible for the death of Ali Abdulhadi Mushaima, reducing his sentence from seven to three years in prison. Found guilty of “beating leading to death,” the officer was originally given the highest sentence available by the lower courts, but will now be released within a year. Americans for Human Rights and Democracy in Bahrain condemns this miscarriage of justice, for both its failure to hold the violent offender accountable and its flagrant devaluation of human life.
Ali Mushaima was killed on 14 February 2011 under suspicious circumstances. He was in the street outside his home in al-Daih village when he was shot in the back with birdshot at close range. He was unarmed and far from demonstrations. His deplorable death drew international attention and was the first in Bahrain’s movement for greater freedom and justice. Mushaima’s death also served as a catalyst for mustering opposition protests.
“The death of Ali Mushaima was an unforgettable cruelty,” said Husain Abdulla, ADHRB Executive Director. “To reduce the sentence of his killer is to make light of the inhuman brutality committed upon both him and the Bahraini people. We condemn this irrational and arbitrary ruling.”
This incident is a tragic reminder of the culture of impunity present throughout Bahrain, where the government acts to protect regime allies while victimizing the opposition without regard to justice. The relationship between the security, executive, and judicial establishments in the Bahrain government permits authorities who perpetually violate international and Bahraini constitutional law to escape accountability for their infractions.
“The original sentence must be upheld for the officer responsible for Ali Mushaima’s death,” Mr. Abdulla asserted. “It is unacceptable that the killer of an unarmed civilian should walk free in three years while the high court sentences citizens to five, eight, even ten years in prison for ‘unauthorized gathering’ or ‘supporting unauthorized groups’. The people of Bahrain cannot trust a government that fails to administer justice for their fallen children.”
Please click here for a PDF of this statement.