21 May 2019 – Today, five United Nations (UN) experts issued a press release concerning the imminent executions of Ali AlArab and Ahmed AlMalali, two Bahraini men who were arrested in February 2017 and sentenced to the death penalty in an unfair mass trial. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) welcomes the commentary by the UN experts, and echoes their calls to halt the implementation of the death penalty against AlArab and AlMalali.

The five experts – Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Ms. Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Mr. Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers; and Mr. José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Chair-Rapporteur, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – commented on AlArab and AlMalali’s cases, stating that both were allegedly subjected to torture to coerce confessions and prevented from attending their trial.

The experts provided the following commentary in their press release:

“We urge the Government of Bahrain to immediately halt the executions of the two men, to annul the death sentences against them and to ensure that they are retried in accordance with international law and standards.”

“The two individuals should have never been convicted on the basis of what appears to be seriously flawed trials. Executions in these conditions would amount to arbitrary executions.”

“We have raised multiple cases with the Bahraini authorities. . . We urge the Government to establish an official moratorium on all executions with a view to abolish the death penalty.”

The men had previously been included in communications from the Special Procedures offices – AlArab was the subject of an Urgent Appeal in July 2017, and both of their cases were discussed in an Urgent Appeal concerning the death penalty in December 2018.

“The commentary and condemnation by these UN experts is desperately needed at this time,” says Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of ADHRB. “These cases are exemplary of Bahrain’s failed justice system, which relies on widespread torture and uses the courts to violate the rights of the Bahraini people. The international community must speak out against abuses like this in Bahrain, and it must do so loudly and frequently, in order to deter the Bahraini authorities from continuing to commit violations unchecked. If the UN and the international community do not hold the authorities to account for these human rights violations, they will continue and increase at a rapid pace.”

ADHRB welcomes the comments of the UN experts at this time, and echoes their calls for the annulment of their convictions, the investigation of allegations of torture, and a moratorium on the death penalty in Bahrain. We particularly note the need for international engagement at this time, as there are currently nine men at imminent risk of execution in Bahrain.