29 July 2019 – On Saturday 27 July, the Government of Bahrain executed 25-year-old Ali AlArab and 24-year-old Ahmed AlMalali. Both individuals had been convicted and sentenced to death in a mass trial marred by allegations of torture and due process violations alongside 58 other individuals on 31 January 2018. A third individual from Bangladesh was also executed. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) strongly condemns the Bahraini government’s execution of torture victims, and calls on Bahrain to place a moratorium on the death penalty with a view towards its abolition. Presently, there are eight other Bahrainis at imminent risk of execution, with ten other individuals on death row still undergoing appeals of their cases.
Ali AlArab was detained on 9 February 2017 by security agents of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and was taken to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), where he was held until 7 March 2017. During this time they coerced him into signing a confession while blindfolded. On 7 March, officers transferred Ali to Dry Dock Detention Center. He arrived there bearing clear signs of torture, including having all of his toenails removed. On the same day that he arrived at Dry Dock, the guards beat him for refusing to kiss one of the guards’ boots.
Ahmed AlMalali was also arrested on 9 February 2017. The Ministry of Interior’s Coast Guard arrested Ahmed at sea during a joint operation with the CID, the Special Security Force Command (SSFC), and the National Security Agency (NSA). The authorities presented no warrants. During the arrest, Ahmed was struck by two bullets in his hand and suffered a broken bone in his leg. Doctors did not remove the bullets until 23 days later, and they only treated the broken bone with a splint. Following the arrest, officers held Ahmed incommunicado for a month at the CID, where he was subjected to brutal torture, including forced standing, exposure to cold, beatings (including blows to the genitals), and electric shock.
On 31 January 2018, Ali and Ahmed were sentenced to death in an unfair mass trial, where they were denied access to an attorney and confessions obtained through their torture were used against them. On 28 January 2019, the Bahraini High Court of Appeals confirmed the death sentences, which were upheld again on 6 May 2019 by the Court of Cassation, Bahrain’s court of last resort. Concerns regarding their cases have been raised repeatedly by the international community, including by an Italian MP, French MPs, French Senator Pierre Laurent, Swiss MPs, international NGOs, United Nations experts, a Spanish MP, and a Member of the European Parliament.
On Friday, 26 July 2019, the families of Ali AlArab and Ahmed AlMalali received a phone call for a “special visit.” According to Article 330 of Bahrain’s Criminal Procedure Code, relatives of persons scheduled for execution will be permitted a final visit “on the date fixed for the execution,” before the sentence is carried out. This worrying news came less than 24 hours after United States Attorney General Barr announced the federal government will resume executions of death row inmates.
Despite urgent calls to the Bahraini government to halt the executions from Members of Congress, including Senator Bob Menendez, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission co-chairs, and Representative Ro Khanna, as well Members of the European Parliament, French Parliament, and Agnes Callamard, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the executions of Ali AlArab and Ahmed AlMalali were carried out. Special Rapporteur Callamard referred to their executions as “arbitrary killings,” and stated that she was “appalled” that their executions had been carried out.
The executions of Ali AlArab and Ahmed AlMalali, along with a third individual, are the first executions in over two years, when Bahrain broke a seven-year de facto moratorium on the death penalty in 2017 when they executed torture victims Ali Al-Singace (21), Abbas Al-Samea (27), and Sami Mushaima (42).
ADHRB condemns in the strongest possible terms the execution of these men, in violation of international law and despite public outcry from UN experts, human rights organizations, and officials from multiple governments. ADHRB calls on the Government of Bahrain to immediately halt any pending executions, to re-try other individuals on death row who have alleged confessions coerced through torture and other fair trial rights violations, and to provide compensation to the families of AlArab and AlMalali.