21 January 2020 – On Thursday 9 January, The Italian Senate’s Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, Stefania Pucciarelli, sent a letter to King Hamad bin Isa of Bahrain, urgently requesting that the Kingdom protect the lives of two Bahraini citizens: Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa.
On 8 January 2020, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court of Appeals upheld and confirmed the death sentences of Mohammed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa – who had been convicted in December 2014, on charges of killing a security officer. Their conviction comes in the face of allegations of torture. The 8 January decision comes after a brief respite; on 22 October 2018 the Court of Cassation had overturned their verdict, on the basis of new medical reports which may exhibit signs of torture, and that such evidence had not been considered by the court in the original trial. However, on 8 January 2020, the High Court of Appeals reconfirmed the death penalties – a decision that largely ignores evidence, and again refuses to take into considering the force in which confession were obtained.
As Chairperson Pucciarelli’s letter highlights – Italy and Bahrain have enjoyed “excellent and friendly” relations, as evidenced by increased economic and trade cooperation. Chairperson Pucciarelli’s letter further highlights that Italy and Bahrain are both signatories to several integral international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. As such, this letter calls on Bahrain to adhere to its international obligations and “associate itself with the international community in respecting the founding value of every society, the respect for the right to life.”
Chairperson Pucciarelli’s requests the humanity and sympathies of King Hamad bin Isa of Bahrain, and calls for the commuting of the death penalty sentences. Chairperson Pucciarelli further stressed the availability of alternative sentences – namely prison terms – available for both Ramadhan and Moosa.
Staesha Rath is an Advocacy Volunteer with ADHRB.