9 March 2020 – On 6 March 2020, 44 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) sent a letter to King Hamad bin Isa of Bahrain, and 45 MEPs sent a letter to the European Union Minister of Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell. Both letters requested urgent protection of the lives of two Bahraini torture survivors: Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa.
Click here for the first letter PDF
Click here for the second letter PDF
The letters express the MEP’s extreme worry over the unfair trial and process both men endured, as well as the torture they were subjected to at the hands of Bahraini authorities.
Although Ramdhan and Moosa’s conviction on charges of killing a security officer came in the face of allegations of torture, Bahrain’s High Criminal Court of Appeals upheld and reconfirmed their death sentences on 8 January 2020. This decision largely ignored evidence, and again refused to take into consideration the force in which confessions were obtained. In fact, for years, their allegations went uninvestigated by Bahrain’s oversight bodies.
Ramadhan, an airport security officer and father of three, was blindfolded, stripped and cuffed, beaten with iron rods, and threatened with the rape of his family members. Meanwhile, Moosa, a hotel employee, was hung from the ceiling by his wrists for three days and beaten until he signed a prepared confession. Despite consistently maintaining their innocence, the two men were convicted in December 2014 on the basis of Moosa’s forced confession.
The MEPs note that since Ramadhan and Moosa’s arrest, the European Parliament, along with numerous United Nations Special Rapporteurs, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and international and local human rights organisations, have denounced the serious violations of their right to a fair trial.
The MEP Publically called for the release of all political prisoners and start a comprehensive dialogue with the political opposition led by the leader of the political opposition in Bahrain Mr. Hassan Mushaima and the King directly, which would establish trust-building measures and lay the ground for an end to security force violence and constant protests and set the foundation for future economic sustainability.
While the two letters remain similar, the asks differ. The MEPs urged King Hamad to grant Ramadhan and Moosa a royal pardon or to commute their sentences, and to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), as well as Article 15 of Convention against Torture, amogst others. Meanwhile, Borrell was urged to remind Bahrain of its obligations under international law and to insist on the establishment of a formal human rights dialogue with Bahraini authorities, in accordance with the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Dialogues.
In December 2019, MEPs previously wrote to Bahrain Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, requesting a delay in the appeal trial, a moratorium on executions, and a fair trial that adheres to the Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol).
Commenting on the letters, Mr. Husain Abdulla, Executive Director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain stated that: “These letters were sent at a pivotal time. Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa have only one chance remaining to have their sentences quashed as the Court of Appeals’ decision is still subject to confirmation by a higher court. This means that, now more than ever, it is crucial that we increase public awareness on these cases and exert greater pressure on the Bahraini government. The MEPs have done just that. King Hamad and Josep Borrell must treat their concerns and requests with utmost importance and urgency.”