On the 27th of May, MP Joan Baldoví, member of the Coalició Compromís, tabled a series of questions to the Spanish parliament in relation to the state of political prisoners and reports of grave human rights violations committed by the regime. This was a follow-up session, a second time that his concerns were raised in the chamber. This is due to the unsatisfactory government response that Mr Baldoví had received from the initial time his concerns were raised.
As part of a renewed push to shed light on the crimes committed by Bahrain’s own Minister of Interior, Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, MP Baldoví posed three specific questions demanding answers as to how the Spanish government has taken steps to condemn such atrocities. The MP opened the session my maintain that Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa “has not been held accountable for the crimes of torture and extrajudicial killings that took place under his command”. Baldovì explicity mentioned that another authority figure of the regime, Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, had been directly accountable for torture and had not been charged or reprimanded by the regime. This reconfirms the deep rooted culture of impunity in Bahrain, that even grave crimes such as torture are permissible at the highest echelons of power.
In addition, MP Baldoví drew attention to the continued detention of the leader, Mr. Hasan Mushaima, and his co-leader, Mr. Abdulwahab Husain, of the opposition party; demonstrating the Bahraini regime’s reluctance to meaningfully engage with the government opposition. Despite the recent release of Nabeel Rajab, other prominent leaders such as Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, and Naji Fateel remain incarcerated. The continuous attacks of the Bahrain’s government against human rights defenders and civil society remain a challenging obstacle against the proper functioning of a democratic state.
MP Baldoví stressed that he required ‘clear and direct answers’ to his following questions pertaining to:
- The diplomatic actions that the Spanish government has employed in order to encourage a dialogue between the Bahraini King and the leaders of the opposition.
- What efforts have been made to ensure the release of Bahraini political prisoners due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
- The Spanish government’s legal or diplomatic actions against Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, so they will be held accountable for crimes they have committed against humanity in Bahrain if they are planning to travel to Spain or any European Union territory.
MP Joan Baldovì is currently waiting for a reply from the Spanish government. This is the second time in a few months in which MP Baldovì has questioned his own government regarding the continuous human rights abuses in Bahrain, and the Spanish government’s intentions to intervene in such cases. We hope that this time the Spanish government’s reply will be clearer and actionable.