Members of the Dáil Éireann engaged in a set of Parliamentary Questions, posing oral questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney (Fine Gael – Cork South-Central). Over the course of these questions, several TDs challenged the Foreign Minister on the human rights situation in Bahrain, and specifically on the cases of Bahrainis at imminent risk of execution including Husain Moosa and Mohammed Ramadhan.
On July 13 2020, Bahrain’s Court of Cassation reinstated the death sentence against Mohamed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa. They now face imminent execution as a result of a trial internationally recognized as unfair. Both men were arrested in February of 2014. Both were threatened and beaten by law officers during interrogation. When Mr. Moosa was tortured until he signed a pre-prepared confession, that confession was used to charge both men with planting a bomb that killed a police officer. They were sentenced to death without physical evidence linking them to the crime or access to legal representation. Mr. Ramadhan states that his interrogators told him they knew he was innocent of any crime, but that he was a traitor so they were waiting until they found a crime to charge him with.
This debate in the Dáil follows a series of other debates in the Oireachtas seeking to raise awareness of the human rights situation in Bahrain over the past several years. Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) welcomes this debate, and the attention brought to the cases of Bahrainis at imminent risk of execution following unfair trails plagued by allegations of due process failings and torture.
In her question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Róisín Shorthal TD (Social Democrats – Dublin North-West) pressed the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the continued use of the death penalty in Bahrian, asking whether he would condemn the use of the death penalty, specifically in the Moosa and Ramadhan cases, and the specific steps he would take in this regard.
In a similar regard, Green TD for Dublin Fingal, Joe O’Brein, pressed the Minister on whether his attention has been drawn to the use of the death penalty in Bahrain, in particular in the cases of Moosa and Ramadhan and if he will intervene and make a statement on these cases.
Joint leader of the Social Democrats, Catherine Murphy TD (Kildare North) queried nature of the Minister’s most recent engagement with his counterparts in Bahrain and if he has discussed human rights conditions in Bahrain with his European and Bahraini counterparts.
Finally, in addition to raising the cases of Moosa and Ramadhan, the Social Democrat Cian O’Callaghan TD (Dublin Bay North) sought clarification on whether Bahrain will be requested to improve its position on human rights.
In responding to these questions, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a written answer in which he reiterated that the human rights situation in Bahrain is a matter of concern for the Irish government. The Minister confirmed that he was aware of the cases of Mr. Moosa and Mr. Ramadhan, as well as the decision of the Court of Cassation in these cases. The Minister criticized the lifting of the Moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the Kingdom in 2017, stating that this was a particularly negative development and was particularly worrisome.
The Minister restated that the abolition of the death penalty remains one of the key Irish international priorities. The Minister stated that the Irish government joins calls by the EU to halt executions in Bahrain, and restates the EU position that the death penalty “is incompatible with human dignity”, “does not serve as an effective deterrent to crime and makes any miscarriage of justice irreversible”.
Furthermore, the Minister stated that in bilateral dialogue with Bahrain, the Irish government raised its concerns about the cases of Ramadhan and Moosa directly with the Bahraini Ambassador to Ireland (Non-resident), reiterating the governments long-standing opposition to the death penalty, and that when the Minister met the Bahraini Foreign Minister at the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2019, Mr. Coveny raised the human rights situation in Bahrain with him.