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Bahrain: Judiciary turned into tool of repression, unfair trials

In one week alone, more than 90 Barhainis have been sentenced to prison terms ranging between five and fifteen years for opposing the dynastical Alkhalifa rule. First came the sentencing of 50 Bahrainis to sentences of this kind, with the allegations that they are part of the 14thFebruary Coalition that started the Revolution in 2011. Those implicated in this group are so diverse in ages, locations and political affiliations that it was viewed as a cheap joke devoid of value, logic or substance. Some of these people had already been sentenced several times on other allegations including affiliation to other groups. It is a sham of democracy and justice and can only undermine the regime’s credibility and human taste. International human rights bodies have condemned this contempt of justice and called for quashing those sentences described as “unfair”. “It’s appalling what passes for ‘justice’ today in Bahrain. The authorities simply sl ap the label ‘terrorist’ on defendants, and then subject them to all manner of violations to end up with a‘confession’,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

More people have subsequently been sentenced to similar terms for their active roles in opposing Bahrain’s hereditary dictatorship. In one of the cases, known as the Case of Duraz, 37 people were sentenced to jail terms ranging between 5 and 15 years. Another group of four people including a child (Sayed Hassan Fardan) from Sitra were jailed for 15 years  for allegedly exploding a small cooking gas cylinder at Adliya district. Amir Al Hurr, had his detention period extended by 30 days. In the absence of his lawyer, Abdul Shahid Abbas Al Tawq had his detention extended 60 days. In one of the outrageous regime’s judicial crimes is the sentencing of a Bahraini youth to lengthy jail terms for a crime committed while he was on hospital bed. Mohammad Mushaima, was jailed for seven years for allegedly being one of those involved in the civil campaign at the financial harbour in March 2011. The popular orator, Mahdi Sahwan, was sentend to 15 months in jail for chanti ng a poem criticising Bahrain’s dictator.

Another outrageous judicial crime by Alkhalifa dictatorship is the sentencing of Bahraini citizen, Abd Ali Al Khair to ten years for re-sending an anti-regime statement on What’s Up. On the same day a policeman accused of torturing Ali Saqr to death while in prison, was sentenced to two years. He is unlikely to serve the sentence. Among those sentenced on Tuesday was Volleyball player, Jassim Hammad, 16 who was punished for his anti-regime stands with one year in jail.

Meanwhile the regime’s case for its crackdown against the Bahraini people has been significantly weakened in recent days, especially at the UN General Assembly annual session in New York. President Obama has called for an end to sectarianism in Syria, Iraq and Bahrain. Those remarks angered the Alkhalifa ruling family and exposed the case of Bahrain to the world at large from the UN platform. Other leaders, including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, have also highlighted the case and afforded it international recognition. This meant that the efforts by the regime’s foreign minister and the millions of dollars plundered on public relations efforts have been fruitless. In the past 30 months many delegations have wondered around Western capitals to deceive the world on what is happening in Bahrain.

At the same time, Death Squads have continued their attacks on Bahrainis outside the realm of law. On Wednesday 2nd October, masked members of Alkhalifa Death Squads in civilian clothing abducted five people at dawn from a flat at Jid Ali Town. There has been no news about them since. Also, a young Bahraini, Sayed Ali Hashem Shubbar was arrested on the Bahrain-Saudi causeway and led away to unknown destination.

Bahrain Freedom Movement
3rd October 2013



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