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Bahrain

114 arrests, sentences summing up to 965 years in prison

Hadi Almusawi, head of Freedoms and Human Rights Department, announced the statistics on violations perpetrated by the Bahraini authorities during June 2014. He said his department documented 114 arbitrary arrests, including 18 children. Almusawi said the number of torture and mistreatment cases summed up to 16, and 3 of which were against children. (Read the report: http://goo.gl/DRiOLc)

Almusawi said the statements made by Juan Mendez, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Torture, must be taken into serious consideration by the Bahraini Authorities by halting the crimes he spoke about or by allowing him to visit the country. Mendez had confirmed that Bahrain judiciary issued harsh sentences against peaceful protesters and activists. Also, he said he had received complaints of torture and coerced-confessions and denial to medical treatment. Mendez also expressed concern on the little information provided about Bahrain’s implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).

Bahrain had cancelled scheduled visits for Mr. Juan Mendez who said he is closely following the situation and insisted he visits the country.

Regarding the annual report issued by the Ombudsman office in Bahrain, Almusawi said the report lacked transparency.

“I have not found a single criticism of the security authorities in the report”, he said, adding that the Secretary-General of the Ombudsman Office is also the commissioner for prisoners’ rights, which results in a conflict of interest.

Almusawi criticized the statements made by the Secretary-General of the Ombudsman office, Nawaf Almuawda, to Alwasat newspaper, “When asked about the increase in the number of complaints indicates, he responded that it indicates the people’s confidence in the Ombudsman. This is a blatant attempt to cover-up on the criminal acts committed by security apparatuses”. Almuawda told Alwasat that the Ombudsman office was established because of the human rights development in Bahrain. Commenting on this Almusawi said the Ombudsman was established because of the appalling human rights situation in the country.

Almusawi said the Ombudsman office must not to be involved in violations of the rights of the complainants by keeping silent about abuses and violations against victims. He added, “The Ombudsman office is funded by the people’s public funds and must redress victims”.

Almusawi pointed out that Decree 27, by which the Ombudsman was established, included articles about incitement and violations perpetrated by the security apparatuses as well as the responsibility of officials for these violations. However, he said this decree was amended by decree 35 which was issued after 15 months without all these articles “as if these violations couldn’t possibly be perpetrated by the security apparatuses”.

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