Amnesty International has called upon Bahraini officials to overturn recent death sentences passed on six civilians over terror-related charges, and to put an immediate end to the violent crackdown on political dissidents and anti-regime protesters in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
The London-based non-governmental organization announced in a statement on Saturday that the case must be transferred “to a competent ordinary court that meets international fair trial standards” and noted that confessions extracted under torture needed to cease.
It also urged Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifah regime to disclose the whereabouts of the defendants held incommunicado, grant them access to lawyers and medical treatment and allow them to meet their families.
The six were among a group of 13 political dissidents who were sentenced to death by a court in Bahrain in December 2017 over terror-related charges.
Earlier, Amnesty demanded “immediate and unconditional” release of Bahrain’s senior Shia opposition cleric Sheikh Ali Salman and prominent human rights activists Nabeel Rajab and Ebtisam al-Saegh.
It also called for lifting travel bans imposed against numerous Bahraini human rights advocates, and dropping the charges brought against the relatives of exiled Bahraini rights campaigner Sayed Ahmed al-Wadaei.
Thousands of anti-regime protesters have been holding demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February 2011.
They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah ratified the constitutional amendment a month later.