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Bahrain Court Sentences 50 Shia Muslims to Total 430 Years Imprisonment

bahrain courtThe court sentenced today political detainees, including activists and an human rights defenders, to total of more than 400 years’ imprisonment and upheld the sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment against two children. All of the sentences were delivered under the internationally criticized and vague terrorism law. The court also reduced the sentences of two police officers who tortured a detainee to death from 10 years’, to 2 years’ imprisonment.

On the 29th of September 2013, the court held the ruling session in the case known as “February 14th Coalition”, in which 50 individuals were tried under the terrorism law, including human rights defender Naji Fateel, political activist Hisham Al-Sabbag and activist Rihanna Al-Mosawi. The first session was held on 11 June 2013 in the Fourth Criminal Court, a newly established court headed by Ali Al-Dhahrani, son of the head of parliament and member judges Hamad Al-Khalifa –a member of the royal family- and Jasim Al-Ajlan. The court lacked the basic standards of fair trial, which was clear from the first session when defendants spoke about the torture they were subjected to, but were ignored by the court.

On the 5th of September, the legal defense team submitted a letter requesting a change of court due to the conflict of interest, and requested a medical committee to investigate the torture allegations from the defendants. The defense team then withdrew from the session based on Article 211 of the Criminal Procedure Law of Bahrain, which stated that the defense team can refuse the judge’s ruling in the cases mentioned in the previous article and in other cases which are prescribed by the law. Moreover, the defendants issued a statement boycotting the trial stating that the lack of an independent judiciary as one of the reasons.

On the 29th of September 2013, the court continued the sham trial and sentenced the 50 defendants in the case to a total of 430 years in prison: 16 defendants were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment including Naji Fateel and political activist Hisham Al-Sabbag, 4 were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 30 to 5 years. A full list of names and sentences are below.

The BCHR’s Acting President Maryam Al-Khawaja stated: “There was no due process in the entirety of this case which is why the defendants and their lawyers decided to boycott. From the time that the defendants were abducted, tortured and then sentences, nothing was done according to international standards of a fair trial. If these fifty people were really guilty of a crime, why was the only evidence presented confessions extracted under torture? This was a sham trial with a political verdict, they should be released immediately”.
The children Jihad Sadeq, 17 years old, and Mohammed Al-Meqdad, 16 years old, were arrested on 23 July 2012 from Bilad Al-Qadeem. They were subjected to enforced disappearance for nearly 48 hours before they were allowed to contact their families. They were interrogated without a lawyer and were reportedly subjected to ill-treatment and torture both during arrest and interrogation. Both children stated that they were forced to make false confessions. They were tried and charged as adults under the terrorism law on charges of “intent to commit murder”, “burning a police car”, “illegal gathering and rioting”, “throwing Molotov cocktails” and “attempting to steal a police car”. On the 4th of April, the High Criminal Court sentenced both children to 10 years’ imprisonment. On the 29th of September, the Cassation Court upheld the sentence of 10 years imprisonment against both Jihad and Mohammed. They are serving their sentence in adults prison with adult detainees.
In another case, 4 defendants, Mohammed AbdulAmeer Mushaima, Jassim Khalil Al-Saffar, Meqdad Al-Jazeeri and Hussain AbdulGjani, were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment today, the 29th of September 2013 for criminal arson – burning a vehicle – under the terrorism law. It was reported that prior to Meqdad Al-Jazeera’s arrest, he was asked to work as a spy on human rights defenders for the Ministry of Interior and when he refused, the officer told him that he will be charged. They were all reportedly tortured in the Criminal Investigation Directorate.
At the same time, the authorities continued their policy of impunity towards the security forces. Five police officers were accused in the beating that lead to the death of another detainee, Ali Saqer. The court has found to of them guilty in the death of Saqer and has sentenced them to ten years in prison. The officers have not attended the ruling hearing, and were not detained. The court reduced the sentences of the two officers charged with torture to death in custody from 10 years to 2 years’ imprisonment. Although, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry concluded in its report about this case that “996. The death of Mr. Ali is attributed to torture at the Dry Dock Detention Centre. Mr. Ali was in the custody of the MoI at the time of his death.”

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) believes that sentences issued today are unfair and in absolute violation of fair trials international standards. The harsh and baseless verdicts are clearly politically motivated against dissents and activists, while sentences against security forces and MoI personnel are following the authorities policy of fostering a culture of impunity towards human rights violators including torture and killing committed by the security forces. The BCHR calls on the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and all other close allies and relevant international institutions to pressure the government of Bahrain to:

> Immediately and unconditionally release the political detainees in the “February 14th Coalition case”, “Jidhaf’s case, the children Jehad and Ebrahim” and all other political prisoners in Bahrain.
> End the practice of sham trials and politically motivated sentences and charges.
> End the culture of impunity, and bring those responsible for the protection of criminals to justice including the officials at the public prosecution.

Names and sentences of defendants in “February 14th Coalition” case:

15 years’ imprisonment
Hisham Abduljalil Al-Sabbag
Naji Fateel
Saeed Abdulnabi Al-Shahabi
Abdulraoof Al-Shayeb
Mosa AbdAli Ali Mohammed
Hadi Mohammed Al-Mudarisi
Ali Hasan Ali Al-Mushaima
Abbas Abdulaziz Al-Omran
Qassim Bader Al-Hashimi
Ghulam Khairallah Mohammadi
Saber Ali Al-Salatna
Mahmood Nasser Al-Mushaima
Habib Abdulla Hasan Al-Jamri
Rashed Ahmed Rashed Al-Rashed
Al-Sayed Jaffar Kadhem Al-Alawi
Abdulnabi Isa Khanjar

10 years’ imprisonment
Hussain Ramadan Mohammed Shaban
AbdAli Mohammed AbdAli Al-Khair
Hussain Ahmed Rashed Khalil
Hassan Ahmed Nasser Juma

5 years’ imprisonment
Raihanna Sayed Abdulla Hussain
Mohammed Ali Mohammed Al-Tal
Faisal Mansoor Eid Naser
Taleb Ali Mohammed Hasan
Hameed Abbas Al-Safy
Jehad Mohammed Ali Mohammed
Abbas Ahmed Al-Ekri
Isa Mohammed Isa Al-Ghais
Mohammed Abdulla Al-Sangais
Ehsan Abdulredha Abdulla
Habib Abdulla Ashoor
Ahmed Jaffar Al-Mutagawi
Abdulla Jaffar Al-Madani
Jawad Abdulla Al-Arab
Jaffar Taha Al-Jamri
Ali Ahmed Abdulhussain
Sulaiman Habib Ismail
Mohammed Ebrahim Yaqoob
Hussain Ali Dawood
Kadhem Alawi Salman
Ali Mohammed Habib Ashoor
Yasser Abdulla Khalil
Jaffar Ahmed Nasser
Hassan Ahmed Sarhan
Ali Abdulshaheed Al-Sangais
Abbas Jameel Al-Sameea
Ali Jameel Al-Sameeal
Mohammed Jameel Al-Sameea
Abbas AbdAli Al-Kharaz
Jaffar Yahya Ali


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