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US State Dept.: Congress Requested Report on Administrationís Assessment of Bahrainís BICI Recommendations Implementation

2016-05-13 - 8:17 p

Bahrain Mirror: Director of the United States Press Office, Elizabeth Trudeau, said on Thursday (May 12, 2016) that the US Congress requested a report on the Administration's assessment of Bahrain's implementation of the BICI recommendations. She; however, did not give details on when the report is due.

During a daily press briefing, a reporter addressed Trudeau about the news reported by Bahraini media stating that all the recommendations of the BICI commission had been implemented, asking her if the Administration takes that view, or does it think that "this is still a work in progress and more needs to be done?"

Trudeau responded by saying: "We are aware of media reports attributing statements to the chair of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, Professor Bassiouni. We'd refer you to the Government of Bahrain or Professor Bassiouni for any questions about his recent visit to Bahrain and to his assessment of Bahrain's implementation of the commission's recommendations."

"I'd note Congress has requested a report on the Administration's assessment of Bahrain's implementation of the BICI recommendations. We're currently finalizing that report,"she further stated.

"As we've said, the government has implemented a number of important reforms, including key recommendations made by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. These include human rights training for police, establishing institutions of oversight and accountability, and rebuilding mosques that were destroyed in 2011. We continue to both privately and publicly raise our concerns with Bahrain regarding several areas covered in the BICI report, including limitations on peaceful assembly and political activism, the criminalization of free expression, and the importance of reconciliation," added Trudeau.

A reporter insisted on asking Trudeau whether the US Administration thinks that "everything has been implemented". Trudeau; however, said: "We continue to raise some concerns on that."

The reporter further noted that the US State Department report is perhaps several months overdue now. Trudeau said: "It is due to Congress. We're very aware of that. We're committed to getting it," adding that there is no specific timeframe for the report.

Concerning the release of human rights activist Zainab Al-Khawaja, Trudeau said: "We're aware that Bahrain's ministry of foreign affairs announced on Monday - this past Monday - that Zainab al-Khawaja would be released. However, to our knowledge, she remains in prison - in detention with her child. We've closely monitored the case since her arrest and incarceration. We've discussed this issue with the Government of Bahrain. I don't have further information to do - but for a status on her case, I'd refer you to the government."

Responding to a question on whether the Secretary of State "plans to raise this personally, because the commitment was made to him in person while he was visiting Manama," Trudeau said: "I can't speak to the Secretary's conversations, but this is a case where, as you know, we've been closely monitoring."

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