Bahrainis Recall Bassiouni's Report after his Death: Report Died Way before his Death
2017-10-14 - 12:03 am
Bahrain Mirror: The demise of international law professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, an American of Egyptian origin, has reminded Bahrainis of his report on the 2011 events that took place in Bahrain, which social actors believe could have been a road map leading Bahrain out of the crisis. Things; however, went down differently.
Commenting on the global activist's death, Lawyer Abdullah Al-Shamlawi, one of Bahrain's prominent legal professionals and owner of Al-Shamlawi Law Firm, said: "God have mercy on Bassiouni and farewell to his report, which was a road map but died years before Bassiouni's demise."
Bassiouni passed away on Wednesday (September 25, 2017) at the age of 79 at a hospital in the US city of Chicago after a battle with cancer.
Despite the political disparities between the citizens of Bahrain, Bahrainis collectively agree on the positive role played by Bassiouni and the significance of the report he issued on November 23, 2011, following his chairmanship of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
The report, which was known locally in the island kingdom as the Bassiouni report, comprised 612 pages that addressed a long list of violations practiced by the authorities following the wave of protests during the 2011 Arab Spring, and came out with 25 recommendations that were not fully implemented.
Unionist Karim Radhi, Assistant Secretary General of the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Union (GFBTU), said that Bassiouni "worked professionally and honorably and voiced the truth to history."
For his part, the Bahraini Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, commemorated Bassiouni in a tribute he tweeted, stressing that "he said the truth as it is, not adding anything to it." This prompted the head of the central committee of Bahraini leftist opposition society Wa'ad, Yousef Al-Khaja, to respond, stating that: "Bassiouni said those were were arrested are prisoners of conscience," adding that "it was not proven that Iran interfered in the events in Bahrain, so why were these facts ignored?"
"Whenever someone passes away, they leave a will behind. Bassiouni has left recommendations that must be implemented," Al-Khaja further stated.
After examining thousands of documents and interviews, the Bassiouni report concluded that the authorities "resorted to the use of excessive and unnecessary force," including some for the purpose of "terrorizing citizens and destroying properties". The report also confirmed that torture "was deliberately practiced against detainees in order to extract confessions or for retaliation and revenge." These confessions extracted under torture were later used in trials, the report said.
"Professor Bassiouni has drawn a roadmap for leading Bahrain out of the crisis [...], but winds only blow in ways that ships do not desire," said Wa'ad Society member Mahdi Matar.
As for the head of the "Citizen" Center, Dr. Salah Al-Bandar, former Bahraini government adviser, he said: "I met him (Bassiouni) three times to enlighten him about some dimensions of the plan to exclude the Shiite sect in Bahrain and the implications of that, and he asked me to provide him with a number of documents."
"The report he prepared, despite my reservations about some of its contents, is a complete indictment against the ruling Al Khalifa family and its repressive institutions," highlighted Al-Bandar, adding that the report is "another document that will not fall and an indictment that will reach the International Criminal Court to repair the damage. The people of Bahrain will need it for accountability and recovery in any transitional period."
"The royal court wanted the report to hide the extent of violations committed, but they were surprised, and the Bahraini regime did not abide by the conclusions and recommendations of the Bassiouni report," noted Al-Bandar.
"Dr. Bassiouni bids us farewell as the people of Bahrain are still trekking through a bumpy road fraught with danger and while thousands of its activists are prisoners in the jails of the authoritarian rule," he further stated.
With the death of Bassiouni, the two most important figures in the independent fact-finding commission set up to investigate the 2011 events in Bahrain have left us this year. Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, who was the second major figure on the Commission after Professor Bassiouni, passed away earlier this year on January 25, 2017.
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