HRW Warns of Imminent Risk of Execution of Two Detainees whose Confessions Extracted under Torture

2017-01-23 - 9:29 م

Bahrain Mirror: Human Rights Watch said that two Bahrainis, Mohammad Ramadan and Hussein Mousa, appear to be at imminent risk of execution despite the authorities' failure to properly investigate their allegations of torture.

In a statement on Monday (January 23, 2017), HRW said "The January 15, 2017 executions of three other Bahrainis in a similar case have raised concerns that King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa will approve the executions of Ramadan and Moosa, who face the death penalty for a February 2014 bombing that resulted in the death of a policeman."

Human Rights Watch explained "analysis of their trial and appeal judgments found that their convictions were based almost exclusively on their confessions, which both men retracted."

"Bahrain should not under any circumstances execute two more young men, especially where there is credible evidence of confessions obtained through torture and unsound convictions," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Ramadan and Mousa's lawyer, Mohammad Al-Tajer, told Human Rights Watch that he was unable to speak with his clients during pretrial detention. The first time he was able to speak with them was on the first day of their trial on July 24, 2014, he said.

An examination of the trial record indicates that the key evidence used to convict Ramadan and Mousa was their confessions, which their lawyer argued in court should have been inadmissible because the court did not thoroughly investigate the men's torture allegations. The trial court dismissed this argument, stating that "the defendant's [Mousa's] confession is overall consistent, which confirms and proves that his confession is consistent with the truth and facts of the case." On May 27, 2015, Bahrain's First Supreme Criminal High Appellate Court upheld the death sentences, saying that it was "persuaded that these confessions and statements were free of any taint of coercion of any kind, using in this its discretionary authority."

Human Rights Watch reviewed copies of the reports from Dr. Mohamed Nour Fowda, the forensic doctor employed by Bahrain's public prosecutor's office, who examined Ramadan and Mousa on March 2, 2014. The reports do not refer to the men's allegations of torture, stating only that their purpose is to assess the nature and cause of any injuries. The report on Ramadan concludes that the bruising on his legs was the result of "collision ... with an object," and the report on Mousa concludes that marks on his wrists were "the result of handcuffs." The trial court judgment makes no reference to either forensic report. Al-Tajer, who has defended many prominent opposition figures and rights activists, told Human Rights Watch that their absence probably relates to the considerable evidentiary weight that judges in Bahrain place on confessions.

Human Rights organization Reprieve provided copies of these reports to Dr. Brock Chisholm, an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of torture victims. Chisholm wrote that the report on Ramadan "fails in almost all aspects of what is required in a forensic investigation of possible torture. ... is in complete violation of the internationally recognized Istanbul Protocol and should therefore be completely disregarded." Chisholm listed a range of failures, including the absence of details of the report's author's qualifications or independence, the presence of a police officer during the investigation, the absence of a lawyer during the investigation and the failure to document full details of Ramadan's injuries.

Ramadan's wife, Zainab, told Human Rights Watch that her husband looked "pale, skinny, weak, and shaken" when she met with him at what she described as a strictly monitored visit approximately 10 days after his arrest on February 18, 2014. She said that after his transfer to Jaw prison month after his arrest, he told his family that officers at the Criminal Investigations Directorate and Riffa police station tortured him to make him confess to his involvement in the bombing.

"Investigations into torture should be conducted before trials not after them," Stork said. "Similarly, the UK, France, Germany, and the EU should publicly condemn this unfair trial and oppose these sentences before Bahrain assembles its firing squad."

Arabic Version    

التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع

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