Washington Refrains from Criticizing Bahrain Constitutional Amendment Allowing Military Courts to Try Civilians

2017-03-15 - 7:16 م

Bahrain Mirror: The United States of America refrained from criticizing the constitutional amendment recently conducted by Bahrain, allowing military courts to try civilians. This amendment received harsh criticism from rights organizations, most notably Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

In a Press conference held at the US State Department building (Tuesday March 14, 2017), the State Department spokesperson Mark Toner commended on the constitutional amendment, by saying that his country recognizes the threats that Bahrain faces from terrorism in the region. 

Following is the line of questions and answers by Mr. Toner during the press conference:

QUESTION: Hey. Thanks, Mark. I wanted to ask you about the crackdown on political dissent in Bahrain and specifically the change that the parliament has approved to allow the military courts to try civilians. Is that something you guys are concerned about? Have you talked to Bahrain about it? And I have a follow-up on that.

MR TONER: Sure, Josh. You're talking about specifically the military courts? Is that what you're talking about? Or --

QUESTION: Yeah, to try civilians in military courts --

MR TONER: Right.

QUESTION: -- which some of the human rights groups are saying is basically martial law.

MR TONER: Understood. We're aware of the amendment - I think it was recently passed by parliament, as you note - that expands the purview of military courts. We understand that it's going to become official, once it's affirmed by the King. I think we recognize the threats that Bahrain faces from terrorism in the region. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Bahrain and our other allies in the Gulf to counter any regional threats.

However, these are actions that must be in accordance with international legal obligations to protect human rights, so we urge the Government of Bahrain to ensure that all civilians retain the right to due process in all cases and to transparent judicial proceedings, in addition to the rights of freedom of expression and assembly.

Do you have a follow-up?

QUESTION: Yeah. I was just curious. I mean, there's been a lot of talk about the Trump administration potentially delinking concerns about human rights to military aid, jets that we sell them, and I was curious if that's a decision that the Secretary has come to yet.

MR TONER: Yeah, Josh, look, we've raised this particular issue, asked about it, as well as other human rights concerns, with the Government of Bahrain. We continue to do so. There's been no easing up in that regard.

Arabic Version

التعليقات المنشورة لا تعبر بالضرورة عن رأي الموقع

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