UN Sent Letter to Bahraini Government Regarding Death Penalty against Maher Al-Khabbaz, Demanded his Retrial

2018-08-14 - 7:05 م

Bahrain Mirror- Exclusive: The United Nations committee sent a letter to Bahrain demanding to reconsider the death sentence issued against Maher Al-Khabbaz.

The committee expressed its grave concern regarding the re-sentencing to death of Maher Abbas Al-Khabbaz, following a collective trial that did not meet fair trial and due process guarantees, in particular the use of confession obtained under torture as the main evidence. The Court of Cassation confirmed the death sentence, without questioning the evidence, in its decision of 29 January 2018.

The committee added that his confession has been used in court as the main source of evidence even after the Court of Cassation overturned the sentence and ordered a review by the High Court of Appeal.

It urged Government of Bahrain to halt the execution of Maher Al-Khabbaz and to ensure that, if credible evidence exists that he was involved in any criminal offence, he is re-tried according to standards that meet the most stringent criteria of fairness as required by international human rights law.

It also asked the government to provide any additional information it  may have on the above-mentioned allegations and provide information about the trial de novo and the evidentiary basis of the findings and whether and in what they differ from the previous ones who were based on confessions obtained under torture.

The committee demanded Bahrain to provide information on the confirmation of the sentence by the Court of Cassation and its review of the legality of conclusions of the Court of Appeal. In particular, providing information concerning measures applied in order to ensure that no statement resulting from torture was invoked as evidence in the proceedings, as required by Bahrain's commitment under ICCPR and CAT.

It further urged Bahrain to provide details of any investigation, judicial or otherwise, carried out in relation to the allegations that Al-Khabbaz was tortured during interrogation and forced to confess against his will.

The committee urge that all necessary interim measures be taken to halt the alleged violations and to ensure the accountability of any person responsible of the alleged violations.

Each of Elina Steinerte, Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, and Nils Melzer ,Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment signed the letter.

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