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BBC report reveals Bahraini torture

On November 26, BBC Arabic broadcast a report about the systematic use of torture to obtain forced confessions in Bahrain. It focused on the cases of Maher al-Khabbaz, who is at imminent risk of execution, and Mohammed Ramadan and Husain Moosa, whose case is currently under review by Bahrain’s Court of Appeal. The report drew on new assessments from the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims showing that the Bahraini state’s internal investigation of credible torture allegations made by the three men was neither credible nor independent.

Arabic speakers can hear the report here.

A full English transcript can be read below.

International human rights organisations have called on the Bahraini authorities to release three detainees, one of whom was sentenced to death in 2018. The Court of Appeal is expected to issue its verdict on another two defendants tomorrow. More in Derar Ameer’s report.

Reporter Derar Ameer: A campaign from international human rights organisations on three Bahrainis: Mohammed Ramadhan, Husain Moosa and Maher Al-Khabbaz. The question: Why this campaign?

One of the detainees is Maher Al Khabbaz who received a death sentence on 29 January 2018.

Reprieve, an organisation of human rights defending lawyers based in London, say that Khabbaz has exhausted all his legal remedies and could be executed at any moment. The other two defendants Ramadahn and Moosa are still awaiting their final verdict from the Court of Appeal after the Court of Cassation accepted their appeal. There are worries that they will receive a death sentence. Human rights organisations are demanding their release as there are no proof evidence in the case.

Zainab Ibrahim, wife of Mohammed Ramadhan: Mohammed is innocent and there is no proof or evidence that incriminates him with these crimes.

Derar Ameer: We tried to contact the Bahraini Embassy in London and other Bahraini officials to give them the right to respond, but we did not manage to reach any of them. But Jamal Ali Bu Hassan, ex member of Bahraini Parliament says that that there are confessions from the defendants and witness statements against them.

Jamal Ali Bu Hassan: In Bahrain we have confessions and witnesses against those two defendants.

Derar Ameer: The confessions mentioned by Jamal Ali Bu Hassan were extracted under torture, according to Sayed Al Wadaei, director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy. He added that the report by the forensic doctor included aspects of this torture.

Sayed Al Wadaei: We received direct statements from the victims themselves, but the most important aspect is that the report by the forensic doctor indicated that there are signs of torture.

Derar Ameer: These accusations are confirmed by Zahraa Moosa, the sister of Husain Moosa, who says that she saw the signs of torture on her brother’s body.

Zahraa Moosa: After weeks of arrest, we went to visit him. I saw signs in his hands, his back, his legs, even his face looked very tired and he couldn’t walk.

Derar Ameer: Jamal Ali Bu Hassan denied any torture allegations and says that all these are totally false accusations, and that the interrogations themselves take place in secret and closed places.

Jamal Ali Bu Hassan: Concerning accusations of extracting confessions under torture, this is a self-responding issue, as the interrogations take place in closed places and there are security issues so no-one can review it.

Derar Ameer: Human rights organisations such as the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims say Bahrain has an obligation not to use torture, according to international agreements they have signed. Director of Advocacy at IRCT, Asger Kjaerum.

Asger Kjaerum: Under the UN Convention Against Torture, signed and ratified by Bahrain, the Bahraini authorities are not only obliged to not to torture people, but also obliged to carry out independent and effective investigations in case of any torture allegations.

Derar Ameer: Allegations and counter-allegations that increase the complexity of the situation, but the families of the detainees remain hopeful that their beloved ones will be released, and that they can be reunited.

Zahraa Moosa: I am hoping for his acquittal because Husain did not commit any crimes.

Zainab Ibrahim: We are all waiting for Mohammed to be released and to come back.