Bahrain court upholds death penalty for 2 bombers

Elias Hubbard
July 16, 2020

Mohammed Ramadhan, a security guard at Bahrain's global airport, and Husain Moosa, a hotel worker, were arrested in 2014 in connection to a bombing that killed a police officer in a village near the kingdom's capital, Manama.

As the security forces were trying to disperse them, the accused detonated the explosive device, killing Officer Abdulwahed Sayyed Mohammed and injuring several others.

That move was condemned by Amnesty International, which said the trial relied on "confession extracted through torture".

The Court of Cassation on Monday reinstated the death sentences after reviewing all the evidence again.

The decision marked an abrupt reversal after the same court had earlier overturned the death sentences.

Bahrain has long faced criticism of its human rights record and has received £6.5 million ($8.2 billion) in "technical assistance" to train the Gulf state's police officers and prison guards on human rights issues and to establish institutions to investigate allegations of torture, from Britain since 2012.

Ramadhan's wife, Zainab, with whom he has three children, wrote on Twitter after the verdict: "The terror of knowing that my husband can be executed by firing squad at any moment without proper notice is tearing me apart".

Bahrain's government said the case met all requirements of a fair trial, and the initial judgment was followed by a second trial that looked into the allegations of abuse. "The reasons behind its ruling", prosecutors said in a statement Monday, "are that the injuries in the medical reports did not coincide and are not in keeping with police procedures or the public prosecutor, and had no effect on the confessions that were born out of conscious free will, without any force on the defendants".

Authorities in the tiny kingdom have cracked down hard on dissent since mass street protests in 2011 demanded an elected prime minister and a constitutional monarchy in Sunni-ruled Bahrain.

Bahrain claimed Iran trained and backed the demonstrators in order to topple the Manama government - an accusation Tehran denies.

Home to the Middle East headquarters of the USA navy, Bahrain has prosecuted and revoked the citizenship of hundreds of people in mass trials.

According to BIRD there are now 26 detainees on death row in Bahrain, with 12 of those at risk of imminent execution.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, Director of Advocacy at BIRD commented: "Today's verdict is yet another dark stain in the struggle for human rights in Bahrain, demonstrating the regime's iron grip over the country's corrupt judiciary".

On March 5, 2017, Bahrain's parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.

In his remarks, Ramadhan said he is innocent and described his trial as a "sham". "My death will be unlawful, and yet, it has been [ordained] by law".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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