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2 Maggio 2011 | BAHRAIN


Condannati a morte quattro uomini che hanno partecipato alle manifestazioni antigovernative del mese scorso. L'appello di Amnesty International

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Amnesty International

Bahrain urged to halt execution of protesters

Authorities in Bahrain must not allow the execution of 4 protesters sentenced to death by a military court over the killing of two police officers in anti-government demonstrations last month, Amnesty International said today
“The Bahraini authorities have a responsibility to bring to justice those who commit violent crimes. But when doing so, they must uphold the right to fair trial and they must not use the death penalty under any circumstances,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa
“In this case, the accused were tried before a special military court although they are civilians and it appears that the trial was conducted behind closed doors. As well, those sentenced have no right of appeal except to another special military court, raising great fears about the fairness of the entire process." A military court sentenced Ali Abdullah Hassan al-Sankis, Qassim Hassan Matar, Saeed Abduljalil Saeed and Adbulaziz Abdulridha Ibrahim Hussain to death on 28 April
3 other defendants tried with them, Issa Abdullah Kadhim Ali, Sadeq Ali Mahdi and Hussein Jaafar Abdulkarim, were sentenced to life in prison by the same court. All 7 accused are reported to have denied the charges
The death sentences can be appealed in Bahrain’s military court
However, should the appeal fail, the final verdict cannot be appealed in Bahrain’s ordinary courts. The four men could therefore face imminent execution
The 7 men were accused of the premeditated murder of 2 policemen by running them over with a vehicle on 16 March. On 15 March, Bahrain’s King had declared a state of emergency – termed the State of National Safety (SNS) – after Saudi Arabia sent in a thousand troops to help the government quell anti-government protests
The 7 accused are believed to have been held incommunicado following their arrests and the families are said to have been denied access to them, Amnesty International has learnt
Government officials reportedly said that a total of four policemen have been killed during protests in March King Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa imposed the state of emergency for three months on 15 March but it may be renewed with the approval of the National Council or parliament. It provided for the establishment of a special military court to try those accused of offences under the emergency and a special military appeal court
Since the SNS was imposed, more than 500 people have been arrested with many of them detained incommunicado and at undisclosed locations
At least four have died in detention in suspicious circumstances since the end of March
Local media reports say 312 detainees were released today. The government’s Information Affairs Authority has told the media that more than 400 other cases have been referred to the military courts
Many of the detainees were taken from their homes, often at night, by groups of police and security forces who wore masks, failed to produce arrest warrants and sometimes assaulted those they wished to detain and members of their families
“Bahrain is in the grip of a deepening human rights crisis and the severity of the sentences imposed today, following a military trial behind closed doors, will do nothing to reverse that." “King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa must urgently make it clear that he will not allow these death sentences to be carried out." In 2010, at least 1 Bangladeshi national was sentenced to death in Bahrain and another one was executed. Jassim Abdulmanan was executed in June. Russell Mezan was sentenced to death in March and the death sentence was upheld in October. Only foreign nationals have been sentenced to death and executed in Bahrain in recent years
Executions carried out in Bahrain are normally by firing squad


The Guardian

Bahrain gives death penalty to Shia protesters

4 men have been sentenced to death over the killing of 2 policemen in anti-government protests last month A Bahraini military court has sentenced 4 Shia protesters to death over the killing of 2 policemen during anti-government protests last month
3 other men were sentenced to life in prison in the 1st verdicts related to a pro-democracy uprising, which was crushed with military help from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries
The 7 were tried behind closed doors on charges of premeditated murder of government employees. Their lawyers denied the charges
Hundreds of thousands of Bahrain's Shia-led opposition have called for greater rights and freedoms in the Sunni monarchy. Authorities have detained hundreds since martial law was declared last month to quell dissent
Government officials have said that 4 policemen were killed during the unrest in February and March, at least 3 of whom were run over by cars around 16 March
Hundreds of protesters, opposition leaders and human rights activists have been detained since emergency rule was declared on 15 March
Earlier this month, the authorities banned media from covering legal proceedings in the country's military courts
Among those detained are also dozens of Shia professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, including a lawyer who was due to defend some of the 7 opposition supporters in the military court
The lawyer, Mohammed al-Tajer, is one of Bahrain's most prominent human rights lawyers. He has represented hundreds of clients against the state, including Shia activists accused of plotting against the Sunni monarchy that has ruled Bahrain for more than 200 years
At least 30 people have died since 15 February, when anti-government protests erupted in Bahrain. 4 opposition supporters have also died in police custody
Bahrain is the home of the US navy's 5th Fleet
Bahrain last issued a death sentence in 2007, and before that had condemned only one person to die over the preceding three decades
That verdict came in the mid-1990s, during the greatest unrest Bahrain had seen before this year's protests


Financial Times

Bahrain sentences 4 to death A military court in Bahrain has sentenced to death four protesters accused of killing 2 policemen in last month’s unrest, state media reported

Three other defendants were sentenced to life in prison on Thursday in the 1st trials to follow the tumultuous pro-democracy protests in the tiny Gulf state which were ended by a crackdown on dissent in mid-March
The death sentences are likely to exacerbate sectarian divisions which have deepened since an effective state of martial law was imposed last month as the authorities, backed by Saudi and UAE forces, imposed an iron grip on the island kingdom
The security forces have since then carried out hundreds of arrests and state-backed companies have sacked hundreds of workers deemed supportive of the protest movement. A wave of demonstrations brought the island’s economy to a standstill between mid-February and mid-March
About 25 people died, mainly protesters from the majority Shia community, as unrest rocked Bahrain, bringing regional pro-democracy unrest into the oil-rich Gulf
Human rights groups have called for investigations into four detainees who have died in custody in suspicious circumstances amid claims of torture and ill-treatment
“The defendants confessed that they deliberately targeted the security men in order to cause casualties, kill lives, terrorise people and exact revenge,” Sheikh Fawaz bin Al Khalifa, information minister, told local media ahead of the verdicts on Wednesday
Bahrain, which invited in neighbouring Gulf troops to underpin its military crackdown on largely Shia protesters, has described the pro-democracy movement as part of a foreign plot aiming to bring down the monarchy
The government, dominated by the minority Sunni community, has accused Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group, of involvement in the protests, a charge denied by Tehran
Sheikh Fawaz described the running over of 2 policemen as a premeditated act, “a clear indication of the terrorist character of those who had misled people by chanting peaceful slogans while killing public order forces and innocent men." He said the trial had been observed by Arab and European human rights groups and that the sentences could be appealed. Footage of the incidents, which has been published on the internet, was also shown in court
On the 2 occasions that the security forces cleared the protesters who were camped on the Pearl roundabout, there were reports of demonstrators using cars to attack advancing policemen
Sheikh Fawaz said that 405 detainees had been referred to court, including 62 criminal cases and 343 felonies. Police have released 312 of the detainees
He said 23 doctors and 23 nurses were being investigated for committing crimes, adding that their cases would be sent to court next week
Salmaniya hospital, which became a gathering point for protesters, had been used to conceal weapons, he said, claiming that 1 person had died when medical personnel carried out “unnecessary surgical acts on some protesters to dramatise their wounds and stir public opinion." Physicians for Human Rights this month released a report charging the government with beating doctors and patients, demanding an international investigation

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