Executed activists ‘probably tortured’ by Bahrain regime

TEHRAN, Jan. 16 (MNA) – A researcher in Human Rights Watch who watches Persian Gulf Arab states human rights record has said Britain has systematically failed in producing proper response to what has happened in Bahrain in recent months.

Regime in Manama had been suppressing the popular uprising by the majority Shia population in the tiny island of the Persian Gulf. The revolutionaries have been so far resilient, even with destroying by the regime of famous Pearl Square, the center of the uprising and as Bahrain Observer report accurately wrote, “the square produced what was to become the Persian Gulf’s answer to Arab Spring.”

The latest development in the history of the revolution (as it is called by the majority Shia population) is brazen by all standards of government and handling a peaceful uprising which had always sought negotiations with the regime who had equally responded with aggressive crackdown. The regime executed 3 young activists on Sunday, claiming that they had been engaged in killing a police officer apart from their activism. The international response had been so far paltry, with human rights organizations watching the situation in Bahrain the only authorities to be a modest voice of the suppressed majority in the island, whose rulers enjoy the support of their neighbor and elder brother Saudi Arabia and their more distant patron Britain.  

Mohammad Mazhari of Mehr News Arabic service asked Mr. Nicholas McGeehan to briefly comment on the executions; he did not reject the possibility that the 3 young activists were probably tortured by security forces to elicit confessions and thus the court verdict would be labeled as severely flawed according to standards of court hearing.

“I just put this quote out: these executions were as inflammatory as they were unjust. These men’s convictions were based on retracted confessions and mired in allegations of serious torture. Given that there are other men facing the death penalty in Bahrain, on similarly flimsy evidence, it’s imperative that Bahrain’s allies publicly and unequivocally condemn these killings,” he told the interview.

“The concerns we have relate to unfair trial and torture, in particular the fact that the convictions were based on confessions that the men retracted. The UK's weak response to these executions is yet further evidence of its disastrous Bahrain policy: if it objected to these executions it should have said so publicly before the men were killed. The UK's support for Bahrain is likely to continue irrespective of the severity of the rights abuses. The UK sees Bahrain and the [Persian] Gulf in general as being a key strategic and trading partner,” McGeehan added.

“The UN will no doubt be critical, but there is a limit to what they can do on their own, it's up to the international community as a whole to express condemnation,” he said.

Interview by: Mohammad Mazhari

The interview can also be read in Arabic.

News Code 122751

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