On the 14th of February Bahrain marked 10 years since the Arab uprisings that rippled through the region. As a preemptive measure, the authorities used arbitrary arrests and intimidation to deter people from protesting.
Some of those detained were children as young as 13. Human rights watch says they were interrogated for hours without a lawyer or parents present and threatened with rape and electrocution. Four of those children remain in detention and are being tried as adults. They could get up to 20 years in prison.
Earlier this month, 633 out of the EU parliament’s 689 deputies, voted in favor of a resolution that calls on Bahrain to release human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience unconditionally, and immediately halt 26 imminent executions. In particular, the European Parliament condemned the death sentences given to Muhammad Ramadan and Hussein Ali Musa who could be executed any day now.
Human Rights Watch says there is compelling evidence that the two men’s convictions in 2014, were based on confessions obtained under torture. Bahrain’s response to the EU resolution has been explosive. The US and the UK, which both have military bases in Bahrain, are actively bolstering the Kingdom’s rulers by selling them arms.
EU countries are not averse to receiving billions of dollars in exchange for military hardware either. Rights groups are urging them all to ensure they are not funding abuse but so far those calls have fallen on deaf ears.