BahrainMiddle East

Bahraini MPs Lodge Complaint against Al Khalifa Regime Officials

Bahraini MPs Lodge Complaint against Al Khalifa Regime Officials
Two Bahraini legislators Wednesday lodged a complaint against several senior Bahraini officials for human rights violations in the country.

The Bahraini MPs, Osama al-Tamimi and Khaled Abd al-Aal, submitted their letters of complaint to al-Wosta region’s security prosecutor, the Bahraini newspaper Alwasat News reported on Wednesday.

They pointed to the tortures committed by the Al Khalifa regime against the political prisoners and also a recent report by Head of Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) – a body set up by the Bahraini king himself to investigate the events surrounding the uprising – Mohammed Sharif al-Bassiouni.

In its report in late 2011, the BICI confirmed what Human Rights First and other international nongovernmental organizations had been saying for months: that the government had swept up thousands in illegal arrests, used excessive force against protesters and engaged in a pattern of abuse that resulted in at least four prisoners being tortured to death.

The two Bahraini parliamentarians also warned that the situations of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Bahraini jails are deteriorating everyday.

Earlier this week, a prominent human rights activist deplored the Bahraini judiciary system’s blind obedience to the ruling regime, saying that the country’s judicial body has become a tool in the hands of the al-Khalifa regime for suppressing the people.
“The verdicts made by Bahraini courts against revolutionary elements are completely political and have been issued only because these people have expressed their opinions,” Member of Bahrain Forum for Human Rights Falah Rabi said.

“The developments in Bahrain demonstrated the regime’s instrumental use of the judiciary system for suppressing people and shows the system’s lack of independence because most of the members of the high court are from the ruling family,” he added.

But, the Bahraini nation wants a democratic system in which all the branches of power take their legitimacy from people’s votes, he stressed.

His remarks came after Bahrain’s highest court rejected earlier this month the jailed activists’ appeal and upheld their sentences for their roles in anti-regime protests in 2011.

The UN, the EU, Britain, France, and human rights groups have criticized a Bahraini court decision upholding prison terms for 13 pro-democracy activists, including eight life sentences.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “deeply regrets the decision of Bahrain’s Court of Cassation on January 7 to uphold the harsh sentences, including life imprisonment” for the activists, the UN chief’s spokesman said, Al Manar reported.

“He reiterates his firm belief that the only way to promote peace, stability, justice and prosperity in Bahrain is through a national dialogue which addresses the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis,” Martin Nesirky stated.

“The secretary general also calls on the government of Bahrain to follow through on its recently reiterated commitment to judicial reform,” he added.

The European Union also criticized the court ruling, saying the pro-democracy activists should be given amnesty.

“The EU has repeatedly asked the Bahraini authorities to consider an amnesty for all those arrested last year and tried on charges relating to the expression of their political opinion,” the spokesman of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Michael Mann, said. Mann stated that the EU “remains concerned about the lack of advancement of national reconciliation”.

Joe Stork, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, said the Bahraini court “has proven its inability to protect the most basic rights guaranteed in Bahrain’s constitution and the international treaties it has signed”.

“The mind-boggling verdicts in these cases did not mention a single recognizable criminal offence, instead pointing to speeches the defendants made, meetings they attended, and their calls for peaceful street protests in February and March 2011,” he said in a statement.

Stork said HRW’s own investigation into these cases found that the evidence consisted of public statements “advocating reforms to curtail the power of the ruling Al Khalifa family and confessions that appeared to have been coerced while the defendants were (held) in incommunicado detention.”

Amnesty International said the ruling underlined “flaws” in the Bahraini justice system and the activists should be freed.

“This unjust decision will confirm the view of many that the judiciary is more concerned about toeing the government’s line than upholding the rule of law and the rights of all Bahrainis,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, the deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa division.

France and Britain also criticized the Bahraini court ruling and expressed their “regret” and “dismay” over the decision.

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