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Bahrain executes 2 men on “terrorism” charges despite pleas by rights groups

28th Jul 2019
Bahrain executes 2 men on “terrorism” charges despite pleas by rights groups

By Hussein Qabani

 

MANAMA (AA):- Bahrain on Saturday executed two men by firing squad on terrorism-related charges, according to Bahraini officials. Human Rights groups condemned the trials saying they were not fair and confessions were extracted under torture.

The pair were convicted of joining a terrorist group and plotting to commit several terrorist attacks in Bahrain “in order to disrupt public order”, Ahmed Al Hammadi, the advocate general and chief of anti-crime prosecution, said in a statement cited by the official Bahrain News Agency.

Without identifying them, he said the two men were put to death by firing squad.

Rights groups have identified the two as Ali al-Arab, 25, and Ahmad al-Malali, 24, both were Shia Muslims, who form the majority in Bahrain.

The two men, who were subjected to torture and prevented from attending their trial,  were both sentenced to death in abstentia January last year after a mass trial with 58 other defendants.

The prosecutor said the two men were convicted of forming a terrorist group, which carried out a series of attacks in the Gulf state.

He said the group was responsible for an attack on a prison in January, 2017, in which a guard was killed and 10 detainees escapade.

The group also assassinated a police officer in an attack in front of his farm in the Bilad Al Qadeem area in the same month, according to the statement.

The two men were put to death along with a third death row prisoner found guilty of murder, the prosecutor said.

The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, and several rights groups have called on Bahraini authorities to halt the executions.

“The authorities in Bahrain must immediately halt any plans to execute these men, annul the death sentences against them and ensure they are retried in accordance with international law and standards,” Callamard said on Friday.

“Capital punishment may only be carried out for the most serious crimes and after a legal process which has included all possible safeguards aimed at ensuring a fair trial.”

The UK Government advises Bahrain on training its police. The UK Government didn’t comment on the torture and the unfair trial. Instead it only concentrated on capital punishment. Minister of State for Human Rights Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon said: “The UK remains firmly opposed to the death penalty. We express deep concern and regret that these executions were carried out.£

And then he goes on to say that the UK will continue to engage with Bahrain “on this issue bilaterally and at the UN Human Rights Council.”

Bahrain was rocked by revolt in 2011, when pro-democracy peaceful protests led by Shia Muslims erupted in the tiny Gulf state as part of that year’s “Arab Spring” uprisings. Saudi Arabia troops were invited into to the country to put down the demonstrations.

Additional report by The Muslim News 

[Photo: Protests by Bahrainis during 5th anniversary of the ‘Arab Spring uprising’ in Manama, Bahrain on February 13 2016. Photographer: Ayman Yaqoob/AA]

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