Bahrain Monitor - A Monthly Newsletter on the Human Rights Situation in Bahrain

The Network Trial Continues

■ (09/01/2011): The Minister of Justice, Sheikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa decided to appoint 23 lawyers to defend the 23 people accused in the terrorist network case. This step was taken after the previous defence council withdrew because the detainees refused to allow them to represent them.

■ (09/01/2011): The American Ambassador in Manama Adam Erly said during an interview with Al Wasat newspaper that his country is concerned about human rights, which is an important aspect of the friendship between the US and Bahrain. He also pointed out that representatives from the U.S. embassy attend trial sessions, which provides ample evidence illustrating this concern. He added that holding the trials in public, proves that Bahrain cares about civil rights of citizens.

■ (12-13/01/2011): The Minister of Justice decided to refer a total of 24 lawyers to a disciplinary committee in accordance with Article 41 of the Advocacy Act because of their refusal to defend the terrorist network detainees. The trial was adjured to 20/01/2011. The lawyers objected to the Ministry’s interpretation of Article 41 and demanded that the case be referred to the Constitutional Court, however their demands were refused.

■ (14/01/2011): The Bahrain Bar Association criticized the referral of 24 lawyers to the Disciplinary Committee and viewed it as a dangerous precedent in the legal history of Bahrain adding that the Ministry of Justice is trying to impose its interpretation of the law.

■ (20/01/2011): The High Court adjourned the session until 27/01/2011 for the eighth time and ordered the Public Prosecutor to present its evidence against the 25 accused. The detainees objected to having appointed lawyers.

■ (25/01/2011): Seven lawyers appeared before the Disciplinary Committee based on the order of the Ministry of Justice. The lawyers demanded more time in order to respond to the allegations. The next two sessions will take place on 22 February and the first of March.

■ (25/01/2011): The Court decided to adjourn the case on the terrorist network to 10 February 2011.