Amnesty: Official Inaction and Allegations of Torture in Bahrain
Amnesty International said in its Annual Report 2009, issued
on 28 May 2009, that Bahraini authorities have “failed adequately
to investigate allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of
detainees”. The report summarised the breaches by saying that “government
critics were briefly detained and several websites were closed down.
One person was executed”.
On the other hand the Government indicated that “it would decriminalize
certain publishing offences, reduce legal discrimination against
women and introduce other reforms”.
Bahrain’s section in the report came in almost one page and included
a background about the situation stating that “there were renewed,
violent protests in March and April by members of the majority Shi’a
population against what they alleged as discrimination, especially
by the police and security forces, and the stalling of political
reforms initiated by the King in 2001 and 2002. One policeman was
killed and 13 others who were charged with arson and rioting were
among a group pardoned by the King in July but still detained at
the end of the year”.
The report also indicated that Bahrain’s human rights record
was examined in April under the UN Human Rights Council’s system
of Universal Periodic Review and that “the government made significant
human rights commitments, including to establish a national human
rights institution, withdraw reservations made when Bahrain ratified
certain human rights treaties, reform family and nationality laws,
and adopt new legislation to protect women, domestic workers and
lift restrictions on the press”. The Report stated that in August
2008 a Bangladeshi national was executed for murdering his employer
and in December of the same year “Bahrain abstained on a UN General
Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions”.
The Report mentioned an Amnesty International delegate visited Bahrain
in October 2008 and met with government officials, parliamentarians,
human rights activists, journalists, former detainees and lawyers.
And in November 2008, an Amnesty International delegate attended
a follow-up meeting hosted by the Bahraini government on the implementation
of the recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review.
Amnesty International’s Annual Report 2009 covers worldwide human
rights issues throughout 2008.