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.