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Bahrain13 Prisoner Group Meets with Delegation from OHCHR

[Protests in Bahrain in February 2011. Image by Bahrain Viewbook via Wikimedia Commons] [Protests in Bahrain in February 2011. Image by Bahrain Viewbook via Wikimedia Commons]

[The following statement was issued by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights on 17 December 2012.]

A delegation from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights visited "Jaw Prison" and met with the thirteen prisoners also known as "Bahrain13" which they last met in December 2011. During the trip, the delegation also met with other political prisoners.

This came at the end of a six-day visit for the delegation to Bahrain from 2 December until 6 December 2012. In the short time allocated to the political and human rights activists "Bahrain13," who are accused in the case known as "Alliance for the Republic," the prisoners of conscience raised the following points to the representatives of the OHCHR:

First: The struggle of the people of Bahrain has been ongoing for decades, and that the call for pro-democracy has been ongoing for more than seventy years. The people's insistence on democracy and rights is the only reason that they have been targeted by the regime, accused of fabricated charges, discredited, and become the victims of revenge.

Second: The authorities in Bahrain are using a repressive apparatus, arbitrary laws, and the non-independent judiciary system (including prosecutors) to reduce the area of freedom and to target the opposition and activists. It is crucial that there be a valid mechanism for the selection of judges, and to ensure the integrity and independence of the judiciary system. There also needs to be a mechanism to monitor and hold judges accountable, as well as improve of trials and penal laws to be in line with international commitments and standards for human rights, noting that currently the selection of judges in Bahrain depends on political loyalty first and then family and religious affiliation.

Third: the events and violations witnessed in Bahrain during the past two years are dangerous and so deep that they cannot be contained by providing training or technical support to it's current institutions. This is due to the fact that the same institutions and agencies are already involved in such violations. That radical reform of those institutions, or at least an attempt to hold them responsible, is an integral requirement which has been stated in recommendations of the BICI report and was also mentioned in the pledges Bahrain took before the Human Rights Council at the United Nations.

Due to the fact that Bahrain has witnessed a deep political and social split and is now under a systemic crisis, the reform cannot be carried out using the current legal, judicial and administrative tools, but through the mechanisms of transitional justice and mutual consent between all relevant representatives, and with the help of the international community such as the United Nations.

Fourth: the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will not be able to provide technical support or real contribution to the promotion of human rights in Bahrain without a constant presence on the ground to address the various issues in the political, security, and social complex transitions.

Fifth: The stages of the Bahrain13's case and the deep violations amounting in all those stages, including how Bahraini courts have ignored what was stated in the BICI report in the conclusions and recommendations, is an ideal example of the inability to implement those recommendations through the same institutions, which lack judicial independence and are still being controlled by a political agenda.

The Office of the High Commissioner is invited to make a comparison between the findings the BICI report on this issue and the sentence of the latest appeal in the Supreme Court, which ignored the violations committed during the arrests, arbitrary detention, psychological, physical and sexual torture, reports of the National Security Service, and the military prosecutor, who are all involved in the violations. The latter approved the trials in the "Military National Safety Court" for this group.

The thirteen political and human rights activists, "Bahrain13," have prepared a series of reports on their cases and conditions of imprisonment, but the prison administration initially prevented them from carrying the reports with them to the meeting. When the Bahrain13 refused the meeting protesting the condition, the prison administration prevented the delegation of the United Nations from receiving any papers directly from the group.

Thirteen detainees activists - Jaw Prison

  1. Abdulwahab Hussain (life sentence imprisonment)
  2. Ebrahim Sharif (5 years imprisonment)
  3. Hassan Mushaima (life sentence imprisonment)
  4. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja (life sentence imprisonment)
  5. Abduljalil Al Singace (life sentence imprisonment)
  6. Mohammed Habib Al Miqdad (life sentence imprisonment)
  7. Saeed Mirza AlNouri (life sentence imprisonment)
  8. Abduljalil Al Miqdad (life sentence imprisonment)
  9. Abdullah Isa Al Mahroos (five years imprisonment)
  10. Salah Hubail Al Khawaj (five years imprisonment)
  11. Mohammed Hassan Jawad (fifteen years imprisonment)
  12. Mohammed Ali Ismael (fifteen years imprisonment)
  13. Abdul Hadi AlMukhodher (fifteen years imprisonment)

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