Human rights situation in Bahrain

Lettera indirizzata all’Alto Rappresentante Federica Mogherini sottoscritta da 42 deputati europei – tra cui Barbara Spinelli – riguardante la situazione dei diritti umani in Bahrain.

To the kind attention of: Ms Federica Mogherini HR/VP

Brussels, 3 June 2016

Dear High Representative,

The co-signatory Members of Parliament are seriously concerned about the case of Mr Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa, two Bahraini men currently serving a death sentence in Jau Prison and awaiting their execution. We wish to reiterate our strong concerns and call for action to ensure the release of Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa. Mohammed Ramadan is a 32-year-old Bahraini airport security guard. He peacefully participated in anti-government protests, nonviolent marches and other political activities carried out by those opposing the ruling royal family of Bahrain. As a consequence, he was arrested on 18 February 2014, at the airport where he worked, without being presented an arrest warrant. For four days, Mr Ramadan’s family did not know his whereabouts. Mr Ramadan was accused, alongside Mr Moosa who was detained a few days earlier, of being involved in a bomb explosion that resulted in the death of a policeman in al-Deir village on 14 February 2014.

Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa told their lawyers that he had been tortured during interrogation at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID). They alleged that security officers severely beat them on their hands, feet, body, neck, and head. The torture continued until Mr Moosa agreed to make a false confession fabricated by the authorities, which was also used to incriminate Mr Ramadan. Such confessions were later used as the main evidence in their trial. On 14 August 2014, five United Nations human rights experts, including the Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez, expressed serious concerns over Mr Ramadan’s confession, clearly obtained under duress and torture.

On 29 December 2014, a Bahraini Court sentenced Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa to the death penalty. Nine of the others defendants received six years of incarceration and one was sentenced to life imprisonment. On 27 May 2015, a Court of Appeal upheld the sentence. Further, on 16 November 2015, the Bahraini Court of Cassation rejected the final appeal of Mr Ramadan. The death sentence has been passed to the King. It is now up to the King of Bahrain to sign Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa’s death sentence, putting them at an imminent risk of execution.

The European parliament has previously shown its concern on the case of Mr Ramandan and Mr Moosa. On 24 November 2015, six Members of the European Parliament issued a Parliamentary Question inquiring into the steps the EEAS was going to take to pressure the Bahraini authorities to revoke Mr Moosa and Mr Ramadan’s sentences. Further, on 4 February 2016 the European Parliament adopted an Urgency Resolution on the case of Mohamed Ramandan, also citing the case of Husain Ali Moosa.

Among other topics, the Resolution clearly pointed out to “remind the Bahraini authorities that Article 15 of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment prohibits the use of any statement made as a result of torture as evidence in any proceedings”. Further, it expressed its concerns over the wide anti-terror laws in Bahrain, via which Mr Moosa and Mr Ramadan have been sentenced to the death penalty. During last year alone, Bahraini courts passed seven new death sentences, bringing the total number of persons on death row in the country to ten, showing a dangerous trend of rapprochement towards Saudi Arabia and a sharp increase in the use of death sentences, even in cases where due process has not been respected during judicial proceedings. Overall, the European Union has a strong stance against any kind of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment, as proven by the EU Council Guidelines on Torture, other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment adopted in 2001, updated in 2012.

The adopted Resolution also highlighted the lack of due judicial process in Bahraini courts, stressing “the importance (…) in particular as regards its judicial system, with a view to ensuring compliance with international human rights standards”. Both Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa’s trials were severely flawed, not covering their basic rights under the ICCPR Convention, to which Bahrain acceded on 20 September 2006.

Despite its strong stance against the death penalty and the numerous occasions on which the European Parliament has shown grave concern for Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa, the situation of both men remains unchanged. Both Mohamed and Husain Ali are still serving a capital sentence in Bahrain and their execution is a real and imminent threat.

We therefore ask the European External Action Service to assertively call on the Bahraini government to pardon Mr Ramadan and Mr Moosa and to ask for their immediate release and the dropping of all charges against them. We further encourage the EEAS to share with the European Parliament the concrete actions it is taking, regarding its relations with Bahrain, to ensure that all trials and judicial proceedings are in full compliance with the Rule of Law, international law and the ICCPR Convention.

The signatories to this letter are also concerned about the use of vague and ill-defined anti-terror laws in Bahrain, and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and call on the EEAS to further strengthen its efforts on this area and ensure that such anti-terror measures do not hinder or target peaceful civil, political and human rights activists.

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