Activists detained in Qurain Prison, are prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately
03 Nov 2011
Bahrain Center for human rights (BCHR) came to know that fourteen activists and political figures –currently imprisoned in Qurain Military Prison as a result of protests since Feb 14th, 2011 –have decided to instruct their lawyers to raise their cases to the Court of Cassation, after the military appeals court upheld the sentences of up to life imprisonment, on charges — according to the military prosecution —" incitement against the regime, attempt to bring down the Regime". But members of the Group told their lawyers that they decided to go to court not because they trust the independency or the impartiality of the judicature in Bahrain, especially when it comes to political issues such as their, but to depletion the domestic adjudication mechanisms. Bahrain Centre for human rights (BCHR) believes that all political prisoners or the so-called security cases do not have a real opportunity for a fair trial, whether in the Military Court, "National Safety Court" or in the Ordinary Criminal Courts. Justice in Bahrain missing the independence and impartiality, where oppositions and activists are being criminalized at laws incompatible with international standards, such as "The Terrorism Law" and The issues of State's security of the Penal Code, which is being used effectively to restricting public freedoms, especially with regard to the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of Association. The court often ignore the requests of lawyers and hinder their work, including delaying their access to the case files, refusing to listen to the defendants, and refusing to refer them to an independent forensic doctor to investigate into allegations of torture, which has already led last December to the wave of withdrawals of a large group of over 40 lawyers in protest against the obstruction of their work and their exploitation in show trials which lacked the conditions of fair trials.
Regarding the Group of activists detained in Qurain Prison for nearly seven months, includes well-known activists and opposition political figures, they are:
1- Abdulwahab Husain (57-years-old) The Spokesperson for Al Wafa Party, 2- Ebrahim Sharif (54-years-old) General Secretary of the national democratic action Society (Waad), 3- Hasan Mushaima (63-years-old) General Secretary of Haqq Activity, 4- Dr. Abdul Jalil Al Sankis (48-years-old) President of the Human Rights of Haqq Activity, 5- Abdulhadi Al Khawaja (50-years-old) was an international Human rights activist and former President of the Bahrain Centre for human rights.
The Group also includes well-known opposition clerics such as:
6- Sheikh Abdul Jalil Meqdad (58-years old), 7- Sheikh Saeed Al Nouri (39-years-old), 8- Sheikh Abdel Hadi Al Mukhoder (42-years-old), 9- Sheikh Abdullah Al Mahroos (47-years-old), 10- Shaikh Mohammed Habib Al Meqdad, 11- Shaikh Mohammed Ali Al Mahfoodh (51-years-old)
Along with other activists:
12- Salah Al Khawaja (48-years-old), 13- Mohammad Hasan Jawad Parweez (64-year-old), 14- Al Hurr Al Sumaikh (30-years-old).
Through follow-up to arrest and prosecute members of this group and access to case files by lawyers, Bahrain Center for human rights (BCHR) recorded the following:
1. Defect in the procedures of arrest, investigation, and that was done in the name of the military authority within the national safety procedures - invalidity of investigations of the military prosecutor and the National Safety Courts due to lack of jurisdiction and conflict with the Constitution and international standards.
2. Dependence of the investigations and the courts on confessions extracted during a long period of solitary confinement and under the physical and psychological torture.
3. The case did not include any charges attributed to members of the group of committing any acts of violence, or what is considered as crimes according to international standards. Everything contained in the case of actual information is mainly concerning the defendants’ exercise of their fundamental rights and freedoms such as freedom of expression and freedom of Assembly and freedom of Association.
4. All speeches and recordings which were provided in the case did not include any incitement to violence, but on the contrary they all contain clear terms calling for peaceful work and renounce violence.
5. Some members of the Group are independent activists and some of them belong to various political associations. Prosecutors did not provide any real evidence to prove they belong to "one active group", or that this group — or any of the groups that belong to some of the defendants — had planned or initiated action to change the regimes by force. The statement that has been introduced into the case and calling for a Democratic Republic, it is the opinion and political position issued by a coalition of three political groups stressed the peaceful option, did not contain any indications to covert action or violent coups and has called to seek the people’s opinion to determine the political option.
6. Procedures of arrest, detention, investigation and trial were all greatly missing fair trial standards.
On the basis of the foregoing, Bahrain Centre for human rights (BCHR) demands:
a) The immediate release of all the members of this group and drop charges against them as they are prisoners of conscience who had been targeted for exercising their freedoms and fundamental rights. b) Reparation and reform of laws and institutions and to punish the responsible for such violations to ensure it’s not repeated.