The BCHR Holds the King Responsible for the Spread of the Culture of Impunity which Has Claimed the Lives of Tens of Victims
Statistics and Figures Show the Methodology of the Culture of Impunity and Protection of those who Practiced Killing and Torturing Hundreds of Victims
None of those Involved in the Grave Violations from the Ruling Family or High Ranking Officials in the Authority or its Apparatuses have been Brought Forth to Court or Questioned
None of the Offenders were Arrested, including some of the Policemen that were Accused of Killing, Despite Presenting them to False Trials which Acquitted Many of Them
Photos of some of the victims of arbitrary executions and extrajudicial killings and in the frame a picture of the King of Bahrain
31 Oct 2012
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights reached compelling and extremely worrying facts, after having prepared a deep report (study) by both the Monitoring and Research Committees in the Center, looking into the cases of impunity and lack of accountability to members of the ruling family and officials in the security forces and the army who were involved in gross violations of human rights, that violate both local and international law, by committing crimes of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary executions, deprivation of life, brutal torture, mock trials and the use of excessive force. This is after the Authority in Bahrain backed with forces from the Gulf states (Peninsula Shield) - mostly from Saudi Arabia - crushed the vast national uprising that was affected by the Arab Spring and that calls for freedom and democracy in February and March 2011 and thereafter until the writing of this report. The results of the study, which comes a year after the release of the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry , show that the policy of impunity is still entrenched in the doctrine of the Authority and its security institutions as a basic prevalent culture. This culture which is humanly and internationally condemned constitutes an instrument of repression and paves the way for the fall of more victims of the official excessive violence that is still practiced by the Authority in Bahrain as the only option for dealing with the peaceful demonstrators. This policy is one of the main obstacles behind limiting violations and one of the most important indicators of not implementing the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which clearly recommended investigating the violations and holding the offenders accountable based on the level of responsibility, and it also documented cases of murder, torture and excessive use of force.
What increases the concern of the BCHR is that this systematic policy of impunity and of providing immunity to criminals and enabling them to continue with their duties and their security positions without accountability has led to more deaths among peaceful demonstrators. In August / September 2012, two young men were killed; Hussam Mohammed Jassim Al-Haddad (16 years) , and Ali Hassan Neamah (17 years) ; who were shot dead by the security forces, and which is the same way by which they killed a number of protesters in February, March 2011 and the months that followed. Instead of undertaking serious investigations in these two incidents, the Bahraini Public Prosecution quickly acquitted the policemen accused of killing Al-Haddad and Neamah, and reserved the cases, justifying that with the self-defense position they were put in which forced the policemen to use bullets and violence that leads to killing as stated by the Public Prosecution about reserving the two cases .
However, the BCHR thoroughly followed up on the two cases and found that there was no reason to use bullets and the injury that lead to murder. The killed men were shot from the back with shotgun pellets and they were not in a state of confrontation or armed with a deadly weapon, nor did they constitute an imminent danger that can only be avoided with a deadly weapon.
The incident of reserving the cases of killing AL-Haddad and Neamah indicates the persistence of political impunity, and this is what the BCHR concluded through a study that was conducted on 42 cases and incidents, among them were 27 cases of extrajudicial killings through the excessive use of violence by the security forces or Bahrain Defense Force, or killing under brutal torture to death in the prisons of the National Security Apparatus or the prisons of the Ministry of Interior. The study included 15 incidents of cases in which the defendants were brutally tortured, and they are cases that involve large number of victims of torture. The number of all the victims in the incidents and the 42 cases reach more than 200 victims, which is only a sample out of thousands of victims of torture. The Centre has depended on two main matters in the selection of this sample, which are:
First: all the murder cases under study have either been verified by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), or clear cases that involve undeniable crime as they occurred by deliberate murder by the police and with a deadly weapon such as live bullets, shotgun bullets; which is internationally banned; or with another kind of gunshot.
Second: it is related to the cases of victims of torture which have been chosen in this study on the basis that they are either important cases that preoccupied public opinion as the case of doctors, or cases whose victims are opposition figures and prominent human rights activist. The majority of these cases were stated in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report. The BCHR attempted in its study to include all the major cases that have been looked into by the National (military) Safety Court such as the case of what is known as kidnapping and tongue-cutting, and which involves four groups, among them 41 detainees. The study also involves the cases of: the members of Amal Society; the farms of Karzakan village; the University of Bahrain; the 21 political figures; the athletes; the journalist Nazeeha Saeed; the poet Aayat Al-Kurmuzi; the former MPs of Al-Wefaq Society Matar Matar and Jawad Fairouz; the lawyer Mohamed Al-Tajer; the President of the Teachers Association Mahdi Abu Deeb and his deputy Jalila Al-Salman; the issue of Manama youth; the detainees sentenced to death Ali Al-Singace and Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Redha; and the two cases of the medical staff that include 48 victims. See Table (1) See Figure (1)
By following the progress of all the cases and issues, it was evident that there are 8 cases and issues in which the Public Prosecution announced investigating in or having transferred some of them to the Judiciary. However, until the writing of this report, many of these cases haven not yet been finalized by the Court, and some others are still pending. On the other hand, there are 5 cases and incidents in which offenders were acquitted either by the Public Prosecution by reserving the case, or by the Court that looked into the cases and acquitted the perpetrators, despite submitting all the evidence that incriminates them. Among these cases are the cases of Hussam Al-Haddad and Ali Neamah (The Public Prosecution reserved the two cases); Ali Al-Moamen and Isa Abdul Hassan (the court acquitted the offenders accused of killing them) . All of these victims were killed in the same way; the unjustified excessive use of force and gunshot by the policemen. To add to the cases of those acquitted is the case of torturing the journalist Nazeeha Saeed. See Table (1) See chart (1) See chart number (2)
The BCHR also found that there is only one case of conviction in the case of the one who killed the young Hani Abdul-Aziz, where the Court sentenced First Lieutenant Mohammed Khashram, from the Ministry of Interior, to 7 years imprisonment . The BCHR indicates that the sentence is not final and is subject to appeal, the Center also found that the convicted offender was not arrested and has not been arrested. Despite the dreadful killing of the young Hani Abdul-Aziz which has been described in detail in the BICI report; paragraph number (949) , where the facts signify that it was a deliberate execution; the offender fired 3 shots at the victim Hani Abdul-Aziz from a close distance, several centimeters. Accordingly, the sentence and procedures are inconsistent with the crime and its vileness and it does not achieve justice.
What reinforced and confirmed that the policy of impunity is still ongoing is that the study identified 28 incidents, from the 42 cases under study, where no procedure has been taken whether it was investigation or referral to the Judiciary. Among these cases are 17 recent cases of killing, or some of which occurred after the release of the BICI report; that is, cases that occurred outside the framework of the Commission. Besides, there were 11 immense cases of systematic torture that included hundreds of victims. The BCHR also found that there has been no investigation or trial or conviction to any of the higher-ranking officials, while the investigation included only those in the lower ranks (police) and of which only one police officer was convicted. See chart number (3) See chart (1)
The study also pointed out that none of the defendants in all the cases mentioned in Table (1) have been arrested, as they either were not attending the court hearings, or they attended and left after the end of the hearing because they were released. Results showed that none of the members of the ruling family who were involved in the violations whether directly or indirectly were held responsible, including the two sons of the King; Prince Nasser and Khalid bin Hamad , whose names have been stated in the testimonies of torture of number of detainees . Furthermore, none of the officials of the Bahrain Defence Force, the National Guard, the National Security Apparatus or the Ministry of Interior were questioned or transferred to Court. All these institutes contributed in the operations that took place and their involvement in the killing of a number of protesters has been documented and they are held responsible directly or by the principle of hierarchy. See Chart (2) See Chart (4)
In reference to the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, it emphasized the principle of conducting investigations that lead to prosecuting the direct offenders or those responsible for them; as stated in paragraphs 890 and 891: "890 - Pursuant to" the principles related to the Effective Prevention and Investigation of the extrajudicial killings, arbitrary executions, and executions with brief procedures" the government of Bahrain must conduct effective investigations on death incidents attributed to the security forces, and these investigations must lead to referring the perpetrators to trial, whether the direct perpetrators or those responsible for them, if the result of those investigations shows that there was breach of the law. 891 – there must be a start of taking the appropriate procedures of prosecution, with the consideration of having the charges to be appropriate with the committed crime”.
Based on all of the above, and on the information of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the BCHR believes the following:
- The policy of impunity that is clearly practiced by the Public Prosecution and the Judiciary in Bahrain is a systematic policy, and the non-intervention to stop it results in holding the King of Bahrain directly responsible for the violations. - There was no implementation of the recommendations related to holding all those responsible for abuses accountable according to their hierarchical position of responsibility, and which is a clear recommendation stated in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report. - Cases in which investigations were conducted with some lower-ranking defendants revealed that the accountability was not serious and that the trials that were held were false and again not serious. - The international community and the United Nations bodies should intervene to prevent the Authority from continuing to further fasten and exploit the culture of impunity, which will lead to more innocent victims. - Investigations must be held in all cases of killing and torture, and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. These cases are not dropped with the lapse of time and the victims and their families have the right to resort to international criminal courts outside Bahrain. - Senior officials and members of the ruling family in Bahrain must be held accountable, and the claims of torture against them should be investigated, especially the King's son Nasser. - The former and current heads of the National Security Apparatus must be held accountable and all the members and officials of the National Security Apparatus who practiced and are still practicing violations, killing and torture should also be held accountable. - Marshal Khalifa bin Ahmed, the Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force must be held accountable because of his direct involvement in the management of operations and in controlling the situation during the period of national safety (emergency). - Failure to accurately implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and in accordance with the international standards has led to further abuses and deaths that exceeded the number of deaths and victims registered during the period of national safety (emergency) and the period that followed. - The only incident of a conviction was for First Lieutenant Mohammed Khashram in the case of murdering Hani Abdul-Aziz, where the offender was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment, which is inconsistent with the size and vileness of the crime, and which constitutes a clear violation of the decisions of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.
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