Deliver on your promises: EU must hold Bahrain to account
(Brussels, 14 February 2012) A year after the first peaceful demonstrator was killed by Bahraini security forces, Amnesty International has pressed the EU to ensure that the Government of Bahrain brings all perpetrators of human rights violations to justice. Although Bahrain established an independent commission to investigate, its recommendations have yet to be properly implemented and there are concerns about the continuing lack of accountability.
“Despite the Bahraini authorities’ promises, there are many unanswered questions over the treatment of anti-government protesters, including allegations of torture” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The EU must do all it can to ensure the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) are implemented fully and without delay”.
The BICI report confirmed that gross human rights violations had been committed in Bahrain. It concluded, inter alia that excessive force had been used against protesters, torture was widespread and hundreds of people have been indicted or sentenced to prison terms for simply exercising their right to freedom of assembly.
Reportedly, subsequent government investigations have failed to show any sign of progress in assessing these allegations of torture, and it is unclear how many people involved in human rights violations have been brought to justice. Amnesty International has reissued calls for a thorough investigation, and for all outcomes to be publicised to promote transparency and accountability.
Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of all those who have been held for exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly. This comprises 14 opposition activists, including Abdul Hadi Al-Khawaja and Ibrahim Sharif, and 20 doctors and nurses sentenced to prison for their involvement in protests. The government clampdown shows no sign of abating. Activist Zainab al-Khawaja, daughter of Abdul Hadi, was arrested on Sunday for participating in a peaceful protest.
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