Friday, May 13, 2011

HRW slams Bahrain military court trials

Bahraini protesters (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has slammed the trial of Bahraini civilians in military courts and has called on the Al Khalifa family to put an end to the prosecutions, a report says.

Last Sunday, at a closed-door military court hearing, 21 Bahraini human rights activists were charged with attempted subversion, with the allegation that they tried to overthrow the ruling monarchy.

The US-based rights group on Wednesday also said that there are some detained activists who bear signs of ill-treatment and perhaps even torture.

It pointed out the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a prominent rights activist who appeared before a special military court on May 8, a month after he was arrested, bore visible signs of ill-treatment and torture, AP reported.

Bahraini regime must suspend prosecutions of civilians in military courts and set up an independent commission to look into allegations of torture against anti-government protesters arrested during the clampdowns, it said.

The first clampdown on protesters began in February when civilians spilled out into the streets demanding reforms and an end to the rule of the Al Khalifa dynasty.

According to Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have detained more than 1,000 people, including anti-regime protesters, rights activists, former lawmakers, senior clerics as well as doctors and nurses over the past three months.

The doctors and nurses were picked up from hospitals for providing medical services for injured protesters.

Meanwhile, authorities have fired nearly 300 employees from the Persian Gulf sheikhdom's Petroleum Company for taking part in anti-regime protests.

Reports say that over a dozen people were arrested in a single night across Bahrain.

In the town of Hamad six people were arrested including three college students.

Justice Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa said on Wednesday parliamentary elections would be held on Sept. 24 to fill the vacant seats, the state news agency BNA reported.

The government in Bahrain, a Western ally which hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has denied any torture in detentions and says that all such accusations will be investigated

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