Rights group urges Bahrain to investigate torture allegations

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called Wednesday on Bahraini authorities to make a prompt investigation into torture allegations [press release] made by four Shia activists who have been detained for more than two weeks. On August 27, after 15 days of solitary confinement, Abd al-Jalil al-Singace, one of the detained men, was brought for formal questioning and arraignment by Attorney General Ali Fadhul al-Buainain. Al-Singace told al-Buainain he had been handcuffed and blindfolded the entire time, beaten on his fingers with a hard instrument, had his ears and nipples pulled and twisted with tongs and been subjected to general harsh treatment. The following day, the three remaining detainees intimated similar treatment. Deputy Middle East director at HRW said:

Bahraini authorities should immediately investigate these allegations of torture and guarantee the physical and psychological well-being of the four men. The attorney general has a legal obligation to throw out any coerced confessions and any evidence obtained by ill-treatment, including information that led to the men's indictments.
Prosecutors have charged the four men with several national security crimes and ordered another 60 days of detention.

In early 2010, HRW reported that the government of Bahrain had reverted to using torture [report text] to gain confessions from detainees, after a decade of reform banning such practices. HRW conducted interviews with 20 former detainees who claimed that they had suffered torture [JURIST report] and ill-treatment as early as 2007. The reversion appears to have coincided with the rising political tension between Shia Muslims and the Sunni-run government. The report also claimed that prosecutors have failed to respond appropriately by not launching formal investigations and administering medical examinations. The detainees' allegations were strengthened when a Bahraini court acquitted all defendants on all charges on the basis of medical reports that suggested the defendants had been physically coerced into confessing.

 

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