UK Urged To Act As Two Face Execution in Bahrain
UK government has been criticized for its links with the Bahraini monarchy.
Bahrain could be poised to execute two prisoners whose confessions were extracted through torture.
Mohammed Ramadan and Husain Moosa were sentenced to death in 2014 for their alleged involvement in a bomb attack that killed a police officer, but supporters say they were falsely accused and confessed under duress.
Human rights organizations fear that the two men could be put to death in the coming days following the execution of three prisoners on Sunday [16 January], the first in Bahrain since 2010.
The men, Ali al-Singace, Abbas al-Samea, and Sami Mushaima, were tortured to force a confession in the same police station as the current death row inmates.
Activists called on Britain to suspend its support for the Bahraini criminal justice system to avoid UK complicity in further human rights violations in Bahrain, a wealthy island state in Persian Gulf and a key British ally in the Middle East.
Bahrain has led a major government crackdown against its Shia majority in the five years since protests erupted in Manama during the Arab Spring.
British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said in response to the executions that the UK is "firmly opposed to the death penalty", and that he has "raised the issue with the Bahraini government".
But anti-death penalty campaign group Reprieve described Johnson's response as "woefully inadequate". The charity has sent a letter to UK Prime Minster Theresa May calling for the government to "immediately suspend its involvement with all actors within the Bahraini criminal justice system and Ministry of Interior".
Reprieve and other organizations have repeatedly called attention to the link between human rights abuses and the multiple UK-trained institutions in Bahrain.
Human Rights Watch and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy were among other organizations to make similar appeals.
The UK has spent more than £5 million in Bahrain since pro-democracy protests rocked the kingdom in 2011. Last Friday [13 January], it emerged that the controversial aid program, overseen by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office [FCO], is being bolstered by a further £2m this year.
Reprieve says that Britain's funding and training of police officers, prosecutors, judges, prison guards and oversight investigatory bodies in Bahrain has not lessened human rights abuses in the country.
Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, told IBTimes UK: "Reprieve and other organizations have repeatedly called attention to the link between human rights abuses and the multiple UK-trained institutions in Bahrain. It is disappointing that there has not been a change of position by the UK Foreign Office."
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team