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Tortured Death Row Bahraini Prisoners at Risk of Execution by Saudi Regime

Tortured Death Row Bahraini Prisoners at Risk of Execution by Saudi Regime
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By Sondos al-Assad

Lebanon – Two Bahraini nationals Sadeq Thamer [33] and Jaafar Sultan [30], who have exhausted all their appeals, are at imminent risk of execution by Saudi regime, on the basis of his torture-tainted “confessions”. The young men have been arrested, without a warrant, on May 8, 2015, while crossing King Fahd Causeway.

They have been subjected to enforced disappearance [for 115 days], severely tortured and accused of “transporting explosive materials”. According to rights groups, 25 days after their arrest, they were supposed to be transferred to Bahrain. However, while they were on the bus, a Bahraini officer received a call and began to insult and threaten them with reprisal. Then, they were returned to the Saudi territories.

On the same day, their houses in Bahrain were violently stormed by individuals belonging to the Bahraini Criminal Investigations Directorate in civilian clothes. The policemen confiscated a laptop, computer, and phones, and their families were not informed about their whereabouts.

Sadeq and Jaafar were then taken to the Saudi General Investigation Prison in Dammam, where they were placed in solitary confinement for nearly 115 days [4 months].

After their families reached out to various Bahraini and Saudi governmental bodies, Sadeq and Jaafar were allowed to call but mentioned nothing about the condition of their detention and investigations.

During the first family visit, on 13 October 2015, Sadeq and Jaafar informed their parents that they were forcibly pressured to confess under severe and inhumane physical and psychological torture. In court, Jaafar told the lawyer that he was transferred to the hospital for 10 days because of torture and that he was threatened too with torturing his family members. Likewise, Sadeq was mal-treated, beaten, and threatened to be tortured and held incommunicado when refusing to sign the fabricated charges.

The Saudi Public Prosecution charged Sadeq and Jaafar with allegedly joining a terrorist cell, smuggling explosive materials, and misleading the Saudi investigation authorities. Then a Saudi Specialized Criminal Court sentenced them to death on 7 October 2021. Noting that also Bahrain’s 4th High Criminal Court sentenced them on 31 May 2016 to life imprisonment and a fine of 200000 BHD dinars for the same charges.

Sadeq and Jaafar are prominent religious and social activists and apparently, their arbitrary conviction is politically-motivated.

The use of the death penalty has dramatically escalated over the past decade in Bahrain, specifically rising by more than 600%, with at least 5 citizens being executed for political reasons. Despite pledges for human rights reform, some 26 men in Bahrain are currently facing imminent execution, 12 of whose convictions were based on false torture and were convicted of “terrorism” charges.

For its part, the Saudi authorities executed last March 81 individuals, marking a sharp rise in the number of recorded executions. This appalling death toll is likely to be an underestimate, as Saudi authorities do not publish statistics on executions or the number of prisoners on death row; nor do they inform families or lawyers in advance of executions.

Torture is rampant in Saudi Arabia, and courts regularly admit torture-tainted “confessions” as evidence. Thus, sentencing torture survivors to death for their peaceful activism is a heinous crime. While Sadeq and Jaafar’s helpless families await the news in anguish, the uncertainty of knowing that they could be murdered at any moment is an unspeakable strain!

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