All eyes are on Bahrain this weekend as its Grand Prix kicks off – the most high-profile international event hosted by the Kingdom. As many around the world enjoy the race, we must remember that the human rights situation in Bahrain is deteriorating.
Last year, Bahrain broke a seven-year executions moratorium when it executed three torture victims by firing squad. Since then, Bahrain has targeted those who dare to speak out against the regime for arrest, torture and illegal death sentences.
Now, Bahraini torture investigators trained by the UK government have recommended that Bahrain reconsiders the death sentences of two men tortured into giving false confessions. But there are no guarantees for them, or the other torture victims facing imminent execution.
Here are five things the Bahrain authorities don’t want you thinking about this weekend:
Last year Bahrain made a dangerous return to the death penalty, executing three torture victims by firing squad. All three men – Abbas al-Samea, Sami Mushaima, and Ali al-Singace – were targeted because of their links to peaceful political opposition.
The three men executed last year, and those facing execution right now, were tortured in the most horrific ways. This included electrocution of the body and genitals, beating, hanging from the ceilling, sexual assault and forced confessions at gunpoint.
3. Maher Abbas al-Khabbaz
Maher was forced to sign a false ‘confession’ at gunpoint and sentenced to death. Once the King signs his death warrant, Maher could be executed at any moment.
Maher was tortured both physically and phycologically so severely that he was eventually transferred to a military hospital for treatment.
4. Mohammed Ramadhan
Mohammed is a father of three children and a former police officer. In detention, other officers told him they knew he was innocent, but were punishing him as a traitor for attending pro-democracy demonstrations.
Mohammed was tortured, refused access to a lawyer, and convicted in a trial that relied on evidence extracted through torture.
Bahraini torture investigators trained by the UK government have recommended that Bahrain reconsider Mohamed’s death sentence.
5. Husain Moosa
Husain was arrested on the same day as Mohammed Ramadhan, tortured and sentenced to death.
His interrogators took turns beating him with batons on his back and genitals. They handcuffed him and hung him from the ceiling for three days–all to extract a false confession that would be used to sentence him to death.
UK-trained torture investigators have recommended that Husain’s death sentence be reconsidered, together with Mohamed’s.