1 thought on “Executions in Bahrain”

  1. I thought it might be helpful to add some comment on your balanced report ‘Executions in Bahrain’ of 17 January.
    As you pointed out, there has been widespread criticism of the Bahraini actions, not least by the UK government, sections of the UK press and by Shi’a governments and organisations. Yet all Gulf states have the death penalty and apply it, and the circumstances in this case – pre-meditated killing by deliberately luring the police into a ‘killing zone’ where they were blown to pieces by US military-style Claymore mines – were particularly horrific.
    You mention the Bahraini Government statement concerning the procedures the courts had followed in reaching their verdict and the stages of appeal. Bahrain has been given little credit for that but rather been accused of torture and, shamefully, by a UN Special Rapporteur of ‘extra-judicial killings’, based apparently solely on the claims of Oppositionists. Those accused claimed torture, as do all Shi’a activists arrested now in Bahrain. However no evidence has been produced to substantiate these claims. Torture is not and has never been official Bahraini policy and since the use of it by individuals in a limited number of cases during the 2011 rioting individual powerful measures are in place to ensure it does not happen such as CCTV coverage of all areas of prisons and police stations, plus an Ombudsman to whom prisoners and their families can complain (the only one in the Gulf).
    The background against which the killing of the policemen and their trial took place is relevant to understanding why the King did not on this occasion commute the sentences. Bahrain is facing an increasingly serious insurrection by groups financed and armed with latest weaponry by Iran. Over the past year or so a number of shipments of weapons and explosives have been intercepted at sea or on land, some of which were shown to international visitors at the Manama Dialogue in 2016. The threat of terrorism is increasingly similar to that faced by the UK in the days of the IRA. Some 20 policeman have been killed since 2011 and many more given life-changing injuries. In the circumstances the police restraint has been remarkable but given little credit.
    One of the main criticisms of the death sentences is that proper legal procedures were not followed and that the sentences were based on confessions. On the contrary the procedures were followed meticulously and the verdicts based largely on material and forensic evidence. Following is a statement by the Public Prosecutor’s Office setting out this evidence:
    Telecommunications equipment, tools, and materials used in making explosives and IEDs found in the possession of the convicted men
    Fingerprints and DNA material found on a bomb at the scene which was defused by police matching those of the convicted men
    Human cells collected from a defused bomb from the scene of the blast matching the DNA of one of the convicted men
    Forensic examination of the mobile phones revealing the communications application employed by the convicted men (including conversations) was used in the days leading up to the incident and on the day of the bombing, including specifically at the time the crime was committed
    The same application was used for perpetrating the crime; including coordinating and monitoring the security force’s movement leading up to the blast.
    The incriminating communications also included the tracking and monitoring of police movement at the scene of the incident and coordination to target security forces.
    Investigations revealed that the two mobile phones which were used in detonating the bomb that targeted the security forces had been tested the night before the blast, with the full knowledge of one of the defendants, near the house of another defendant.
    Results of forensic reports were corroborated by witness testimonies and material evidence, as well as the circumstances that surrounded the explosion.
    Evidence of a trial run explosion near the residence of one of the convicts was found.

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