EU parl. urges Bahraini monarch to commute, pardon activists on death row

MANAMA: Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have called on Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah to either commute or pardon twelve imprisoned pro-democracy activists, who have been sentenced to death and are potentially at imminent risk of execution.

53 lawmakers, in a letter addressed to the monarch on Thursday, pointed to the joint statement issued by the Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, Maria Arena, and Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula, Hannah Neumann, concerning failures of the judicial system in Bahrain to exclude confessions obtained through torture and under duress.

The legislators then called on King Hamad to order an end to the use of torture in the judicial and penal systems, and expressed hope that he would his executive power to pardon the death row prisoners in light of their letter and that of 16 international and Bahraini rights groups, including Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Bahraini Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) and Human Rights Watch.

The tiny Persian Gulf kingdom has seen anti-regime protests over the past nine years. The major demand has been the ouster of the Al Khalifah regime and establishment of a just and conclusive system representing all Bahraini nationals.

The Manama regime, in return, has ignored the calls and is pressing ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown and persecution of human rights campaigners and political dissidents.

Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals on March 5, 2017. The move drew widespread condemnation from human rights bodies and activists, and was described as imposition of an undeclared martial law across the country.

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