Bahrain pledges to look into torture allegations

February 9, 2010
By

Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa

Bahrain on Tuesday evening pledged to investigate torture allegations highlighted by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report on Bahrain.

“The government will now be examining the allegations and findings mentioned in the report to ensure that Bahrain continues to meet international best practice in support of human rights,” Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, the foreign minister, said in a statement. “If, during the course of this examination, it can be established that events not in accordance with the law and international conventions have taken place, then these matters will be passed to the appropriate authorities for necessary action,” the minister said.

In its report released in Manama on Monday, HRW said that it had recorded several cases of torture against detainees and urged Bahraini authorities to “investigate promptly and impartially all allegations of torture or ill-treatment by security or law enforcement officials of any rank.”

The HRW also recommended to the authorities to “prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, in a court that meets international fair trial standards, any official found responsible for ordering, carrying out, or acquiescing in torture or ill-treatment.”

Shaikh Khalid in his statement said that Bahrain “unequivocally condemns the mistreatment of any individual in custody and will not tolerate the slightest deviation from this position,” reiterating his country’s commitment to “the highest international standards of human rights.”

“Bahrain is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights,” he said. “Bahrain’s constitution guarantees human rights in the Kingdom, alongside wide-ranging criminal and penal codes that protect those arrested and facing criminal prosecution from mistreatment.”

The minister said that the New York based rights watchdog has received “the full and open cooperation of the Government in compiling their report and had access to official documentation, prosecutors and ministerial officials.”

However, he said, the report was published without the opportunity of further consultation by HRW and before additional information was provided by Bahrain’s authorities.

But for Shaikh Khalid, issues have been raised and they require additional attention.

“Bahrain will continue to work with Human Rights Watch and other international stakeholders and NGOs to ensure international standards continue to be maintained in the Kingdom and that the protection of human rights remains an absolute principle of law,” he said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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