Inquiry commission welcomes release of 137 detainees

August 10, 2011

The international commission set up to investigate alleged human rights abuses during protests in Bahrain has welcomed the release of 137 detainees this week.

“We are immensely pleased that these detainees have been released,” Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, the head of the commission, said. “They can now enjoy the holy month of Ramadan with their families,” he said in a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

The detainees, including two former lawmakers and a lawyer, have been released on the order of the attorney general, said Bassiouni who has led UN investigations into alleged war crimes in Bosnia and Libya.

Jawad Fairooz and Mattar Mattar represented Al Wefaq in the lower chamber following their elections in October. However, both resigned in February to protest against the way the authorities tackled demonstrations and lost their parliamentary immunity upon the acceptance by the other MPs of their resignations. Both were arrested in May and faced several security-related charges.

The commission, set up by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa in June, has access to officials and official documents and can interview alleged torture victims and others in confidence.

According to Bassiouni, a team of forensic medical experts will soon be in Bahrain to look into the cases of people who have complained about physical problems, ill-treatment or torture, the head of an international inquiry said.

“We will visit these people in hospital and in detention centres and we will also receive them in our offices,” Bassiouni said on Tuesday.

The other four members of the inquiry commission are Sir Nigel Rodley, a former Amnesty staff member, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and currently a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, Justice Philippe Kirsch, a former judge at the International Criminal Court, Dr Mahnoush Arsanjani, a former UN legal advisor and Dr Badria al ‘Awadhi, an expert on international and Sharia law at the Freedom House Foundation in Washington DC.



About the author

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

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