Bahrain to review National Security Courts’ sentences not subject to appeal

January 3, 2012

Bahrain is to set up a panel of civil court judges, who will review the convictions and sentences issued by the National Security Courts and that are not subject to appeal.

Shaikh Khalifa Bin Rashid Al Khalifa, President of the Court of Cassation and Vice President of the Supreme Judicial Council, said the decision aims to ensure the fundamental principles of a fair trial, including prompt and full access to legal counsel and admissibility of testimony, and that it was made in the light of the recommendation in Paragraph 1720 of the report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).

The panel will also review all convictions and sentences of all people charged with offences involving freedom of expression, but which do not advocate violence, in line with the recommendation in Paragraph 1722, he said.

The panel will present its conclusions to the Supreme Judicial Council for appropriate action, Shaikh Khalifa said.

The National Security Courts were set up when a 90-day State of National Safety, a sort of emergency laws, was declared in mid-March. It was lifted on June 1, two weeks ahead of schedule.

The BICI, established by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa in late June, spent four months investigating the events that hit Bahrain in February and March and their consequences.

It published a searing report on November 23 that put both the government and the opposition to task and included a series of recommendations to help overcome the political and social crisis.

The government said that it welcomed the report and that it would act upon it, while the opposition has not openly accepted the findings and observations and has charged that the official measures were “too little”.

A national commission, set up by King Hamad to oversee the implementation of the recommendations, has made reinstating sacked employees and suspended students as its top priority.

According to the Civil Service Bureau, which oversees the 35,000 government employees, all sacked workers in the public sector would be reinstated in the beginning of January.

The bureau has no authority over the private sector.



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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