Bahrain policemen face murder charges

June 27, 2012

Three Bahrain policemen initially accused of manslaughter are now facing murder charges in the deaths of three protestors during last year’s unrest. The high criminal court was scheduled to issue its verdicts in the cases this week, but upon further investigation decided to raise the charges against the policemen who include one police lieutenant. The cases were adjourned to July 10.

The defendants are facing the new charges in the deaths of Ali Ahmad Abdullah, Eisa Abdul Hassan and Hani Abdul Aziz Goma in three separate incidents.

Under the previous charge of manslaughter, the maximum sentence would have been seven years in prison.

However, murder charges carry a sentence of up to life imprisonment or the death penalty.

If convicted of murder, interior ministry employees are likely to receive the toughest penalties allowed by law.

In a separate trial, a policeman, tried in absentia, was convicted of assault in a shooting case involving a protestor, resulting in birdshot injuries to the leg.

The policeman, sentenced to five years in prison, is currently hospitalised for severe injuries he sustained in an explosion attack on police in the village of Duraz, west of the capital Manama, on April 24.

Bahrain had pledged to look into all the incidents that resulted in deaths or severe injuries and set up a fund to pay compensation to the families.

The Victim’s Compensation Fund was set up by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa on September 20, to disburse compensation “based on international best practices for compensation of victims and in accordance with the United Nations Basic Principles and guidelines on the right to redress and reparation for victims of gross violations of international human rights.”

On Tuesday, Judge Khalid Hassan Ajaji, Assistant Undersecretary for Courts and Notary Affairs at the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs and Endowments, said that disbursement of compensation to the families of 17 deceased persons has begun.

The compensation totaling $2.6 million for the current 17 cases was assessed based on civil court precedents and averages out to just under $153,000 per case.

Ajaji said that the Civil Settlements Office started its activities in March and continues to receive claims for compensation.

The civil settlement initiative is being implemented to remedy damages caused by the events and to compensate the families of the deceased, those who suffered physical injury, and any other cases as deemed appropriate by the ministry concerned, in consultation with relevant departments.

The scheme is in keeping with the implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), the international fact-finding panel that looked into the events that hit Bahrain in February and March 2011 and their consequences.

The BICI in November issued a searing report that catalogued the events and incidents and included a series of recommendations that needed to be implemented.



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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