Seven officers charged with prisoner abuse in Bahrain

October 16, 2012
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Seven security officers have been charged with torturing detainees in police custody, the head of the public prosecution has said.

The officers were held after 13 witnesses gave their testimonies, Nawaf Abdullah Hamza, who is also the Head of Special Investigations Unit (SIU) said as he gave an update on the progress of investigations into allegations of torture and mistreatment by security forces. The statements by the witnesses have led to the questioning and now the charging of the seven, he said on Monday. The official said that the unit has also launched an investigation into two more complaints received in September.

“It is completing the investigation process in preparation for bringing the accused in for questioning to answer allegations made against them,” he said.

The SIU was set up following recommendations by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), an international fact-finding panel of experts set up by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa in June 2011 to look into the events that hit the country in February and March and their consequences. The BICI issued a searing report in November and has included a series of recommendations that were accepted by the government. The SIU was established with the mandate to investigate claims of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, officials said.

The necessary legal and legislative procedures stipulate that “crimes related to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and resulting deaths” are not considered military crimes and fall under the jurisdiction of the Public Prosecution. Last month, seven police officers, ranked as Lieutenants in the interior ministry, were charged with mistreating and torturing medics in their custody. Two officers were referred to the High Criminal Courts and five to the Lower Criminal Court. They were among 17 officers examined by the Public Prosecution following complaints that they used force to obtain confessions of crimes.

The two officers facing the most serious allegations were charged with the use of torture and threats against six medic detainees, with the purpose of forcing a confession. All confessions obtained under such circumstances were thrown out in the medics’ trial.

On September 27, a Bahraini court sentenced an officer to seven years in prison for killing a protester during the 2011 unrest.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/seven-officers-charged-with-prisoner-abuse-in-bahrain-1.1089944

         

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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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