Verdict in Bahrain police officer’s case reducing jail term challenged
The public prosecution said that it was challenging a court of appeals verdict that slashed an officer’s jail term from seven years to six months. “We are looking into the ruling announced by the court of appeals and we have the intention to take it to the court of cassation,” Osama Al Ofi, the head of the public prosecution, said.
In explaining the reasons for reducing the officer’s prison sentence, the appeals court on Sunday said that he had acted in self defence as he faced a difficult situation. During his first trial, the officer was found guilty of fatally injuring Hani Abdul Aziz Juma, 32, with a pullet gun on March 19, 2011 during the riots that occurred in Bahrain.
According to the report released by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), the fact-finding international panel set up by King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa to look into the events, Hani was shot when riot police were dispersing a group of demonstrators in Khamis, a village south of the capital Manama. Hani was pronounced dead at 11.30pm after he sustained gunshot wounds.
The High Criminal Court on September 27 sentenced the officer who reportedly shot him to seven years in jail. He however challenged the verdict and his lawyer succeeded to bring it down to six months mainly through the self-defence arguments, prompting the public prosecution to take the matter to the court of cassation. As lawyers and legal experts are carrying out their battles in courts, Bahrain is still trying to come to terms with one of the most dramatic and complex periods of its modern history, with the tense situation in the Gulf and Middle East and the gloomy shadows it is casting over the internal situation rendering the endevours more challenging.
A national dialogue launched on February 10 to unblock a political impasse has revealed the depth of the fissures within the Bahraini society that may ominously linger longer than anyone has anticipated. More than 100 days after the dialogue was launched 18 rounds of discussions were held, the 27 participants representing two political coalitions, the parliament and the government could not agree on a platform that would help them set the agenda of the talks. Blaming the others for the lack of progress and accusing them of stalling the dialogue have become the hallmark of the statements made by most of the interlocutors to the media at the end of every round.