Protesters Sentenced to Death in Bahrain Following Recent Protests

May 15, 2011

Bahrain, Middle East

BAHRAIN– Four men accused of killing two policemen during anti-government protests last month have been sentenced to death in Bahrain.

On April 28, Ali Abdullah Hassan al-Sankis, Qassim Hassan Matar, Saeed Abduljalil Saeed and Adbulaziz Abdulridha Ibrahim Hussain were sentenced to death by a military court although they are civilians, the trial was conducted behind closed doors.

The prosecution argued premeditated murder of two police officers during anti-government protests in March, they accused the men of deliberately running down  the officers with a vehicle.

 Three other defendants tried with them – Issa Abdullah Kadhim Ali, Sadeq Ali Mahdi and Hussein Jaafar Abdulkarim were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. All the men ardently deny the charge.

The seven defendants are believed to have  tried by the National Safety Court of First Instance, a court established under the State of National Safety (SNS), a national state of emergency declared by the King of Bahrain.

The provisions of the SNS are broad and vague, it contains no human rights guarantees.

The National Safety Court of First Instance was established to try individuals accused of crimes committed under the state of emergency. A National Safety Appeal Court was created to hear appeals from this special court.

The defendents will likely make appeals. In any case the appeals may be held very quickly and the four men under sentence of death may be at imminent risk of execution.

The accused men are believed to have been held incommunicado and to have subjected to torture during their detention.

Human rights groups have pushed for a thorough and independent inquiry into all human rights abuses committed during and in lue of the recent protests. The groups have urged the Bahraini government to bring justice to the guilty parties through fair trials sans the death penalty. They have called on Bahraini government to lessen the sentences of those facing execution if confirmed by the appeal courts.



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