…from beneath the crooked bough, witness 230 years of brutal tyranny by the al Khalifas come to an end
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As reinitiated Military Courts prepare to convene, review of some of the charged and convicted awating upcoming appeals and trials

A special report on the torture and human rights violations against the detainees in the case of “Alliance for the Republic” BCHR

The military court in Bahrain issued harsh sentences against 21 opposition leaders and figures, including Abdul Hadi Al Khawajah, the prominent human rights activist.

The lack of international standards for trials and having civilians tried before a military court are blatant violations of their rights and a sign of the invalidity of the sentences issued.

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) considers the detainees prisoners of conscience with no material evidence of their involvement in violence or the incitement of violence. The BCHR condemns their torture during interrogation and trial.

5 June, 2011


On the dawn of 16th March 2011, Bahrain security forces backed by the military crushed the popular pro-democracy movement in Bahrain by clearing the Pearl Roundabout in the capital Manama from protesters after declaring the state of “National Safety” (Martial Law) and the intervention of GCC security and military forces in Bahrain under the cover of the “Peninsula Shield”. Saudi troops formed the majority among those forces which was led by Major General Mutlaq Bin Salem – the head of the Peninsula Shield forces. Local authorities launched a wide campaign of arbitrary detentions against all those involved in or supported – in any way – the pro-democracy movement during the period from 14th February until 17th March 2011. According to initial estimates, the number of detainees exceeded 2000 including 21 opposition leaders and human rights activists – 7 of whom were tried in absentia for not being able to arrest them. They were tried before a military court known as “The Court of National Safety” which was held at the Military Courts headquarters of the Bahrain Defense Force (the army). The following report presents a summary of the abuses they were subjected to before and after the trials which ended on 22nd June 2011 (case No. 124/2011). The sentences ranged from two years to life imprisonment [1] (attached a list of names and sentences).

In the aforementioned sentence, the court relied on reports and testimonies of the National Security Apparatus (the intelligence services) which claimed that members of this group (21 in total, 7 of whom were considered escaped) had formed an organization calling for a democratic republic instead of the current monarchy and that they had participated in managing the popular protest movement, inciting hatred against the regime and its symbols, planning for the overthrow of the regime by force, calling for civil disobedience, spreading false news about the situation in Bahrain and collaborating with a foreign power. These charges were denied by all the defendants and their lawyers who have considered them malicious as a punishment to these activists, who were annoying the authorities with their peaceful activities in the previous period, by imposing the most severe penalties under the two laws of “Terrorism” and the “State Security” law in the penal code which is condemned internationally.

All the defendants insisted that what they have done was only practicing their legitimate right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly calling for civil, political, economic and social rights to all the people. Moreover, all their activities did not go beyond the frame of peaceful actions.

This brief report outlines some of what these activists have suffered with torture and human rights violations since their arrest until the time of writing of this report. It includes the following:

I. Violations during the arrest and detention.
II. Torture at the National Security Apparatus (Al Qal’ah).
III. Physical and psychological torture at the military prison (Al Grain).
IV. Violations related to the interrogations done by the National Security Apparatus and the Military Prosecution.
V. Violations related to trials before the Military Court.
VI. Vengeance on relatives of the detainees.
I. Violations during the arrest and detention:

All fourteen detainees in this case said that their arrests took place by raiding their houses or houses of their relatives after midnight. They had not been summoned or informed that they are wanted by any authority. No documents of a judicial warrant for their arrest or search were presented. The following are some examples of detainees’ testimonies about the detention process: HERE