Bahrain Braces for Major Court Verdicts
Appeal verdicts in some of Bahrain’s highest profile human rights cases are due in the coming days
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today called on the Bahraini government to use the upcoming cases of several high-profile human rights activists to demonstrate its commitment to reform.
“It’s crunch time for the Bahrain regime,” notes Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. “These verdicts will reveal the regime’s real intentions towards reforms and reconciliation. All of the upcoming trial verdicts involve cases of dissidents convicted in politically-motivated trials after peacefully expressing their views. All should be immediately and unconditionally released.”
On Sunday, Aug. 12, Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), is due to hear the verdict in his appeal of a three-month prison sentence for criticizing the country’s Prime Minister in a tweet.
On Tuesday, Aug. 14, verdicts are expected in the cases of 13 of the country’s most prominent dissidents originally sentenced in June 2011 to terms of between two years and life in prison after a show trial in a military court. They include leading human rights activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, founder of the BCHR. The men were convicted of various charges including “setting up terror groups to topple the royal regime and change the constitution.” The 13 men are: Hassan Mshaima’, ‘Abdelwahab Hussain, ‘Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, Dr ‘Abdel-Jalil al-Singace, Mohammad Habib al-Miqdad, Abdel-Jalil al-Miqdad, Sa’eed Mirza al-Nuri, Mohammad Hassan Jawwad, Mohammad ‘Ali Ridha Isma’il, Abdullah al-Mahroos, ‘Abdul-Hadi ‘Abdullah Hassan al-Mukhodher, Ebrahim Sharif, Salah ‘Abdullah Hubail al-Khawaja.
“This is the moment of truth for the Bahrain regime,” concluded Dooley, who was denied entry at the courtroom in May 2011 when he arrived to observe the military trial. “If these men aren’t all freed next week, it will confirm our fears that the regime has no intention of stopping its crackdown on human rights. The United States Government should call for the release of these men by name to clarify any doubts on where it stands.”