Reform Claims Shattered as Bahraini Court Confirms Sentences Against 13 Leading Dissidents
Washington, D.C. – Today’s confirmation of jail sentences against 13 leading Bahraini dissidents show the regime’s promises of reform are a hoax, said Human Rights First. “The crackdown in Bahrain continues in the courts and on the streets. The denial of the men’s appeals shows the regime has little intention to reform. Bahraini government claims that they are on the path to human rights progress appear to be a sham,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley. Today’s appeal verdicts for the 13 dissidents follow the original sentences handed down by a military court in June 2011. The men were arrested, detained and tortured in March and April of last year and have been kept in jail throughout the appeal process. The 13 men whose sentences were reaffirmed today include 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. Hussain Parweez, whose father Mohammad Hassan Jawwad is one of the 13, told Human Rights First, “Everyone is shocked. My dad is 65 and has been very sick these last few weeks. We thought that he would be released because of his health with at least some of the others. We were expecting something better – some villages are already protesting. It seems the Government of Bahrain doesn’t want things to get better.” A group of 28 medics were also due to hear their verdicts today, but that hearing has been delayed until September 11. “All of the 13 dissidents deserved to be acquitted, immediately and unconditionally. President Obama told the Bahraini regime in May 2011 that ‘The only way forward is for the government and opposition to engage in a dialogue, and you can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail.’ If that’s what the U.S. government still thinks, it should say so, publicly and clearly,” Dooley concluded. Dooley was denied courtroom entry in May 2011 when he arrived to observe the men’s military trial. The United States government sent observers to the dissidents’ trial and knows this has not been a fair legal process.