15 Bahraini Officers Charged with Torture
Bahrain’s Cheif Prosecutor, Nawaf Hamza, announced Monday that 15 police officers will be charged with the torture of doctors who were detained during last year’s uprisings. The plaintiffs said they were badly mistreated during their detention. ”This procedure confirms the intention of the Bahrain government to bring to account all those found guilty of human rights violations and to recompense the victims,” Hamza said. The official statement of the International Affairs Authority claimed the charges “came as part of the serious commitment to punish all human rights violations.”
However Justin Gengler notes that the Government of Bahrain has been under very little external pressure for political reform. “Substantive political changes have been off the table,” he argues, “replaced by a nearly single-minded concern for police reform.” While police reform is important, “even better would be to begin to address some of the underlying concerns motivating people to take to the streets for the past decade or more,” says Gengler.
Meanwhile, The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), called for the immediate release of Nabeel Rajab, the President of the BCHR and director of the GCHR, and to drop all charges against him. Rajab was recently sentenced to a three month jail sentence for comments made on Twitter. His lawyers filed two appeals, the first one requesting that the sentence be commuted into community work, which was rejected, and a second appeal requesting to have the sentence suspended.
Additionally, Reuters reports that a Bahraini policeman has been seriously wounded in a petrol bomb attack Tuesday. A government statement said that 700 policemen had been hurt since protests began last year. Also Bahrain’s Court of Appeals lowered the prison sentences of two Bahraini citizens arrested during political unrest. Wael Mahdi of Bloomberg reports that, “The court sentenced Younis Achouri, 63, the manager of Muharraq maternity hospital, to one year in prison instead of three for stealing oxygen cylinders from the hospital and transferring it to Pearl Roundabout during last year’s riots,” and “lowered a 3-year prison sentence on another citizen to 18 months for being involved in the killing of a police officer.”