Bahrain: UK urged to denounce 'appalling' death sentence for torture pair

Two men sentenced to death following grossly unfair trial

Men tortured through beatings, electrocution and being suspended by the limbs

‘The UK needs to denounce this court decision in the strongest possible terms’ – Kate Allen

Today, last-ditch efforts to halt the executions of two men in Bahrain were thwarted when the Court of Cassation reaffirmed the death sentences of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa, despite “clear evidence” that the men were tortured during their interrogation Amnesty International has said.  

The two men were convicted of killing a policeman in 2014 following a grossly unfair trial. Their 2015 final death sentence verdict was subject to a re-trial following medical records attesting to the men’s torture, which were submitted by the Special Investigate Unit tied to the Ministry of Health. The men have now exhausted all rights of appeal in the judiciary system.

The case of the two men was the subject of an urgent question in the House of Common last week when MPs urged the British Government to use its influence to intervene to stop the executions.  Minister James Cleverly responded for the Government saying that the Foreign Office had stated its “deep concern” about the case in January that the UK Government is opposed to the use of the death penalty “in all circumstances”.

Responding to today’s verdict, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

“This case is the very definition of a travesty of justice with clear evidence that brutal torture, including electrocution and beatings, was used to coerce confessions. The treatment of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa has been incredibly cruel, with an apparent reprieve snatched away again after a flawed trial process.

“The UK needs to denounce this court decision in the strongest possible terms.

“UK support for Bahrain must not be allowed to provide cover for what is obviously a deeply dysfunctional Bahraini justice system, one that allows mass unfair trials, strips people of their nationality and passes appalling death sentences like this.”

Torture and coerced confessions

Security forces arrested Hussain Ali Moosa Hasan Mohamed, a hotel employee, on 21 February 2014. Mohamed Ramadhan Issa Ali Hussain was arrested on 20 March 2014 at Bahrain International Airport where he worked as a member of security staff.

The two men were taken to the Criminal Investigations Department where they were tortured during interrogation. Mohamed Ramadhan refused to sign a “confession”, though he was subjected to beating and electrocution. Hussain Ali Moosa said he was coerced to “confess” and incriminate Mohamed Ramadhan after being suspended by the limbs and beaten for several days.

On 29 December 2014, a criminal court sentenced Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa to death for the killing of a policeman, who died in a bomb explosion in al-Deir, a village northeast of Manama, on 14 February 2014.

The High Criminal Court of Appeal upheld their conviction and death sentences on 27 March 2015 and the Court of Cassation confirmed them on 16 November 2015.

In March 2018 the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) presented medical reports prepared by doctors affiliated to the Ministry of Interior, indicating that the two men had been tortured; and recommended a review of the trial. On 22 October 2018, the Court of Cassation suspended the death sentences and ordered the High Criminal Court of Appeal to re-examine the case under a new panel of judges.

However, on 8 January 2020,  Bahrain’s High Criminal Court of Appeal reinstated the death sentences of Mohamed Ramadhan and Hussain Moosa.

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