(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A new report authored by the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights (BFHR) found that ‘legal proceedings’ against a former Bahraini MP with the Al-Wefaq opposition party “violated a number of rights and freedoms guaranteed under international law.”
In March 2017, Sheikh Hassan Isa was sentenced to ten years behind bars for “funding terrorism”. The charges are linked to a 2015 bombing in Sitra, which killed two Bahraini police officers.
Out of the 24 defendants in the case, 12 were convicted. Two were sentenced to death and five others to life imprisonment.
The BFHR’s report alleges that the court proceedings against the accused lacked any international standards for a free and fair trial.
“It was clear that the Fourth High Criminal Court, which issued its preliminary judgment, lacks the principles of independence and impartiality,” the report reads.
The rights group also points out that Manama has used the kingdom’s anti-terror legislation to prosecute “many activists, media workers, human rights activists and demonstrators … through a legal adaptation that is not compatible with the facts.”
The report adds that the evidence gathered in the case is “vague and incomplete” leading to the conclusion that the “resulting procedures are invalid, whether they were the procedures of arrest or procedures of interrogations.”
“Also, there are no grounds for the detention, which makes the arrest of Sheikh Hassan Isa an arbitrary arrest and a violation of the right to liberty,” the report states.
The opposition politician was arrested at Bahrain’s International Airport in August 2015. He was forcefully disappeared for 16 days, denied access to his lawyer and not informed of the reasons behind his arrest.
Based on its findings, the BFHR called for Sheikh Hassan Isa’s release and the establishment of mechanisms that would guarantee the independence of the judiciary and ensure that detainees are protected from torture and ill-treatment.